2012 Film Challenge #52 - The Beast Must Die

An obsessive hunter lures a group of people to his country pad and, over dinner, reveals that he knows that one of them is a werewolf.

An Amicus production which would dearly like to be a Hammer, The Beast Must Die is never anything less than engaging and intriguing. Emphasis is given to mystery and suspense over horror and shocks. It also has to be a very early example of the use of grainy recorded footage for added scares, as much of the action is viewed on CCTV monitors.

The gloomy atmosphere is enhanced further by quite a marvelous cast. Michael Gambon's there, doing his thing. And we also get treated to the enrapturing spectacle of Peter Cushing as he commands an endearing Germanic accent.

But pretty much every single scene is absolutely dominated by our obsessed and possibly demented host: The incredibly charismatic Calvin Lockhart.

He brings a touch of cool dynamism to proceedings; A rare feat indeed for the usually so staid, measured and polite world of vintage British Horror.

His wardrobe alone makes a viewing worthwhile. During dinner he wears a striking jacket decorated with star and planet motifs (see above - I want one); whilst seconds before hunting the wereworlf he changes into a fabulous shimmering black leather shirt.

I bet he refers to it as his “Killin' Get-Up”.

Who wouldn't?

If you watch and read enough mystery, you tend to take it for granted that the initial suspect will not ultimately be proven guilty. Nonetheless, The Beast Must Die really does abide by that old cliché: Verily does it “keep you guessing to the end”.

It has a curious little “Werewolf Interlude” - 30 seconds in which the audience are allowed to speculate one last time as to who they think to be the resident lycanthrope.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that every film would benefit from a Werewolf Interlude.

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