Saturday, 10 May 2014

The Beast Within - UK BD/DVD review

Philip Mora’s 1982 monster movie “The Beast Within” is released to UK BD & DVD this month from Arrow films, uncut in the UK for the very first time.
The film stars Ronny Cox (“Robocop”, ”Deliverance”) and Bibi Besch (“Star Trek 2 : The Wrath of Khan”) as newlyweds Eli and Caroline MacClearly. When their car breaks down on a country road, the husband hikes off to find help. But shortly afterwards, the wife is attacked and sexually assaulted by a strange creature that emerges from the woods.
17 years later and the couples teenage son Michael (Paul Clemens -  “Communion”) is dying from some strange genetic disorder and they are faced with the fact the lads father might actually have been her attacker on that fateful night.
Not wanting to see their son die, they head back to the small town where the incident occurred, to see if they can track down her attacker and find out what it is that's killing their son. But shortly after their arrival, their son disappears from the hospital and several townsfolk are brutally slaughtered by what looks like a wild animal.
Seems some of the townsfolk have been harbouring a dark secret, which is about to catch up with them. As someone is out for revenge and they’re about to discover that the past never says buried forever.
Written by Tom Holland (Fright Night) and also starring R G Armstrong (Predator) this was a bit of a strange film, as it had all the makings of a werewolf film (indeed, director Philip Moira worked on “Howling 2 & 3”) BUT the monster wasn't actually a werewolf. It was a person who's turning into cicada (one of those chirping cricket type insects) of all creatures.
Overall a very good movie, but I’d never heard of a Were-cricket before this film, but I guess there’s a first time for everything and I couldn’t help but wonder if David Cronenberg didn’t borrow a few ideas for his 1986 remake of “The Fly” from this.
Anyway, extras on the disc include…
Audio commentary track with director Philip Mora, moderated by horror journalist Callum Waddel.
The Making of The Beast Within, which is a 45 minute retrospective documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with writer Tom Holland and actors Paul Clemens, John Dennis Johnston and Katherine Moffat.
Storyboarding the Beast – A 13min feature in which Director Philip Mora runs through the films storyboards, explaining how they filmed the movie.
An image gallery of various promotional stills and behind the scenes photos.
And lastly there’s the original theatrical trailer.
The case also contains a collectors booklet, featuring linear notes on the film by journalist Lee Gamblin, which is illustrated throughout with production stills and promotional artwork and the sleeve features reversible cover art, with the original theatrical poster on one side and newly commissioned art by Marc Schoenbach on the other.
Previous UK releases of this film had been cut by the BBFC, this release by Arrow marks the first time the film has been released uncut and available on high definition Blu-Ray here. This release is a dual format combo pack edition, which also contains the DVD. Both discs having the same extras on.
If you liked “American Werewolf in London and “The Howling” then you’ll undoubtedly enjoy this. Though remember the creature isn’t actually a wolf, so be prepared for that.
Buy the UK DVD/BD combo pack from

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