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Films: B is for...

Beast Must Die, The

Once again, Amicus Productions come through with the goods. After the splendid Vault of Horror comes their excellent, all-over-the-shop werewolf whodunit. Superfly millionaire Calvin ‘Dynasty’ Lockhart (replete with ‘tache, leather gloves and black polo neck) rigs up the grounds of his stately pile with chopper surveillance, snipers, security cameras, ground mics and an unexplained ‘pressure grid’, all controlled from a big desk of flashing lights, in order to trap a werewolf who he knows (somehow) is among his invited guests (including Charles ‘Blofeld’ Gray, Michael ‘BAFTA’ Gambon, suspect longhair Tom ‘The Changes’ Chadbon and Scandinavian ‘werewolf hunter’ Peter Cushing). Cue a run-through of all the usual horror legends during juicily overacted dinner table confrontations, before the dog attack climax and final heavily-signposted plot twist. Plus points are a swingingly inappropriate wah wah/big band theme tune, and the bizarre ‘werewolf break’, wherein the sub-Vincent Price narrator stops the film and demands ‘you, the audience’ work out which of the guests is the lycanthrope while a clock ticks away – a device which should be employed more often, we think.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Sidney Balmoral James

    August 9, 2021 at 7:10 pm

    Always thought this cracking film is overlooked when discussing good British 70s horror films (an extremely small category). I’d sooner watch this than The Wicker Man any day, even as a big fan of Ewar Woowar. Calvin Lockhart very underrated, and the supporting cast has got some interesting talent in it. It also has an arresting central concept, and the gimmick of the werewolf break aside, it is quite tricky to work out who the werewolf is. One to be rehabilitated I think.

    • THX 1139

      August 9, 2021 at 7:36 pm

      You would think this had such a good premise it would have been reused often, but it hasn’t. I think one of the Howling sequels uses the whodunit angle, and there was the recent (and superb) Werewolves Within, but apart from those… um, any more?

  2. Richardpd

    August 9, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    Sounds interesting, especially as the likes of Hammer were running out of new concepts for their horror films in the 1970s.

  3. Droogie

    August 11, 2021 at 1:04 am

    I remember seeing this as a kid when BBC2 would have a late night double bill of horror on Saturdays with an old 30’s Universal b&w movie followed by a British 70’s horror flick. The Werewolf break scene terrified me! All the characters smiling into camera one by one while a clock ticked on screen looked weirdly like a scary safety information film rather than a Hammer Horror.

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