The Beast Must Die (1972)

Genres - Horror, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film, Supernatural Horror  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - UK  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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The non-anthology output of Amicus Productions tended to be hit-and-miss, but The Beast Must Die is an interesting if lightweight horror-mystery hybrid from the studio. The script derives its inspiration from The Most Dangerous Game, Ten Little Indians, and any number of werewolf films to create its own offbeat hybrid of thrills and chills. It is sometimes a bit too reliant on talk over action, but the amusing, often dishy dialogue helps (the story also boasts an endearingly kitschy "werewolf break" gimmick that is right out of the William Castle playbook). Director Paul Annett's work isn't quite stylish enough to capitalize on the film's offbeat mix of genres, but he unfurls the storyline at a steady clip and makes great use of a stellar cast. Said cast is probably the film's biggest hook; Calvin Lockhart delivers an engagingly hammy performance as the film's master hunter, while Peter Cushing lends a subtle but charismatic presence as the story's resident scientist, and Tom Chadbon steals a few scenes as the wiliest of the guests. Charles Gray, Anton Diffring, and Marlene Clark are given less to do, but all do solid work and their presence is likely to up the interest level for B-movie fans. In short, The Beast Must Die is modest but entertaining stuff. It might be a little too old-fashioned for younger viewers, but veteran horror fans are likely to be amused.