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In 1765 something was stalking the mountains of central France. A 'beast' that pounced on humans and animals with terrible ferocity. Indeed they beast became so notorious that the King of France dispatched envoys to find out what was happening and to kill the creature. By the end, the Beast of Gevaudan had killed over 100 people, to this day, no one is entirely sure what it was, wolf? hyena? or something supernatural? Whatever it was, shepherds had the same life-expectancy as the red-suited guys in 'Star Trek'. The Beast is a popular myth in France, albeit one rooted firmly in reality; somewhat surprisingly it is little known to the outside world, and perhaps incredibly it has never been made into a movie. Until now... Based on the true story of the Beast of the Gevaudan that terrorized France in the mid-XVIIIth century, the movie aims to tell first and explain afterwards. In the first part, a special envoy of the King of France, altogether biologist, explorer and philosopher, arrives... Written by
An extravagant B-movie from France with all the right matinee-adventure ingredients.
This is a grandiose monster movie from France that delivers the perfect blend of slick style and unsophisticated, gothic melodrama to make it one of the most appealing film fantasies in a long while. The international success of the film is not hard to understand; it's exhilarating in the same way that the old Hammer horror films were in their heyday. Everything about this elaborate movie is terrifically tacky, particularly the stunning production design. It's like seeing those artless, wilderness paintings containing hidden animal images come to life. The characters come off as if they were lifted right off of some garish paperback romance-novel cover. Best of all, the film has some nifty flourishes of sex and violence sadly missing from the current spate of half-baked, PG-13 Hollywood product. While some seem to be complaining of one martial-arts fight too many, faulty creature effects or simple-minded plotting; in this case, it's like bitching about KING KONG being over the top. This is a contemporary B-movie (albeit an expensive, subtitled one) for those who appreciate a good time at the movies. It delivers the kind of satisfaction audiences used to get seeing the work of Mario Bava or Ray Harryhausen; and that's saying a lot!
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