31 Nights of Halloween Horror part 24: The Beast Within
31 Nights of Halloween Horror: Part 24 in a 31 part series.
A horror film reviewed, every night for the month of October. Tonight let’s talk about:
The Beast Within | Dir. Philippe Mora | 1982/USA | 98 mins
Down by the Bayou.
Ah the old monster rapes a woman and woman gives birth to the monster’s offspring movie. It occurred to me that we really didn’t do any true monster movies this month. So tonight let’s unleash The Beast Within.
Picture if you will, it is 1964 in rural Mississippi. Newlyweds, Eli & Caroline McCleary are driving down a deserted road at night. They miss their exit and the car gets stuck on the side of the road trying to make a u-turn. Eli takes a walk back to the gas station to get a tow truck and Caroline goes into the woods to walk the dog. However lurking in those same woods is some kind of man beast thing that kills the dog and rapes Caroline.
Home’s a callin.
Cut to 17 years later and Eli & Caroline’s son, Michael is diagnosed with some kind of unexplainable illness that is killing him. The doctor’s are desperate for any explanation as to what may have caused this. Suddenly it is revealed, dun dun dun, that Eli did not father Michael, but he is in fact the offspring of whatever raped Caroline so many years ago, but no one knows who or what that is. So off to rural Mississippi we go, back to the town where the event occurred to try and find some answers.
Meanwhile Michael escapes the hospital because he is having visions and is drawn to that town as well. Turns out the town is harboring some very dark secrets and Michael is now on a mission to kill those people that have been covering the truth.
Along the way Michael is going through some transformations, physically. When we hear the sound of cicadas Michael gets possessed by the creature person that raped his mother and in the grand finale makes a full transformation into…I have no idea what. A cicada, a bug, a bog monster, a fucking mess. I have no clue, but at least we get to see the transformation happen with some lovely old school air bladder effects on the face. At the grand finale, in full bug/thing/bog monster form Michael tracks down a chick in the woods he had the hots for, rapes her and the cycle begins again, just like the cicada.
I’m In with the Beast.
On the surface this is a pretty good old fashioned monster movie. The screenplay written by Tom “Fright Night” Holland is a fun trip through a small southern town that is hiding a troubled past and it is fun to watch the pieces come together as the sheriff, town doctor and Eli expose the truth. Director Philippe Mora (who’s only other real horror outing was the tragic Howling II) does a good job of creating tension and keeping a quick pace with this flick. It wastes no time getting the story going and there are never any slow or down parts.
However there are definitely some plot holes going on here that are far bigger then a cicada could fit through. Speaking of which, what the hell is the point of the reference to the cicadas? Why does Michael have a connection or possibly turn into one? Nothing in the story even remotely reveals a hint as to why this would happen. Quite a few of the characters do the typical stupid horror movie decision making starting right off with leaving your new bride to wait with the car on the side of a dark road in rural Mississippi. Most the explanations or reasoning to the back story is all a little vague and no one seems to ever turn on the lights to a room they enter to do any investigating. I guess they have all been drinking too much Mississippi moonshine allowing them to see in the dar.
I however have not drank nearly enough to invoke these abilities, but I have drank enough to enjoy this flick.
So despite these short comings, The Beast Within is a pretty good, semi solid (a little more then jello), 80s monster movie. Just don’t ask too many questions why things are happening and just be glad they are and you will enjoy this film much more.
This is it people, the home stretch. One week to go
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