The Beast (1975)

Genres - Drama, Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Erotic Drama, Period Film  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - France   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Brian J. Dillard

Originally conceived as a segment of Polish writer/director Walerian Borowczyk's better-known Immoral Tales, this bizarre feature straddles the line between European art cinema and straight-up pornography. The title character is a hairy man-beast who spends most of the film furiously chasing a pretty young thing through the woods, presumably to impale her on his large and extremely visible erection. If any of that sounds sexy, well, it's not. The film sometimes seem to consist of nothing but painstaking exposition and long chase sequences. And although the explicit content may border on exploitation, the subtext-heavy script touches on all sorts of highbrow themes, from the decay of the European aristocracy to the loss of sexual innocence. Banned in many countries and largely unseen until the DVD revolution, La BĂȘte is a compelling curiosity even though it's more pretentious than entertaining.