Drive-In Review: THE BEAST WITHIN (1982)

We take a look at the 1982 film The Beast Within. 

beastwithinThe Beast Within (1982)

Director: Philippe Mora

Written By: Tom Holland

Starring: Ronny Cox, Bibi Besch, Paul Clemens

MPAA Rating: R

Runtime: 98 Min.

Format: Blu-Ray

Distributed by: Scream Factory

Being a teenager sucks. Your parents are constantly on your back, you have puberty to deal with, and if you’re Michael MacCleaery, your mother was raped by a beast man type creature and now you are turning into one yourself. Talk about drama. For you fiends that haven’t heard of this film, it’s a dozy.

Caroline MacCleary( Besch) is raped by a monster on a Southern road,and 17 years later,her son(very convincing Paul Clemens)begins showing signs that something is monstrously wrong. He’s constantly sick and doctors are baffled as to why.  His father Eli(Cox) doesn’t want to acknowledge what happened all those years ago and tries to find out who, if not what, attacked his young bride and is the actual father of their son. After escaping from the hospital where he is being watched, he ventures back to the small town where his mother was raped and starts learning more and more about what exactly happened. All the while his parents try and understand and cope with what there son is turning into. Michael does have a love interest in the film but we won’t give everything away about that. After a series of nights (and killings)  Michael starts getting growing pains and realizes he must be stopped before he fully turns into what created him.Things go from bad to worse very quickly and Eli with the help of the rest of the town must decide if his son is worth saving…or if he is too far gone.

The acting is superb in its own way.  Each performance is believable and never too cheesy. Paul Clemens does and excellent job on making you believe that he is in so much anguish and pain when he changes into his beast form that you almost shed a tear.  The music is really spooky and dark (Side Note: Composer Lex Baster considers the score to be one of his finest.) and the special effects by Thomas R.Burman(“Prophecy”,”Invasion of the Body Snatchers“)are simply outstanding. I would go on a limb and say they really give The Howling a run for its money when it comes to the transformation. Tom Holland(“Fright Night”)wrote the screenplay from an Edward Levy novel and really nailed the story. Come on, it’s Tom Holland, did you expect anything less?

the-beast-within-movie-poster12Drive- In Totals:

6 Breasts

1 Dead Dog

6 On Screen Kills

38 Dead Bodies

Live Embalming

Electrocution

Throat Ripping

Gun Fu

Knife Fu

And an ending that begs for a sequel.

Scream Factory really did a great job and none should be surprised about that. The Blu-ray transfer is superb with rich color tones through out and the blacks are deep and dark. The film is presented in DTS-HD Master audio and is very full. Your speakers will thank you for cranking this bad boy up and scaring the crap outta your neighbors.

Sadly, the special features are a bit lacking considering that Scream Factory released this film but hey, all of the flicks can’t be jammed packed with goodies. (But they should!) You do get two different commentary tracks that delve into the production of the film quite nicely.

Special Features:

  • Audio commentary with director Philippe Mora and actor Paul Clemens
  • Audio commentary with writer Tom Holland
  • Theatrical Trailer

Director Philippe Mora creates a fair amount of suspense and atmosphere,and there’s enough gore and violence to satisfy all.
The Beast Within’ rarely gets mentioned in discussions of 1980s horror movies, but it should. It may not be up there with the best of Cronenberg, Carpenter, Romero, or Raimi, but it’s well made, original, strongly acted, and damn good fun!

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