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3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
The Beast Must Die [DVD]
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 February 2017
This is a film of suspense and action, masquerading as a werewolf horror. In fact, there's very little horror ... and even less werewolf! Yet this movie, from 1974, is a good thriller - and it's one that invites the viewer to join-in and guess who's been infected by lycanthropy. Made by Amicus studios, and starring Peter Cushing, this rather low-budget film is well worth watching - so long as you're content with a simple storyline and minimal special effects.

The plot concerns a world renowned big game hunter, brilliantly played by Calvin Lockhart, who invites a number of guests to stay over at his remote mansion, hidden away in the countryside. These guests are an assortment of interesting characters ... and one of them is a werewolf! With everyone informed of this, the guests are divided as to how to respond: some want to leave, so as to be safe; others are intrigued, and want to know more. The problem is, there's a full moon - and soon the werewolf will be amongst them. Lockhart's character sets out to hunt the beast, viewing it as the ultimate showdown between predator and prey.

This movie is now over 40 years old, and didn't possess high production values when it was made. As such, today it looks rather dated. And as the film-makers had no money to spend on werewolf effects - and no idea as to how to create a transformation scene - instead the "beast" of the movie is actually just a dog! There's certainly nothing scary about any of it. In an effort to overcome this, the film uses an overly dramatic score - to hopefully heighten tension.

Unintentionally, this film is quite humorous. I found the chase scenes to be entertaining. While this is far from a great werewolf movie, it's nonetheless an enjoyable romp (so long as you've reasonably low expectations). It's more about fun than horror. With this is mind, I recommend it.
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on 5 September 2012

Big game hunter Tom Newcliffe(Calvin Lockhart) invites a motley bunch of people to his isolated mansion for a most dangerous game. One of his guests, all who have dark secrets to hide, is a werewolf and Newcliffe is determined to hunt him or her down, conducting a series of elaborate tests to force the werewolf into revealing their identity. Meanwhile, the killings start...
As Amicus Films' very last foray into horror, 'The Beast Must Die' is a thoroughly enjoyable film, complete with groovy 70's soundtrack, a wonderful 'Guess The Werewolf' thirty second break and less than convincing effects, as dogs are used as cheap werewolf substitutes.
Lockhart gives a full blooded performance as Newcliffe, becoming increasingly O.T.T as the body count rises. Balancing this highly enjoyable if overripe turn are more measured performances from Peter Cushing as Professor Lundgren, Charles Gray at his pithy best as shady diplomat Bennington and Anton Diffring as Newcliffe's employee Pavel, watching all the action on CCTV. Interesting to see a young Michael Gambon appear as pianist Jan Gilmore.
Despite over using the plot device of Newcliffe chasing down the werewolf in the countryside around his mansion, 'The Beast Must Die' is a relatively tense affair, full of false fangs and red herrings.
The 'Werewolf Break' may be a gimmick but it is what this film is probably best remembered for. An alternate cut of the film titled 'Black Werewolf' to probably cash in on Blaxploitation cinema, omits the Werewolf break entirely, a crime in itself.
After this film, Amicus made their way into fantasy films with their 'lost world' triology, all with Doug McClure as the not so dashing lead. So, 'The Beast Must Die' could be seen as a desperate last gasp attempt by the British studio to milk the horror cash cow. A shame if that's the case as this film was one of my favourites as a horror obsessed teenager, and it still holds a special place in my heart to this day. Groovy. 5 out of 5.
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on 4 January 2013
Have this already on video, but decided to treat myself and got this dvd. This has to be one of my most favourite horror films of all times(as i have quite a few). It has kept its age well, as the story is brilliant and full of suspense, with so many twists and turns. For those who like this category of film, in my view, you definitely have to add this to your collection, so i highly recommend this film. The despatch was super-quick, virtually the next day, and amazon did not let me down, yet again either. Many thanks to one and all, very much appreciated.
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on 1 August 2014
Peter Cushing heads the cast in this Amicus horror. Plot revolves around Cushing as some sort of Sherlock Holmes questioning everyone in a room, if they are indeed the werewolf that has been terrorizing the locales. He knows that one of the guests is a werewolf and will be found out that night.

In a different spin, we the viewer are also asked, and there is even a 'werewolf break', to try and work it out.
I must admit I guessed who the werewolf was from the beginning. But this is no fault of the film, I simply guessed.

At best this film reminds me of something William Castle would have been delighted to have been involved in. Alas this is not Cushing's finest hour neither is it Amicus'. Passable horror, and just that.
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on 13 September 2012
another winner from amicus, "the beast must die" is an engaging, slickly produced, quite suspenseful horror piece that benefits from a good pace, some good characters and a riveting climax.
even though peter cushing is second in the cast, it is down to him that i watch this film.
the storyline is along the same lines as the "ten red indians" but that isn't a bad thing at all.
the idea of a group of people who are cut off from society and who have to protect themselves from a prowling werewolf(which is one of the house guests), may not be original as such but it still makes for entertaining viewing.
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VINE VOICEon 23 February 2005
I like this film so much because it's so unusual. A millionaire businessman and big game hunter invites a number of guests to his secluded mansion. He knows one of them is a werewolf,but not which one,they've all got a suspicious past. One by one they start to die. The opening sequence will surprise you ,it did me. Some of the acting isn't up to De Niro standard but I thoroughly recommend it.
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on 30 May 2016
OPTIMUM HOME ENT' have decided to reissue THE BEAST MUST DIE on dvd again
the first dvd release was the Anchor bay dvd back n in 2003
well Optimum reissue is shocking, there are no extras at all except for the trailer
and the screen ratio has been changed to 1:33:1 Full screen
so if you love this Amicus film
there's 2 versions to choose from
the U.S. Dark sky films dvd which is NTSC ALL REGIONS anyway
and has new 1:78:1 widescreen transfer with 2.0 Dolby stereo sound & new extras
a new 15min featurette DIRECTING THE BEAST which is new interview with Director Paul annett
a new commentary track with Paul annett, plus the theatrical trailer & Photo stills Gallery from the BEAST MUST DIE
the 2nd is the U.K. Anchor bay dvd which has the same 1:78:1 Digital remaster transfer
but has some more audio options, apart from the 2.0 stereo mix there's also DTS 5.1 surround sound mix
which does sound better quality than the 2.0 mix
the extras on the Anchor bay dvd are the same as the U.S. Dark sky films dvd anyway
so the Optimum dvd is terrible waste of money, buy the U.S. DVD or the Anchor bay dvd instead
1 star for this new Optimum dvd, 5 stars for both the Dark sky films dvd & the Anchor bay dvd
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on 6 March 2016
Whilst once one of the most prolific film houses to capitalise on the UK horror movie boom, the output of Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg's Amicus Productions is viewed today with a degree of sniffy contempt by many critics, and even their kindest and most forgiving fans have to admit that, when it comes to scaring audiences, many of their movies never really cut it. Lacking the willingness to temper good taste with boundary-pushing boldness in the way that the earliest Hammer classics did, and in no way as graphic and disturbing as the best output from other contemporary production companies like Tigon (Witchfinder General, Blood on Satan's Claw), the idea that any Amicus film ever had horror-hungry cinemagoers queuing around the block to see some 'X' certificate thrills seems almost silly today. Their best movies are perhaps their most subtle and visually inventive (such as 1965's The Skull), though it is for their distinctly hit-and-miss portmanteau efforts (of which they produced seven) that they are best remembered. However, as the 1960s turned into the 1970s and the fortunes of the British film industry began to falter, Amicus too started to go the way of all flesh as (like Hammer) they ran out of ideas and (like Hammer) churned out a few ill-advised mash-ups that dipped into other genres for inspiration whilst trying to keep their horror flame alight.
Which brings us to 1974's The Beast Must Die, a movie which, in its own quiet way, was just as much of an experiment as Hammer's infamous The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires from the same year. Here, screenwriter Michael Winder and director Paul Annett take a standard werewolf motif and cross-fertilise it with a story outline borrowed from Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, whilst also leaning more than a little on the Blaxploitation genre then still very popular. It sees Cotton Comes to Harlem's Calvin Lockhart play a swaggering ghetto-kid-made-good who has turned his attention to hunting the biggest and most dangerous prey on the planet in the name of becoming a genuine 'alpha male'. Inviting several dinner guests to his English country home, he promptly reveals that everyone there has a significant amount of circumstantial evidence indicating that they might actually be werewolves; one of them very definitely is, and both Lockhart and the audience now have to work out who...
Though it deserves credit for trying something a bit different, The Beast Must Die is essentially a stodgy, arthritic film. It supposedly gives the audience clues as to which guest will prove to be the werewolf, but the eventual reveal is pretty arbitrary, with the facts not really weighted in the culprit's direction more than any of the other suspects (I don't mind admitting that when the notorious 'werewolf break' in the action came, I guessed wrong). Unusually for a werewolf movie, however, the 'whodunnit' set-up means that the wolf itself has to be just that - a wolf, like the werewolves of folklore, and distinctly unlike the various Wolf Men that turn up in most other movies that tap into the theme.
The players are a game bunch, but the results their performances produce are mixed. Lockhart, dressed up a variety of Shaft-style outfits, appears to have been cast to appeal to the 'urban market' (the movie was even temporarily retitled 'Black Werewolf' at some point during its release), and though perhaps a little out of place as the lead in an Amicus horror potboiler, he's as good as any other B-list American actor would have been. Second-billed Peter Cushing (positioned as the movie's key selling point on the cover of this DVD release), gets very little to do as a supposed werewolf expert, though he does give his German accent from Dr. Terror's House of Horrors another outing; the most noticeable thing about his character is an unusually severe haircut (it makes him look almost predatory - which of course might have been deliberate), but he mainly just sits in the background of scenes, playing chess with an even more under-utilised Charles Gray (it's nice to see my favourite Sherlock sharing the screen with my favourite Mycroft at least). Whilst we're on the subject of hair, the other suspects include Michael Gambon (who had apparently only recently turned down an offer to play James Bond on the basis that he 'was too fat and had tits like a woman') looking like a wannabe Jason King, and Tom Chadbon trying to convince the world he's the fourth Gibb brother.
Though there are a couple of unexpectedly gory deaths by Amicus standards (Anton Diffring's exit is particularly eye-popping), The Beast Must Die isn't in any way scary; as a relic of comparatively tamer 1960s' chiller styles it might have got away with it, but by 1974 the horror cinema landscape had changed so much that this flick must have seemed dated the day it appeared (however, despite all this criticism, the film still doesn't rank as the poorest werewolf movie Peter Cushing made; he turned out an even worse one just a year later when he starred in Tyburn's truly dire Legend of the Werewolf).
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on 15 March 2012
This full length feature from a studio best known for its portmanteau anthologies misfires in some respects, but it's still an enjoyable horror flick. Mixing the country house mystery with a werewolf horror, we have a mismatched selection of characters, and are expected to guess which is the wereworlf. There's even an amazingly cheesy "werewolf break" where a narrator tells us we have 30 seconds to guess! I haven't seen anything like that in a film before or since. The film mixes this with high-tech gadgets, with sophisticated surveillance equipment in the country house. It reminded me of "The Prisoner" in that respect. There werewolf itself is clearly just an alsation, but no matter, if you take this flick for what it is you'll enjoy it.
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on 10 September 2000
I love this film! It was`nt really meant to be taken that seriously back in 1974 when it first appeared, almost 30 years on, it can only get better! The parts that are meant to be funny are good, the parts that are NOT are even more hilarious! You can't help but think that everyone on set had a great time making this film and it shows. Highlights include; Peter Cushing's dodgy accent, meant to be German but frequently sounding Indian, Calvin Lockhart's accent and mannerisms, The werewolf who looks more like an Alsation dog, the dodgy (but funny) bad acting in general, groovy 70's tunes plus fab clothing and to cap it all the legendary 'Werewolf break'. You`ll have to watch the film to know what I'm on about. All in all, a great comedy/horror with groovy 70's funk capped with a copious amount of cheese, making for an entertaining and hilarious night in front of the box. Highly recommended.
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