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Tom Newcliffe, a rich businessman and expert hunter summons six guests to his huge country estate which he has rigged up with video cameras and a high-tech security system. He tells them and his surprised wife that they are all to stay over a weekend and that all of them will be kept on the estate during that weekend. For each guest, dead bodies have followed in their wake and the way that the dead have been murdered means that one of the guest is a werewolf and Tom has summoned his guests here to discover who it is and to hunt it down... The film has a clip at the beginning asking people in the audience to try to identify the werewolf and near the end there is a 30-second "Werewolf Break" for the audience to think over the evidence...Written by
Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>
Around 1972, Robert Shaw expressed an interest in playing the lead in " The Beast Must Die. He was experiencing a lull in his career and faced some large bills. Don Sharp was the intended director at the time. See more »
Truly awful use of "day for night" shots makes it painfully obvious that the "night" shots were done during the day. See more »
[At the beginning of the film, with narration] This film is a detective story--in which you are the detective The question is not "Who is the murderer?"--But "Who is the werewolf?" After all the clues have been shown--You will get a chance to give your answer. (Said but not written on screen, directly after above quote: Watch for the werewolf break). See more »
You might think that if you've seen one werewolf movie, you've seen them all. Well, that may be largely true, but "The Beast Must Die" differs from most entries in the genre.
For starters it is not centred around the person who is the werewolf, and so dispenses with the usual associated plot lines such as the angst a person goes through knowing that they'll turn into a killer come the next full moon.
No, this film, as it proudly boasts via an opening narration is a whodunit, or (I quote) "a detective story... in which YOU are the detective". In short you have to guess which of the small ensemble team of characters is the werewolf.
The characters are the somewhat unwilling guests of millionaire playboy Tom Newcliffe (Calvin Lockhart). Newcliffe's favourite hobby is hunting animals and as he knows one of his guests is a werewolf, he thinks it will be fun to hunt and kill the animal. But which of them is it? Although this film doesn't have a great reputation, it's actually quite good. The cast is small but strong, containing such notable names as Charles Gray, Michael Gambon and that assured veteran of British horror films of this era, Peter Cushing. The werewolf itself is well-handled, coming across as a genuine threat, especially as it is portrayed as a real (and rather large) wolf rather than by an actor in several layers of facial fur. It's fast, it's clever and it even breaks into the house to kill people. I won't spoilt them here, but there are some nice plot twists towards the end, leading to a conclusion which really enforces the fact that the beast MUST die...
The story is well-paced and full of incident. However, I find there are places where it occasionally lacks sufficient depth. How does Newcliffe know for certain that one of his guests is a werewolf? Using his logic, that they have all been present in cities where mysterious killings have taken place, they could ALL be werewolves! Also, why were the guests all so willing to turn up at his house? A little more expansion on them would have helped, particularly as we, the audience, is supposed to be playing detective.
Towards the end of the film we get a 30-second "Werewolf Break" when it's time to guess who the werewolf is. A novel idea, but unfortunately "guess" is the operative word here as there are really no proper clues given within the narrative that single one of the suspects out ahead of all the others. Naturally, being a whodunit, they are all made to look suspicious.
In its fashions and music, the film is very much of its time. The direction is slick for the most part, though there's a lengthy car chase early on when Michael Gambon's character tries to escape, and this looks rather undramatic as action sequences go.
But overall this film has lots to commend it. The negative points can easily be overlooked, leaving you with an imaginative, entertaining romp that's probably different to most other horror films you've seen.
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