Goregirl’s Werewolf Project: THE BEAST MUST DIE (1974)

The second werewolf film to not make the top ten shortlist is Amicus Production’s 1974 film The Beast Must Die, directed by Paul Annett.

The film opens with the following statement:

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.

Watch for the werewolf break!

This is a very William Castle-like gimmick. I was a bit surprised to see such a thing in a film from 1972. It is rather hokey, but I like hokey!

The film’s central character is millionaire Tom Newcliffe whose goal is to hunt the ultimate game; a werewolf! The opening scene sees Tom himself being hunted which we learn was merely a test of the security system he just had installed. Tom has invited five guests to his grand home and believes one of them is a werewolf.

The Beast Must Die has a splendid cast! The great Peter Cushing is here as the werewolf expert, along with Charles Gray (The Devil Rides Out, The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Marlene Clark (Ganja and Hess, The Jezebels), Anton Diffring (Circus of Horrors, Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye, and Calvin Lockhart (Cotton Comes to Harlem). It has got a funky 70s soundtrack too! The premise is unique and a lot of fun and they use all the classic werewolf props like wolfsbane, silver and of course the full moon! They also beef up the werewolf lore with a whole lot of lycanthropy trivia courtesy of Peter Cushing’s character.

There are two reasons The Beast Must Die failed to be top ten material. The film has pacing issues and drags in spots but more significant was a disappointing werewolf and transformation. A brief glimpse of a furry hand, a furry face and than a big dog! Woof! I am all about the half-human, half-animal aspect of werewolves. A dog or even an actual wolf just doesn’t cut it for me. Despite these feelings, I found The Beast Must Die entertaining. There is some nice build-up to the werewolf break and the finale is quite energetic. Add a great cast and a funky soundtrack to the mix and you have a watchable, but flawed bit of 70s cinema! If you have seen and enjoyed any of Amicus Productions other films, particularly their anthologies, I suspect you will enjoy The Beast Must Die. Recommended.

12 Responses to “Goregirl’s Werewolf Project: THE BEAST MUST DIE (1974)”

  1. I love the trailer. As you say it’s so hokey and as a result it’s kind of funny.

    • When I was collecting werewolf film titles from IMBD I spied PETER CUSHING’s name and put it on the list! After watching that trailer I knew I had to see it before my werewolf top 10 was complete!

  2. There’s at least one that I haven’t seen. I’ll be aiming for that one this October.

    • Really?! Film #2? I must admit, that rather pleases me! I wanted to clear up something about my comment from yesterday. I said I only seen ONE werewolf film that was a dog’s breakfast…I was referring to the 11 new ones I was seeing for the first time. There are werewolf films I know I need not re-visit for this top ten….for instance every single Howling sequel! Howling 2 has a few so bad they are good moments but mostly it is just a bloody borning mess…poor Christopher Lee. What a bruise on his fine resume. I’ll let you in on one of my 50 horror wishes…that Christopher Lee never moved to the US in the late 70s to reboot his career. It makes me sad looking at what he made in the USA.

  3. Great review, i consider seeing it after reading this, thanks.

    • Thank YOU Danisa! It is flawed, but entertaining! And it has Peter Cushing in it and that is always a good thing in my book!

  4. grand moff tarkin? must see…
    and ofc thanks for the tip.

  5. Absolutely TOP film this. I reviewed it yonks ago and had a great time. The Werewolf break makes it. Totally meant to be watched with mates and beer.

    My only real complaint is that it’s not just a dog, but a large and extremely friendly pooch that’s obviously having a great time.

  6. […] V: The Rebirth has a similar plot to another film I reviewed for this feature; Amicus’ The Beast Must Die; although certainly not as entertaining. There is some humour through Howling V, but not all of it […]

  7. […] the cousin of Max Rosenberg, one of the founders of the UK production company Amicus Productions (The Beast Must Die, The Skull, Dr. Terror’s House of Horror, Torture Garden, etc). Doris embarked on her […]

  8. At this moment I am going to do my breakfast, afterward having my breakfast coming over again to read other news.

  9. Près de 1% des personnes âgées habitent aujourd’hui des résidences pour personnes âgées (seniorboende en suédois).

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