The Beast Must Die - The Beast Must Die(Blu Ray- Severin ver) [Severin - 2020]The Beast Must Die is a 1974 werewolf movie starring horror legend Peter Cushing alongside Calvin Lockhart, Marlene Clark, Charles Gray and Michael Gambon, and directed by Paul Annett who is better known for his TV work, having worked as a director on Eastenders, Grange Hill, Emmerdale, Byker Grove and perhaps more relevantly Tales of the Unexpected, Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense and Dead of Night. Based on a short story, “There Shall Be No Darkness”, written by James Blish, the screenplay was written by Michael Winder whose credits include The Avengers, Ace of Wands and The Saint.
Released at a time when The Exorcist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre were making waves in the world of horror, The Beast Must Die is one of the last vestiges of the 1960s British horror scene traditionally characterized by the films of Hammer and Amicus. Wealthy Tom Newcliffe (Lockhart) has invited eight guests to his island estate for a hunting party. What they don’t know until after they arrive is this is a hunting party with a difference. Newcliffe believes one of his guests to be a werewolf, he is not sure which one, but he plans to find out. Every inch of the estate is covered by a network of cameras and microphones to enable him to hunt and kill this most unusual of prey, but who will it be, and more importantly will the big game hunter become the game? More of a mystery than a horror movie, The Beast Must Die is a fun little whodunnit that will keep you guessing as to the identity of the wolf right up until the end.
The cast is superb, Lockhart is well cast in the lead role as the incredibly serious big game hunter Newcliffe, while Anton Diffring, Tom Chadbon, Michael Gambon, Marlene Clarke and Ciaran Madden are all excellent in their respective roles. Peter Cushing and Charles Grey add a little Hammer Horror style camp to the proceedings.
Moving to the disc itself, the print is excellent, full restored and taken from a brand new 4k scan it has never looked better. It shows off Oscar winning director of photography Jack Hildyard’s stunning cinematography to full effect. As for the bonus material, the disc is pretty loaded with good material, there is an audio commentary with director Annett and filmmaker Jonathan Sothcott, an audio essay from Troy Howarth, archival interview with Annett and more with producers Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg, and even the trailer gets a commentary from Kim Newman and David Flint.
Overall, this is a solid package for an underrated film. The Beast Must Die! will never be rated as one of the great werewolf movies alongside the likes of An American Werewolf in London, The Howling or Curse of the Werewolf but it remains an interesting curio from a period when the horror genre was transitioning into something much darker and far more frightening. Darren Charles