As horror fans, we are constantly being treated to some of the most imaginative stories and creations ever seen in film. Philippe Mora’s 1982 monster movie is a perfect display of that imagination. The Beast Within takes the best elements of a creature-feature, throws in some slasher elements, and adds some supernatural twists, all making for one fantastically frightening experience.
I’ve watched tons of monster movies, but not until this film have I seen one having to do with cicadas. Yes, you read that correctly, cicadas… the nasty looking winged insects that come out once in a while and make a lot of noise. Phillipe Mora and writer Tom Holland take the reality of these insects and add some monster lore around it, making for a very interesting take on creature sub-genre.
The Beast Within includes a wonderful cast, consisting of Ronny Cox, Bibi Besch, Paul Clemens, and many more. Michael (Clemens) is a teenage boy who has suddenly fallen ill. His parents (Cox and Besch), along with numerous doctors, cannot figure out what is wrong with him. As the story progresses, we see Michael having strange dreams, wandering about at night, and displaying signs of what seems like some sort of schizophrenia.
The longer this film goes on, the better it gets. Each kill gets more exciting and the makeup and effects team do an outstanding job, increasing the brutality with each one. When the ‘beast’ is finally revealed on-screen, we are treated to a several minute long scene that just gets increasingly gross as it continues. Again, the effects look fantastic and the wait through the entire film is really worth it.
If you like creature-features and monster films as much as me, you really should check this film out. If you want to see it in its best form, be sure to check out Shout! Factory’s release, with its beautiful transfer and awesome commentary tracks.
I give The Beast Within 3 shedding cicadas out of 5.