The Beast Within

 (322)5.61 h 38 min1982R
Parents blame their Mississippi honeymoon for their teenage son's metamorphosis
Philippe Mora
Ronny CoxBibi BeschPaul Clemens
Science Fiction
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Dan GordonR.G. ArmstrongKitty MoffatL.Q. JonesRamsay KingJohn Dennis JohnstonRon SobleLuke AskewMeshach TaylorR. G. ArmstrongDon Gordon
Harvey BernhardGabriel Katzka
MGM Domestic Television
R (Restricted)
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4.2 out of 5 stars

322 global ratings

  1. 61% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 19% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 5% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Steve_MReviewed in the United States on August 27, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Fine for what it is.
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Actually got this for a friend of mine. Although I did watch, so I remember enough for a review.

The story begins in 1967 when a newlywed couple gets stranded on a back country road. As the groom leaves to get help, the bride is attacked by someone or something a little less than human. Cut to 17 years later, and her son begins exhibiting strange behavior and it becomes clear that he's inherited his father's inhuman traits.

This movie was made at the height of the 80's gorefest films. Ever since films like The Howling and The Thing were released, film makers jumped on the wagon and tried to make the most gruesome movies they could make. The effects turned out to be fairly impressive, but the story usually wasn't up to par. The plot is a little confusing and I later learned that much of the backstory was left on the cutting room floor.

Still, for those who like 80's horror just for the sake of it and don't mind the story, this is for you. All practical effects and fairly impressive at that. Not a great film, but good for what it is.
SpeedbyrdReviewed in the United States on August 29, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Cheesey But Fun
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I remembered this film from the 80's and though it's totally camp horror, it's fun and a good job was done on its Blu Ray transfer. Picture and sound much improved. Only drawback is, there are no subtitles but that's not a deal breaker. I don't have a hearing problem but watch a lot of foreign films and have gotten used to subtitles. If you want some fun, hoakey 80's horror, just Beware, the Beast Within.
3 people found this helpful
Leslie Karen RigsbeyReviewed in the United States on September 5, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Inside of every man and woman, there's a beast within...a truly clean and crisp transfer onto BluRay format!
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"The Beast Within" has been targeted by Shout!/Scream for restoration and the results are actually amazing, with the picture and sound being one of the overall best presentations that I have yet witnessed on BluRay. This release completely destroys the rather mediocre transfer on the old Midnite Movies disc. "The Beast Within" may, in future, need to be reassessed by horror film enthusiasts; my initial reaction to the film was lukewarm, then I really hated it when I watched it a year and a half later, and now, having screened it once again, I think it might be a more interesting film than I was thinking it was--it's certainly is not a great movie, but it might be better than what I was initially believing it to be. In any case, this BluRay is fantastic looking, preserving the 1.85:1 aspect ratio for your widescreen TV. The film itself does not add much to the horror genre really; it is more a combination of parody (c'mon, a cicada monster?), homage (to Hitchcock, "Forbidden Planet," etc.), and thriller storytelling (the two rape scenes are still intense, no matter how silly the monster suit appears) rather than a genuinely original effort. Speaking of original films, though, if you are a historian of any stripe be sure to listen closely to the terrific Tom Holland audio commentary offered here. He goes on to explain why original film titles are so hard to sell these days, and why/how he worked so many Lovecraft character names and images (the Curwen and the Dexter Ward references are as explicit as a Penthouse calendar) into the writing of his own story. Now, interestingly enough, the development of the film story for "The Beast Within" was something of a travesty in itself, and I feel now that I understand better what exactly it was that happened in this particular case. It seems that Edward Levy himself (the novelist) was not primarily responsible for what story content got into the film; it turns out that he merely sold the title to his book publisher, and that the film company bought the title alone (can you say, "I Walked with a Zombie"?) and then gave it to poor old Holland (then a struggling actor) to develop into a shooting script for a real horror film to be distributed by MGM. Oh, as an intellectual property case, Levy's predicament is so much more understandable to me now, since he really didn't even invent the story that went along with his book. So don't worry if you find the film confusing in places, because it was constructed from spare intellectual parts. Levy must have taken much from the film (apparently Holland invented the Bible salesman being dumped into the cellar by the crazy old Evangelical farmer and that particularly gruesome backstory) before turning in his novel to the publisher, and the result was that he merely transferred his manuscript into a werewolf book (the cicada idea should have been a great cinematic concept to experiment with, but it really isn't; still, such a silly idea makes "The Beast Within" even more memorable, and more goofily admirable in some ways). Holland's commentary clears a lot of this confusion up, and it is a great track for horror buffs to follow along with (why the Writer's Guild didn't correct the "based upon the novel by" credit is beyond me, but at least Holland did get the "screen story" credit, in the end). With that credit in mind, it might be interesting if Holland attempted to sell his original story idea for a TV mini-series about this character (I mean hey, it's better than another Hannibal Lecter or Norman Bates retread; besides, it's doubtful if Levy would mind at all, since he's still attempting to get "The Root of All Evil" completed). Still, the script isn't great, but it is fun to see what the writer of "Psycho II" was thinking at this particular time. The direction, performances, lighting, and the music of "The Beast Within" are all very good, it's just that it never struck me as being a particularly groundbreaking film like I wanted it to be in retrospect; thank God Shout! has released the classic "WARNING!" trailer for the film here, which is a true collector's item if any trailer ever has been (imagine a producer having the chutzpah to release a film with a trailer like this in today's age--they'd be laughed out into the streets, which is another sign of where our present day society is mentally). The other commentary by Mora and Clemens is great fun to listen to; they digress here and there, but overall they are funny, informative, and obviously interested in this material (which a lot of people who are not weird fiction fans would probably find difficult to get into at all). Still, "The Beast Within" is a powerful curio from the days of original horror film distribution, before the direct-to-video and CGI crap-fests began to over-flood the movie market. My only complaints about the Shout! BluRay release is that the Mora-directed documentary "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" was not included here; while not a horror film addition, it would have greatly illuminated the style and tone of Mora's filmmaking techniques for historians to observe. Also, why no making-of featurette for this title? Surely, since this was a studio film, a making of piece must have been made at the time? I'm also deeply shocked that no interview(s) with the special effects creators was included on here. Even the wretched DEADLY EYES had interviews with the special effects artists. Still, and overall, this is the best presentation of this film that I have seen yet, and bless Shout! factory again for preserving and re-issuing these hard-to-find gems from the days of original film. A+
10 people found this helpful
DARILL F.Reviewed in the United States on October 22, 2018
1.0 out of 5 stars
Very upset! No Subtitles as described in the description.
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I saw this movie long time ago, knew it was scary and all but couldn't hear due to my hearings, I'm deaf. Needed to see this movie in Subtitles. Just got the packaged today and I was upset to learn it's not in subtitle even though in the descriptions it states that it is in subtitle which is not true. Very disappointed!
4 people found this helpful
ShanReviewed in the United States on May 29, 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
Effective, if somewhat incomplete, transformation scenes. Simple, scary movie.
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I first saw this movie when I was seven, so regardless to say, it has stuck with me all my life. My sister was forced to babysit me on her date night, so she and her boyfriend took me to the theater to watch this. She knew that my mom would have to deal with the nightmares afterwards, and thought that it would be hilarious. Growing up in rural Louisiana, I was scared for months afterwards. And I was freaked out by crickets and cicadas for years after that.

The story, if you havent already seen or heard of it, involves a young man struggling with his own identity as his true past and parentage comes to light. A lot of the picture sets the tone for small-town unity, corruption and revenge. The most effective scene for me was when Michael is going through his first full transformation and a 14-inch tongue whips out of his mouth, then lashes back and forth, striking people. Sadly, that scene is cut short in this release. There were also some slight editing blunders. Still, this low-budget horror movie was among the pioneers of using bladders in special effects. I've owned the MGM Midnight Movies VHS, but this is the first time I've owned it in a hi-def format.

This edition looks and sounds great for its age. The special features aren't much to boast about. The many radio spots are mostly identical, with only a few seconds' difference between them. The original trailer is there, but it doesn't look like its been cleaned up much. A making-of feature or a retrospective by stars, as has become common with Shout Factory releases, would have been nice. But no. Overall, worth the price at this discounted price.
6 people found this helpful
TomHunter1968Reviewed in the United States on December 17, 2014
3.0 out of 5 stars
A horror classic, for a few good reasons...
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**NO SPOILERS** Many horror fans consider this one a classic, not to be missed, if only viewed once. It's been well-reviewed here, so I'll offer just my main observations. First, if you can set yourself back in the time period in which it was shot, then you're starting off right. There's no CGI (CG) and is all shot using practical special effects (like the Carpenter remake of The Thing, which I think is an appropriate example - though of course The Thing is a much better movie). So, while the effects, specifically the transformation of the boy into what he becomes is fairly cheesy, that's almost beside the point. This film excels really with the acting - the physical and mental metamorphasis (pardon the pun, Kafka fans) of the 17-year-old is really interesting and noteworthy for that reason. Also, I honestly found that the overall atmosphere and acting didn't actually descend into the overly-cheesy, which could have easily collapsed the entire film. So, again, if you can just go with the experience and appreciate this one for what it is, then I think you'll understand why so many people consider it a horror classic.
6 people found this helpful
Robert BlantonReviewed in the United States on January 31, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Beware! The plot youve scene before
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All in all, this is some pretty standard creature feature/slasher fair from the 80s...but thats not a bad thing by any means. You get some pretty decent splashes of gore and a really effective transformation scene with the main character. Throw in your obligatory 80s nudity and the man himself, Ronnie Cox, and youvw got a decent way to kill a lazy saturday afternoon...
One person found this helpful
Russell SReviewed in the United States on August 28, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
You should check it out
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1981 brings up this wonderful and fun movie. It is a terrifically entertaining horror film. It is not the greatest thing in the world but it is certainly not the worst either. The 80's never brought us all the best stuff but this is a fun movie and worth any horror fans time.
One person found this helpful
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