Sunday, 29 January 2012

When The Moon Is Full

'The Beast Must Die' mixes Blaxploitation, Agatha Christie and werewolves to much less exciting effect than you might think, but it's a pretty cool stab at something a bit different nonetheless.

Millionaire businessman / hunter Tom Newcliffe invites an all star cast to his remote country estate for the weekend. His motive is not to enjoy their sparkling repartee, however, as he strongly suspects that one of them is a werewolf and, as there is a full moon due, he hopes to witness the transformation of a human into a lycanthrope, and then to pump a load of silver bullets into the creature and hang its head on his wall.

Newcliffe may be a hunter, but he's no sportsman, and certainly no marksman. He has spent millions on having an elaborate security system installed in the grounds and, as soon as he hears the first howl, slips on a black pvc jacket and goes out with a massive gun, guided every step of the way by hidden cameras, concealed microphones and Anton Diffring, who passes him information through a two way radio. Despite all these advantages, he misses the werewolf (actually a large scruffy dog) by a mile when it's right on top of him, so is then reduced to mindlessly strafing the ground from a helicopter in the vain hope that he might hit something, anything vaguely dog shaped.

He also treats his guests like shit, nicking bits off their cars so they can't get away, shouting at them, serving them raw steak and forcing them to play an interminably boring game which involves passing around silver things and waiting for someone to go all hairy. In the meantime, the guests are picked off one by one until, when there's only a couple left, Newcliffe finally manages to hit the target, although it's a very short lived triumph...

Perhaps most notable for its 'Werewolf Break', a William Castle style gimmick where the action is paused and the audience invited to guess who the werewolf is, 'The Beast Must Die' wins no prizes for direction, characterisation, effects or acting (even Peter Cushing adopts a daft Swedish accent), but it tries hard with limited resources and, for that reason, deserves your attention.


  1. Newcliffe seemed to be on coke throughout it! And the big scruffy dog is both lamentable and hilarious.

  2. And a young(ish) Michael Gambon with some terrible clothes. A very enjoyable film all the same.

  3. Shit but fun. Therefore I name this genre "shun".