The Beast Within (1982)


Philippe Mora does has made lots of very strange movies in his underrated career, some good, some truly awful. This is one of the better ones. If you analyze the plot too much the holes become big enough to drive a truck through, but just ignore the urge to do that, and you’ll find you’re watching an near-classic of transformation horror.

A newly-wed (Bibi Besch) is raped by a mysterious beast on her wedding night. Seventeen years later her son (Paul Clemens) is dying of an unknown illness. She and her husband (Ronny Cox) return to the scene of their past trauma to try and get some answers. They find some strange townsfolk who appear to be hiding some mysterious secret. Exactly what it is I won’t say. It would not only spoil the movie, but I must admit I’m a trifle confused myself at the “explanation” for the weird events depicted on screen! Like I said, think about it too much and you’ll ruin it. Just go with the flow…

‘The Beat Within’ contains plenty of creepiness and some gruesome murders. An added attraction for film buffs is the interesting supporting cast, which includes Peckinpah veterans R.G. Armstrong (‘Predator’), L.Q. Jones (‘Casino’) and Luke Askew (‘Easy Rider’), and character actors Don Gordon (‘Out Of The Blue’) and Mora semi-regular John Dennis Johnston. (‘Flesh & Blood’)