25 October 2014

The Beast Within (1982)
98 min.
Directed by Phillipe Mora.
With Ronny Cox, Bibi Besch, Paul Clemens, R.G. Armstrong, L.Q. Jones, Don Gordon, Meshach Taylor, Katherine Moffat, Logan Ramsey, John Dennis Johnston.
On her wedding night, poor Caroline MacCleary (Besch) is raped by some weird insect-like creature. Ain't it just the luck? One go round with a supernatural monster, and she gets pregnant. Yup, nine months later, Caroline delivers a bouncing baby boy that she and her husband name Michael.

Seventeen years pass, and Michael (Clemens) grows up into an adolescent teenager. But he has terrible health troubles.

One of his problems is that he can't help but metamorphose into a ravenous wolf-like alien who stalks and kills the local denizens of a small Mississippi town. Seems Mike's out to settle some score only he knows about...and no one can stop him. A convoluted effort from 1982, to say the least. What starts out as a modest thriller turns into an overblown showcase for special effects courtesy of gore guru Tom Burman.

The FX themselves are impressive, but are misplaced, and don't serve the purpose of the already-overworked script. Meanwhile, the director's use of extreme close-ups grows increasingly annoying. Still, the murders are fast and furious - not to mention plentiful - and the buckets of grue will keep your interest as things meander about. Amid all the bloody goop and theatrical revenge antics, kudos to Clemens and Moffat who manage to deliver surprisingly low key performances in spite of it all.

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