Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 24th, 2018
BluRay released: January 16th, 2018 (Amicus Collection Box Set)
Approximate running times: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Spanish
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $54.99 (Amicus Collection Box Set)
Synopsis: A wealthy big game hunter, who lives on an island, invites five people to his home. And shortly after their arrival, he reveals to them, that one of them is a werewolf. Determined to kill the ever-elusive werewolf, the big game hunter puts his five guests in his cross-hairs.
Content wise, The Beast Must Die is a melting pot, that includes elements form the thriller genre, werewolf sub-genre and Blaxploitation cinema. There is a whodunit approach to the story at hand. With the film’s protagonist Tom Newcliffe using his skills of deduction to uncover, who the killer / werewolf is?
The Beast Must Die was directed by first time director Paul Annett. He had previously worked in television and documentaries. And though this film starts off strongly with a scene where the film’s protagonist is being chased by four big game hunters. The more dramatic moments tend to bog down the film’s narrative.
The acting ranges from good to adequate, despite the shortcoming of the plot. With this film’s standout performance being Calvin Lockhart (Cotton Comes to Harlem) in the role of Tom Newcliffe. He delivers an intense performance that perfectly captures the essence of his character.
A humorous side note, The Beast Must Die features one of cinema’s more unique gimmicks. Near the end of the films the movies stops and asks the viewer, who they think the killer is before ultimately revealing the real killers’ identity.
The Beast Must Die comes on a 25 GB single layer (22.6 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release has been sourced from vault elements. Out of the three films included as part of the Amicus Collection, the transfer for this film is the weakest. Black levels leave room for improvement, image clarity is strongest during closeups and daytime scenes. Grains remains intact and when compared to this film’s previous home video releases, this transfer is the best this film has looked to date.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and a Dolby Digital mono mix in Spanish. The English audio mix sounds, clear and balanced throughout. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (1 minute), an audio essay by horror Historian Troy Howarth titled And Then There Were Werewolves (18 minutes 35 seconds), an interview with director Paul Annett titled Directing the Beast (12 minutes 58 seconds) and an audio commentary with Paul Annett.
Topics discussed in the extra titled And Then There Were Werewolves include, Agatha Christie and her novel And Then There were None, films adaptions of And Then There were None, British werewolf films, and background information about The Beast Must Die.
Topics discussed in the interview / audio commentary with Paul Annett include, his origins as a director, Milton Subotsky, Max Rosenberg, The Beast Must Die, the cast, onset memories, production related topics, how the film differs from author James Blish’s short story There Shall Be No Darkness, the screenplay, Peter Cushing, Calvin Lockhart and his thoughts about the film.
The Beast Must Die is also part of a box set entitled The Amicus Collection and this release comes with a fourth disc entitled The Vault of Amicus. Extras on this disc include, Phil Nutman’s audio Interview with Milton Subotsky (3 hours I minute 16 seconds) and Jonathan Sothcott’s audio Interview with Max Rosenberg (47 minutes 28 seconds). Included with these two extras are stills and posters.
Topics discussed in the interview with Milton Subotsky include, the origins of Amicus, background information about the majority of Amicus’s films and the demise of Amicus. It should be noted that there is a tape missing from this conversation and because of this, Vault of Horror and And Now the Screaming Starts!, are not discussed.
Topics discussed in the interview with Max Rosenberg include, background information about the majority of Amicus’s films and Milton Subotsky.
Other extras include, these trailers, Horror Hotel (The City of the Dead), Ring-A-Ding Rhythm (It’s Trad, Dad!), Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, Dr. Who and the Daleks, The Skull, Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., The Psychopath, The Deadly Bees, Torture Garden, Danger Route, They Came from Beyond Space, The Terrornauts, The Birthday Party, Thank You All Very Much (A Touch of Love), Scream and Scream Again, The Mind of Mr. Soames, The House That Dripped Blood, I, Monster, What Became of Jack and Jill?, Asylum, Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, And Now the Screaming Starts!, From Beyond the Grave, Madhouse, The Beast Must Die, The Land That Time Forgot, At the Earth’s Core, The People That Time Forgot, The Uncanny and The Monster Club. These trailers can be viewed in sequence or separately and included with these trailers is an audio commentary with British Horror film writers Kim Newman & David Flint.
Rounding out the extras is a T.V. spot for The Creatures (From Beyond the Grave), Torture Garden, The People That Time Forgot, Vault of Horror, The Skull, Asylum and Tales from the Crypt.
Overall Severin Films gives The Beast Must Die its best home video release to date.
Note: This film is only available as part of The Amicus Collection.