Director – Paul Annett (Tales of the Unexpected, Saturday Night Thriller)
Starring – Calvin Lockhart (Predator 2, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me), Peter Cushing (Horror Dracula, Curse of Frankenstein), and Marlene Clark (Enter the Dragon, Ganja and Hess)
Release Date – 1974
Rating – 2/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Tagline – “One of these eight people will turn into a werewolf. Can you guess who it is when we stop the film for the WEREWOLF BREAK? See it … solve it … but don’t tell!”
I don’t get to review enough werewolf flicks. Late last month I was able to review Franky and His Pals, Silver Bullet, and the month before that I reviewed Night Howl but these reviews are far and in-between. That’s why I was so excited to review the 1974 Amicus production The Beast Must Die starring Calvin Lockhart and Peter Cushing. I couldn’t wait to toss it in and as soon as I finished up my Lucio Fulci and Jess Franco marathons I knew it was time to give this one a spin. Thanks Severin for sending this one over.
**spoiler Alert**The film follows wealthy hunter Tom (Lockhart) who invites eight people to his home that is secluded from the rest of the world. Here he plans on exposing one of them as a werewolf so he can hunt them on his property. However, his plans doesn’t go as smoothly as he had hoped and his guests start dying one by one before he can uncover who is truly the werewolf.**Spoiler Alert**
I was pretty excited to check this one out. A werewolf flick from Amicus that starred Peter Cushing sounded right up my alley. Sadly, the film just wasn’t as fun as I was hoping. In fact, I struggled to finish it.
The acting in this one is absolutely incredible. I expected to see Cushing as the film’s star but Calvin Lockhart was phenomenal as the film’s lead. His character works and he commands every scene he is in. Even the scenes he shared with Cushing. The supporting cast is just as amazing.
The story for this one is not your conventional werewolf flick. It’s mostly a murder mystery with a werewolf twist. People die and the film follows the “whodunit” premise where we know it’s a werewolf but WHO is the werewolf. It would have been an interesting watch but the film’s painfully dull scenes following Lockhart rushing through the woods is rough to sit through. So much of this story could have been trimmed down to make it more entertaining.
Finally, the film doesn’t have the werewolf transformation scenes that make some of them so iconic. In fact, the werewolf is just a dog with a headdress. It’s very laughable and doesn’t deliver the campy fun that most werewolf flicks have. We do get a few scenes with some blood and solid practical effects but they get lost in the shuffle of the story. Overall, The Best Must Die has an interesting concept but the execution is just all wrong. It was a tough one to finish. The transfer from Severin looks absolutely fantastic but the movie itself is not.
Audio Commentary with Director Paul Annett and Filmmaker Jonathan Sothcott
And Then There Were Werewolves: Audio Essay by Horror Historian Troy Howarth
Directing the Beast: Archival Interview with Director Paul Annett
Audio Interview Excerpt of Milton Subotsky on BEAST MUST DIE – Interviewed by Philip Nutman
Audio Interview with Producer Max J Rosenberg – Interviewed by Jonathan Sothcott
Original Theatrical Trailer with Optional Commentary by Genre Scholars Kim Newman & David Flint