The Beast Must Die/Review 2
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
For The Beast Must Die, Amicus Productions added a slight twist on the typical horror movie themes they were dealing with and capitalized on the Blaxploitation horror subgenre which was huge at the time of the films release with films like Blacula and others. In some regions the film was actually promoted under the title "Black Werewolf". The title score for the film features a funkier urban sound that differs from the other Amicus horror films. This film also brings in the "strangers invited to a mansion" subgenre which you can see examples of in movies like The Haunting and Clue.
A wealthy big game hunter named Tom Newcliffe (Calvin Lockhart) has hired a tech expert named Pavel (Anton Diffring) to help him design a special security system which will help him see and hear the wherabouts of his next big prize: a werewolf. The guests brought to the estate are a bizarre mix of characters including: Bennington (Charles Gray) an ex British diplomat, Jan Jarmokowski (Michael Gambon) a pianist who enjoys the taste of human flesh, his girlfriend Davina (Ciaran Madden) and Tom's wife Caroline (Ganja and Hess' Marlene Clark) and Dr Christopher Lundgren an expert on lyncanthropes.
When Tom explains to his guests that he invited them because he believes on of them is a werewolf, they are outraged. Tom starts off with a test to see which one is a werewolf. He passes around a silver candlestick which they all must touch. The story goes that if a lycanthrope touches silver, it will die. Surprisingly, none of the guests die from coming in contact with it. Dr Lundgren relays that the testing conditions were not completely right. Later on, Tom is attacked by a masked assailant, and he never finds out who it was. Meanwhile, He and Pavel begin tracking the werewolf which appears at the first full moon. In a twist of fate, the werewolf enters the mansion and kills Pavel. Tom now has to try to find and kill the werewolf on his own while each of his guests begin to get killed by the blood thirsty beast. You may notice that for this film, they did not use a man in suit but an actual trained wolfhound. This provided some really genuine scares when Tom is looking for the creature.
Another interesting and fun aspect of this film is the special "Werewolf Break" that acts as an intermission during the film in which the members of the audience must try and guess who is the werewolf. A nice William Castle style bonus feature there.
Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. A Massachusetts native, he is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life. He is currently majoring in Communications and Interactive Media Design.