Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 7th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: UK, 1974
Director: Paul Annett
Writers: James Blish, Michael Winder
Cast: Peter Cushing, Calvin Lockhart, Marlene Clark, Anton Diffring, Charles Gray
DVD released: July 25th, 2006
Approximate running time: 92 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
DVD Release: Dark Sky Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
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 is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Colors are vivid and black levels remain solid through out. Outside of noticeable grain this transfer is in great shape.
This release comes with one audio option the films original English language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. There are no problems with hiss, distortion or any other sounds defects. The dialog is clear and the music and effects sound evenly balanced. Removable subtitles have also been included.
Extras include trailers for The Beast Must Die, And Now the Screaming Starts and Asylum, a still gallery, text bios for cast and crew members. Other extras include the thirteen minute documentary titled Directing the Beast, which includes comments from director Paul Annett. The final extra include for this release is an audio commentary with Paul Annett (director) and this track is moderated by Jonathan Sothcott. On both of these extras director Paul Annett’s memory is sharp as he remembers every last detail about making The Beast Must Die. This release also comes with a DVD insert that includes liner notes about The Beast Must Die written by Chris Gullo and a Peter Cushing tribute that was written by Paul Annett.
The Beast Must Die had been previous released in the region 1 via Image Entertainment and in the UK as part of Anchor Bay’s Amicus collection. And Dark Sky Films release ports over all the extras included from the UK release for this DVD. Dark Sky Films gives another one of Amicus’s films a first rate DVD release in region 1.