The Beast Within (1982)

One of the better, and most overlooked, monster films of the 80’s is this fun and effectively creepy B horror film.

On a dark and stormy Mississippi night, a woman is attacked and raped by a mysterious monster. Now, seventeen years later, her ill teenage son is starting to display some murderous behavior that keeps getting worse…

The Beast Within (based on the Edward Levy novel of the same title) is too often bashed by critics. Many complain that the storyline is convoluted, but frankly if everything were explained it would lose its sense of chilling mystery. There is much to be enjoyed in this off-beat creature flick. The story is nicely creative with a hint of old school horror and a good dose of building tension – all of which is dotted with some startlingly good murder scenes. The gruesome makeup effects aren’t bad, this film has one wild transformation scene. Direction wise Philippe Mora does well in giving the film a great southern Gothic vibe as well as an oppressing atmosphere of dread.

The cast holds their own too. Ronny Cox (of Deliverance fame) and Bibi Besch do solid performances as the understandably troubled parents of our title character. Paul Clemens is also good, and strangely alluring, as the teen with the savage side. Supporting performances from Don Gordon, R.G. Armstrong, Katherine Moffat, and L.Q. Jones are good too.

The Beast Within is one under praised horror film. So what if there’s a few plot holes, so what if it doesn’t follow the book it’s based on to the letter – it’s a truly memorable horror ride that never has a dull moment. Check it out creature feature fans.