THE BEAST WITHIN (1981)

In no way am I suggesting that THE BEAST WITHIN is a quality film, but it’s far more entertaining than I expected, plus it actually attempts to have a meaningful plot even though that plot is barely coherent. 


On their honeymoon, Eli (Ronny Cox) and Caroline (Bibi Besch) are waylaid when their car gets stuck in the mud on a lonely road in rural Mississippi. When Eli leaves to get a tow truck, Caroline is brutally attacked and raped by an inhuman monstrosity. 


17 Years later, Michael (Paul Clemens) the child from that ungodly communion is deathly ill and the doctors can’t figure out why. As a last ditch attempt, Eli and Caroline take him back to Mississippi to discover anything they can about the attacker in hopes of finding a cure for Michael. 


Unfortunately what Michael has can’t be cured and he soon begins to change into one of these creatures and is bent on getting particular revenge on the people who originally mistreated his biological “father.” 


The fact that the film has a plot other than the typical “man into beast” variety is commendable, but unfortunately the writers didn’t think things out to well. 


For one thing, why Eli and Caroline are a major part of the police investigation of a number of local killings that on the surface don’t concern them is a real head-scratcher. Secondly, it seems rather obvious that Michael would be the key suspect, yet not only is he ever questioned about his odd comings and goings on the nights of the murders, but he’s never properly detained even when they start to suspect him. 


The cast does a reasonably good job with the material. The film takes itself seriously and their efforts do give the film some weight. 


The real reason to watch the film is for the gory make-up FX by Tom Burman. The film is a showcase for them, but with that said, some are considerably more effective than others. Some of choices in the transformation scene are just plain odd and look near comical, but they don’t shy away from it or try to hide it in shadow, which is atypical for FX of this period. 


All and all, I just went with it and found it worth a viewing. Definitely worth a late night viewing with some friends, so you can all enjoy a good scream or laugh (or both).

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AUGUST 24, 2014