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  • 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')

    'The Beast Within' rarely gets mentioned in discussions of 1980s horror movies, but it should. It may not be up there with the best of Cronenberg, Carpenter, Romero, or Raimi, but it's well made, original, strongly acted, and damn good fun!
  • 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.

    *** 1/2 out of ****
  • "The Beast Within" was a staple of TNT's MonsterVision many years ago, and its unique (yet often convoluted) premise reveals why: how many movies have featured a bloodthirsty cicada monster? Based on the novel by Edward Levy (adapted by future "Child's Play" director Tom Holland), the plot has happy newlyweds Ronny Cox and Bibi Besch running afoul of terror along a backwoods Mississippi road, where Besch is raped by some vague, subhuman creature; 17 years later, son Paul Clemens is exhibiting some extreme growing pains that include the occasional ghastly murder when his parents return to the scene of the crime looking for answers. While the plot never really comes together as well as it should, "Beast" is a model of B-movie efficiency that utilizes atmosphere, location, and some supremely grotesque special effects to leave the viewer rattled (director Philippe Mora also has an excellent grasp of light and shadow to create mood). In hindsight, the film has the type of contained, small-town-America aesthetic that has become the watermark of Stephen King's prose, and the cast is appropriately comprised of rather typical faces, not marquee stars. In the end, "Beast" is a wonderfully ghastly little flick with a creepy story that's executed just well enough to overcome some poor acting and an occasionally sluggish pace.
  • david-34529 September 1999
    Warning: Spoilers
    The Beast Within is without doubt one of the most underrated Horror films of the 1980s and also probably of all time. I still don't understand why this film ranks so low on the totem pole with most fans and critics. Some say that the film's premise is ludicrous but legendary Horror author H.P. Lovecraft used similar ideas of degenerative mutation in his classic story "The Lurking Fear." Beast features a strong cast with top acting honors going to Ronny Cox and Bibi Besch while excellent support comes from top character actors R.G. Armstrong and L.Q. Jones. Paul Clemens gives a very impressive turn as the title character, at one point a tortured young man, the next a murderous killer. He is really quite good, what happened to this guy? Also good is the cute Kitty Moffat who plays his ill fated girl friend. Director Philippe Mora does an excellent job of capturing the look and feel of an eerie little southern town with a dark secret and he keeps the action moving but never at the expense of the atmospherics. Particularly impressive are the scenes in the swamp after the human remains are found and the part where Clemens checks out the house where his Father was imprisioned. Much is made over the film's over the top effects work by Tom Burman particuarly the wild transformation scene at the fim's climax but give them credit for doing something different with the tired transformation sequences that populated 1980's Horror films. The part were Clemens' head blows up like a balloon is foreshadowed by a funny moment earlier in the film where Armstrong fiddles with one of those plastic dolls whose heads would expand when you squeze their bodies. And the film has a nice sense of symetry as Clemens, reborn as the monster who raped Besch is in turn killed by her at the film's end while Moffat who suffered the same fate as Besch is now going to carry the next beast. The Beast Within does not deserve the poor reputation it has and is ripe for rediscovery by discerning Horror buffs. Give it a try.
  • I agree with many points made by fellow commentators. This was one of director Philippe Mora's best efforts: atmospheric, grisly and featuring an extraordinary cast of slumming actors. The makeup transformation effects by the Burman studio are quite well done. BUT...

    Why isn't this called The BUG Within? This poor kid doesn't turn into a beast - he turns into a gosh-darn GIANT CICADA! WTF? Where did that come from? There's no explanation in the script, and according to those who've read the source novel, it's completely different from the original story. I remember seeing this at a United Artists screening in Los Angeles back in 1982. My buddy Mike and I were big horror fans, and after the screening let out we kept asking each other, "But why did he turn into a BUG?" Neither of us could come up with an answer then and obviously, even after all these years and with all these discussions on IMDb, no one else has either.

    Screenwriter Tom Holland probably could however. Certainly he's proved himself a talent in the horror genre, with his terrific script for the first Psycho sequel and subsequent work on the first Child's Play and his directorial debut, Fright Night.

    Philippe Mora has had a more checkered career. A strong visual stylist, he's struggled with poor choice of material such as the infamous sequel Howling III: The Marsupials.

    The Bug - sorry, BEAST Within is definitely worth a look for horror buffs, but when you watch the big transformation scene two-thirds of the way through, I guarantee you'll be scratching your head afterwards. The makeup FX are pretty cool though.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    **SPOILERS** The biggest problem with THE BEAST WITHIN is that about a third of the story appears to be missing. There seems to be an entire subplot about the man/thing who rapes Bibi Besch in the opening of the movie that is just not there. I have heard rumors over the years that an entire reel of the negative was lost or destroyed before post-production began, and they did not have the money to re-shoot the lost footage. If this is true, it explains a lot.

    One night in the late fifties, a young newlywed couple (Besch, Ronny Cox) get stuck on the side of the road. Cox runs for help, while Besch senses that someones lurking in the woods, so, naturally, she goes to investigate. A monstrous humanoid creature appears and rapes her.

    Seventeen years later...

    Cox and Besch have a seventeen year old son (Paul Clemens) who is suffering from some mysterious illness. Knowing that there's a real chance the father is Besch's attacker from years earlier, they go to the small Southern town they were passing through to investigate, hoping the key to curing Clemens may lie there.

    They venture to the town, but Clemens follows them, and starts picking off men who knew the man/thing that raped Besch. As best I can figure, the guy ("Billy") was so rotten and evil that he eventually turned into a monster, sort of a giant cicada. His buddies locked him up, but he escaped and raped Besch. Now seventeen years later (get it?...seventeen years?...cicadas?...no neither do I), he has come back in the form of Besch and Cox's son, apparently to seek revenge for being locked up in that musty old basement.

    This may have made sense at some point, but it sure doesn't anymore. There's a lot of Southern Gothic mumbo jumbo, and people repeatedly mention cicadas. The one thing they don't talk about is exactly WHY "Billy" turned into a cicada in the first place, or exactly why he's p***ed off at all these people. I would almost be willing to accept this movie on an existential level, but there's too much exposition pointing at something more going on for that approach to work.

    However, if you can get past the incoherent plot (or lack thereof), THE BEAST WITHIN is actually a pretty weird little flick. The acting is amusingly overwrought, there's some great, over-the-top music by Les Baxter, and some impressively gruesome gore sequences.

    The infamous highlight of the movie, though, is the grotesque transformation scene. Clemens lays strapped to a hospital bed, while a dumbfounded group of people stand there like idiots and watch him slowly turn into a monster. His head swells up like a balloon, his tongue grows to an enormous size, his eyeballs grow into huge orbs. It's pretty freaky and genuinely frightening.

    He then breaks out of the hospital and rapes a local girl, thus starting the whole vicious cycle all over again. The movie ends on a decidedly grim note, with Mom blowing his head off with a shotgun as he tries to kill Dad. The fact that he's not really her son anymore doesn't seem to console her as she breaks down. The sheriff comes walking up carrying the girl, now impregnated by "Billy". The end credits unceremoniously roll.

    It's all pretty nonsensical, but the movie is bizarre enough to hold my attention. If anything, it's a nice reminder of old school horror. It may not be very good, but they just don't make them like this anymore.
  • If you like low to medium budget horrors with plenty of gore, you will not be disappointed in this and Paul Clemens does very well in the lead. Nobody else seems to try too hard, they seem more interested in outdoing each other in wearing the most outlandish wigs. Very watchable despite its shortcomings although it almost comes to a halt on several occasions. The set up is fine, if a little predictable, but the wild and terrible story could have been better told. At first this seems like a Jekyll and Hyde variant, then a vampire tale before it gets back to what it really was at the start, a gruesome tale of rape and impregnation by some swamp like creature. Nice idea and lots of nastiness but not very convincing and too many people wandering in and out to little effect. Have to say though, one amazing and absolutely disgusting transformation sequence at the end.
  • I am going to disagree with most of the reviewers in here and say that I found the story to be quite intriguing. Some of it was a little out there but the crux of it ( the town conspiracy ) was quite well done. What wasn't so great was some of the acting and some of the things people do to get themselves in trouble.

    The film starts off with Ronny Cox and his wife traveling down some lonely Mississippi road in the dead of night. They spin off the road and the front of his car ends up on some moist land. His tires spin and spin but they will not respond. The car is stuck there. Now instead of A) trying to push the car out or B) both of them walking back to the gas station for a tow, Cox tells his wife that he is going back to that gas station for a tow. He playfully tells her to stay there and to lock the door ( he says it as though nothing bad could have ever happened on the side of the road in Mississippi. Does anyone ever remember MISSISSIPPI BURNING?)

    Okay, we have all seen too many horror movies but that is just dumb, horror movie or not. You never leave someone alone, on a deserted road while you are surrounded by the dense bush. Anything could happen. Bigfoot could jump out. Jason could be close by. The thing from THE PREY could pop and get you or more realistically you would just be too afraid to stay by yourself because it is dark. But she does and of course something attacks her and rapes her and then the film jumps ahead 17 years where of course she had the baby. This is another part when we all go " Oh Come ON!!! What are you, stupid?" If some big disgusting swamp thing with calves the size of the Caveman in Scooby Doo episodes raped you, you get an abortion, right away. But again, this is a horror movie and people have to do stupid things to get themselves into the prediciments that they are in. If you can get past some of this sheer idiocy, the rest of the story is quite good. It is not on par with some of the greats but it is a worthy addition to the early 80's horror.

    One by one, the slimy town folk are being attacked and devoured by a beast. Now we don't know why these people are being stalked, only that they are suspect looking to say the least. There is obviously some town secret that is being swept under the proverbial rug and these people are the main culprits.

    The final thirty minutes is quite good. I can remember being about 13 when me and my friends rented this film for the first time. We accepted the challenge on the front of the box where it dares you to watch the last thirty minutes without chickening out. And when you are 13 and are challenged like that, you eagerly accept. None of us were horrified but we sure thought it was cool. Now that I have more of an appreciation for horror and the effects that go into it, I have to say that the creature effects were astonishing here. Rick Baker would be proud of Thomas Burman. This is on par with Baker's work in AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. The transformation scene is truly a work of art. Perhaps people will say that it is dated because now a days they use computer graphics to make everything look real but let me tell you, give me guys like Rick Baker, Stan Winston and Thomas Burman and I would rather watch them at work than a chip and a computer program that does the same thing. This is fun to watch and I believe more work and innovation goes into the process.

    I would give this film a 6 out of 10. The story is intriguing and the plot is carried out quite well. And look at it this way. Take most horror films from today like URBAN LEGEND, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID..... and so on and compare them to this one and others like it from the 70's and early 80's. Most 90's films can't hold the director's Cole's Notes to how to make an affective horror film. The Beast Within is better than 95% of the horror that was released in the 90's. It is getting better now with stellar efforts like FINAL DESTINATION, BLAIR WITH, SIXTH SENSE, STIR OF ECHOES and even STIGMATA. Their roots lie with films like this.
  • The Beast Within tells the story of a woman who is raped in the forest by a mysterious creature. Cut forward 17yrs and her son has developed an ailment that has left doctors baffled.

    Based on that alone you've likely just worked out about 50% of the plot, the other 50% is very generic cliched stuff about a conspiracy in small town USA.

    With the likes Ronny Cox the movie has some acting heavyweights behind it, they also clearly had a very competent sfx team whose creature effects are above par for this early in the 80's.

    Sadly it doesn't flow very well, I found the lead rather obnoxious, the leading lady barely got any screen time and it just feels like they made a lot of real schoolyard errors here.

    If you like cheesy 80's creature features you might actually get a kick out of this as it does tick plenty of boxes, it just missed out on a few that are too important to me personally.

    The Good:

    Ronny Cox and L.Q. Jones

    Decent sfx

    The Bad:

    Lack of flow is noticeable

    Paul Clemens
  • Bibi Besch is raped by a monster on a Southern road,and 17 years later,her son(very convincing Paul Clemens)begins showing signs of change.Pretty soon,he's rampaging through a small town of Nioba killing people,and(in an excellent transformation scene)changing into a slimy fanged beast.The acting is great,the music is really spooky,and the special effects by Thomas R.Burman("Prophecy","Invasion of the Body Snatchers")are simply outstanding.Tom Holland("Fright Night")wrote the screenplay from an Edward Levy novel.Director Philippe Mora creates a fair amount of suspense and atmosphere,and there's enough gore and violence to satisfy all the gore hounds.So if you like horror genre,check out this gory shocker.Cult classic indeed!
  • ep.com13 October 2002
    Warning: Spoilers
    An often overlooked entry to the early 80s-Horror genre, that's filled with atmosphere, an overall creepiness and great, great gore effects (by Tom Burman... I don't care what everybody says, this guy is at least as talented as Tom Savini and Rob Bottin. Check out that transformation scene, wow...), that sadly never manages to really take off, due to a extremely silly premise. You know, I always thought there was the potential for a much stronger, better horror movie, if the film makers had decided to give more room to the subplot about a guy held captive in a cellar and force fed human flesh... man, what a cool movie that would have made. Instead they run with all that silly cicada stuff. Overlooked opportunity, I'd say. And, concerning the final result of the cicada-transformation, while the transformation looks awesome, the monster in it's whole glory just looks like a guy in a suit. Still, a nice, creepy little movie that'll surely make a fine midnight viewing...
  • Coventry19 January 2005
    Woo-hoo! This freaky puppy needs to go on a leash! The Beast Within is highly entertaining 80's pulp that regretfully got ignored over the years, along with so many other B-movie goodies from that decade like "Dead & Buried", "Basket Case" or "From Beyond". I hope that too many people won't be biased about the gory, cheap looks of this film, because it actually has got more to offer than you'd think! The Beast Within fits perfectly in the "the little town with a secret"-sub genre that I personally adore. The screenplay (written by Tom Holland of "Fright Night" and "Child's Play") handles about a newlywed couple facing a nightmare when the wife is raped by a hideous creature on a remote Mississippi road. The "miracle of life" takes place and 17 years later, the progeny of this unpleasant meeting begins to undergo a bizarre metamorphosis. The adolescent Michael is aggressive, weak and goes prowling overnight. The victims of these nightly hunts all share a common secret that slowly unravels itself and leads all the way back to the night of the rape. The plot contains quite some holes (big ones!) and logicalness is totally out of the question! Hopefully, you'll be able to look passed these flaws and see how director Mora attempts to add tension and atmosphere to his film. The obvious aspect to love naturally is the blood and gore! The Beast Within features an infamous and nearly classic transformation and this scene alone makes the film worthy. A catchy (country) soundtrack and fairly good acting complete my overall positive opinion on this overlooked cult gem. Ronny Cox is quite convincing as the "official" father but it surely is the young actor Paul Clemens himself who impresses. His ultra-mad grimaces while attacking the hillbillies form the best parts of the film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Beast Within" is a highly amusing, over-the-top, endearingly senseless combination of a monster movie with a "Bad Day at Black Rock" type of story. Future director Tom Holland supplies the story for these macabre theatrics.

    A couple honeymooning in 1964 have car trouble after which the new wife is raped by a humanoid thing. 17 years later, and the now teen aged product of that rape is going through some pretty ugly growing pains, periodically killing and eventually transforming into a monster himself. Adding to the melodrama is the back story of that long ago rapist's pitiful existence and a cover up that had been engineered by the bigwigs of the local small Mississippi town.

    Many things come together in this movie that makes up in panache what it may lack in any sort of logic. It's just oozing with foul and sordid backwoods atmosphere, and the makeup effects and gore courtesy of Tom Burman are well worth a look; the climactic transformation that is trumpeted so proudly in the theatrical trailer can't compare to the likes of what we saw in "The Howling" or "An American Werewolf in London", but it's not bad either. It's only the final monster incarnation that disappoints, as it's obviously a man in a clunky, none too convincing costume. Still, monster movie lovers such as this reviewer can still delight in a fun little movie that does things in such an old-fashioned way. The score by A.I.P. pro Les Baxter is full of doom, and the movie looks just great in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Philippe Mora directs with efficiency; he was hired for this project based on his direction of the 1976 favourite "Mad Dog Morgan". A rock solid cast treats the insane material with gravity; Ronny Cox and Bibi Besch are the perplexed, truth seeking parents, and Paul Clemens the tormented teen. Clemens really gives his all in what is truly a wild role. Excellent character actors also help, including Don Gordon, who erupts into a scenery devouring frenzy before the picture concludes, R.G. Armstrong, L.Q. Jones, Logan Ramsey, John Dennis Johnston (playing the role of a stereotypical hostile redneck to the hilt), Ron Soble, Luke Askew, and Meshach Taylor. Co-star Katherine "Kitty" Moffat is a lovely and appealing gal in the part of the love interest.

    An overlooked and under appreciated flick as far as 80's horror goes, "The Beast Within" is deserving of cult status - simply put, it's trash at its finest. You can just turn your brain off and enjoy the lurid thrills, which it delivers for a well paced 99 minutes of mayhem. Eight out of 10.
  • Paul Clemens first came to my attention, with an excellent performance as a teenager with tourettes syndrome in the "Quincy" episode, "Seldom silent, Never heard". When "Fangoria" revealed that he was going to star in this horror film, I got real interested. It was a blast to see at a Tucson drive in, on first release. (probably with a 6-pack of Molson's in the trunk)

    The southern setting, (and the presence of Ronny Cox), give this mutant rape saga, a slight touch of "Deliverance". Clemens suffers as necessary, rather convincingly, until the Tom Burman effects take center stage towards the end. This is a very well acted horror film, unusual for this type and time, with some real twists, unlikely as they might be. Burman's effects are top drawer for the pre-digital age. The ending is as perverse, and ludicrous, as one could hope. Take it as you will, this is a longtime favorite, a real change of pace from the interchangeable masked, holiday killers. (you know, "Halloween", "New Year's Evil", "Hell Night", "My Bloody Valentine", "Prom Night", "Friday The 13th", etc...) Your response may change with your mood.

    --Judexdot1--
  • If you enjoyed "The Terror Within" or "Humanoids From the Deep", then this movie is for you. It is a classic early eighties horror film about slimy creatures that rape young women, only to repeat the cycle at the end of the film. Special effects (by today's standards) are pretty thin, but still worth seeing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In order to appreciate this movie you have to be able to accept it for what it is: not a top-flight, high budget star-powered horror movie, but an attempt to create some good, campy horror fun, and in that it succeeds in spite of a number of inconsistencies in the plot that are pretty glaring and do detract somewhat from the story's credibility. The somewhat cliché opening doesn't really draw the viewer in: a couple's car gets stuck on a lonely road in the woods and while the husband leaves to get help, the wife is attacked by an unknown creature. She isn't killed, though - she's raped and impregnated. Seventeen years later, the child born to her becomes ill, and the couple return to the place of the attack looking for answers.

    The acting here was generally pretty decent. There were no mega-stars involved; the best known actors were probably Ronny Cox and Bibi Besch as the couple struggling to save their son. Paul Clemens (as Michael, the son) came across as a bit wooden to me, but aside from that, things were pretty good in the acting department. The plot had problems. For example, after Michael's first murder - which was very bloody - there was not a drop of blood on his clothes. Given the nature of the murder, that would seem highly unlikely. Also, MacCleary (Cox) - who as far as we know was not a cop and was a complete stranger in the town - was accepted far too easily by the sheriff, and actually seems to become part of the investigating team. Also, when Michael is caught in Amanda's room, the best the sheriff can say is "he was trying to protect her." Really? What about trespassing? Break and enter? So, there are plot problems. Basically, though, it's a decent B-movie sort of production which features an interesting creature (a cicada-type monster) and an equally interesting transformation scene. And, remember - it's all in good fun!
  • Film is decent enough,typical 80s acting,effects and filming. If your a fan of 80s horror like me you will like it. Reviewers saying its a B movie obviously haven't watched alot of 80s horror. Its not a B at all its a 80s shot film,its not going to be all big budget and special effects etc.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If you like movies where the emergence of a murderous beast-cicada sex predator every 17 years serves as a metaphor for the recurrence of hidden psychological trauma, then this is the movie for you! Partially bold, partially sleazy, totally 80s. Les Baxter's awesomely colossal score drives things along. Director Mora dealt with the concept of psych trauma again a few years later in Communion.

    (I'm an enthusiast, not a critic. Thanks for reading.)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Beast Within" combines many different horror tropes. It plays like a werewolf movie without the werewolf at times. A Southern town with a dark secret is the primary setting. There are elements of demonic possessions and revenge from beyond the grave. Most famously, in the last half-hour, the movie explodes into body horror, with a vivid transformation and a monster gorily dismembering victims. The gritty violence and setting feels like '70s Savage Cinema, but the show-stopping creature effects puts it in the company of other effects-heavy early eighties flicks, like "American Werewolf" "The Thing," or "The Howling." The setting of Naoba, Missisipi provides Southern-fried atmosphere that's hard to resist, especially when the moon shines through fog and tree branches. The story slowly puts down clues, drawling the audience in. The eventual transformation is set up subtly. The special effects are fantastic. Michael's transformation is the film's center-piece. It's so climatic that it almost spoils the last act. However, Philippe Mora's strong direction builds suspense through frenzied performances, noise clattering outside, and wisely delivered gore. The decapitation here is one of my favorites. The violence is calculated through-out, as the first murder, the mortuary sequence, and the electric kill are equally measured by suspense and make-up.

    The cast is peppered with memorable faces, among them R.G. Armstrong and Don Gordon. Ronny Cox and Bibi Bersh are both excellent as the concerned parents, totally unprepared for what happens to their son. Cox, in particular, makes his everyman role highly relatable. L.Q. Jones is especially likable as the tough, no-nonsense sheriff, the only man in Naoba not involved in the conspiracy. If there's a performance that doesn't work, it's Paul Clemens as the troubled boy. He's frequently good when snarling threats but is less convincing as a normal teenager.

    The script is by Todd Holland who quickly established himself as a reliable genre draftsman. The ambiguous story is frequently criticized. The story suggests that cannibalism and years of abuse is enough to transform a man into something inhuman. The possession, reincarnation, and bizarre metamorphosis are unexplained. Did Billy Corwin come back through pure force of will? Similarly, the connection with cicadas seems to have resulted through environmental influence. He imprinted on the forest and, likewise, it imprinted on him. Supposedly, about twenty minutes of deleted scenes would have clarified these details but, nah, I like it the way it is. You could probably criticize the movie for its underdeveloped love story but I like that too. Michael and Amanda have chemistry together and their hormones-heavy love-at-first-sight romance is exactly right for a pair of teenagers with overly protective parents.

    Not every element works. Les Baxter's score, his last, is bit confused, sounding one minute like a 1950s monster movie while featuring throbbing, overdone synth the next. The ending is hopelessly anticlimactic. The threat is dealt with too quickly and the emotional fallout isn't focused on enough. Overall though, that last atmospheric shot of an old house in the darkness hits my horror-fan sweet spot. "The Beast Within" is a cult gem for me.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In the beginning of the movie you see a woman get attacked and impregnated by a bug-eyed man. The movie takes place years later when the child that returns to the town of the original creature and begins metamorphing into a slimy Cicada-like creature, and begins going on a killing spree and killing people that knew about the original creature that attacked his mother, almost twenty years ago. Fair horror film. The plot is non-existent and some of the acting is weak but that's made up for by some gruesome special effects and a suspenseful music score. The final beast is a bit underwhelming but the scene in which the main character transforms looks incredibly well-done and accomplished. Not a bad little horror film, but a predictable one. 6/10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    An ugly teenage boy turns even uglier when it's discovered he's the product of some southern swamp lovin' between his momma and a man who was inexplicably turned into a bog bug. ????? Yeah exactly. You could drive a Mercury Monterey through the plot holes here but darn if thing isn't entertaining, especially in the final reel. There are corrupt judges, corrupt morticians, an array of poorly enunciating rednecks,heads expanding, heads exploding, toupee adorned heads being torn clean off, hamburger foot stomping, and more raping, adultery, philandering and spousal infidelities than you can shake a stick at. R.G. Armstrong shows up in this one, gotta love that guy and Ronny Cox turns in another sissy-riffic performance as the boy turned beasts' white bread step dad. "Billy Connors is ma daddy!" Paul Clemens is the young man who isn't much to look at before he transforms into a slimy swamp critter and does a fair enough job. If you love the late 70s and early 80s drive in fair like me this is worth a look for sure. If you're some clown who needs the quick cutting MTV style horror thats running rampant in cinema today than beat it, this one may have to much plot for you. Beware the cicadas!!!
  • Omne10 November 2001
    Not much to add to the previous comments, they covered the plot remarkably well, at least as much plot as there was in the movie.

    I'll add a few observations. The acting was actually somewhat better than expected in a movie of this type. They caught some decent performers either on the way up or the way down in their careers who agreed to do it. The special effects, for 1982, were pretty decent although the rubber masks in the transformation sequences were pretty unconvincing. They also got carried away with the air bladders under the skin blowing them way too high to be credible.

    Now the weakest link, the plot. Although it had high ambitions it fell flat due to the inability to come up with anything resembling an explanation for the transformation of Michael.

    Allegedly a local loser was discovered with another man's wife and was chained in the cellar for years and given cadavers to chew on. Conveniently the cuckolded husband was the local undertaker. Apparently the monster-to-be used to pretend as a child that he would come back someday like a cicada. Somehow they tossed those concepts together to get a completely nonhuman monster who could, in addition to the physical changes, transfer his mind and memories to his sperm. A neat trick but kind of silly. Hard as it is to fathom, the movie "Child's Play" actually had a better explanation than this one. I never thought I'd be saying that.

    If they had thrown in almost any sort of rational explanation I would have enjoyed the movie more. Heck, I would have accepted alien experiments. The lack of an explanation kept bugging me, no pun intended, for most of the movie.

    Overall it was worth renting on DVD and watching. It was certainly no worse than a lot of movies before and since. If you turn off the critical thinking you'll enjoy it more.
  • AaronCapenBanner4 September 2013
    1/10
    Bad.
    This horror film, about a woman brutally attacked one night, and years later has to relive the memory when her son becomes the suspect in a series of brutal murders, is appalling trash, utterly without value. Story is pure crass exploitation, not to mention utterly ridiculous and ultimately nonsensical. Good actors wasted in this junk, further ruined by some dreadful F/X, especially the big transformation sequence in the hospital, which looks like it was made for 25 cents, so unintentionally laughable is the end result.

    Directed by Philippe Mora, who would go on to direct the equally bad "Howling II & III".
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I am giving this a 2 out of ten only because it's fun to watch for the bad effects.

    This starts out with the a rape then later the boy is like a cicada and goes through the change every 17 yeas, and his parents go back to this odd town to find out his true heritage.

    It is difficult to watch as most of the time with the bad acting, and the boy for the most part when he "gets angry" to kill this particular family, he just looks upset with bad teeth and super strength.

    It really is a slow film and only worth watching if you want to see the bad effects. This is really evident in the last 15 minutes of the film. You see the boy in the hospital and he goes through the full change. It goes from a obviously fake model head to make up inflatables on the actors real head which is an improvement. It ends up with a mini puppet thing, which doesn't make sense from the bulging happens.

    Even for being 1982 the filming is rather dark and low quality.
  • Mister-616 September 1999
    You ever see a movie where they spent so much on the special effects they had nothing left for a screenplay?

    I have, lots of them. And here's a good example....

    "The Beast Within" shows a lot of what they call "bladder FX" to show someone morphing into a monster, and those scenes are actually pretty well done. But the rest of the film feels like it was just tacked onto an FX loop.

    What actors like Besch, Cox, Armstrong and Jones are doing in this mess is anyone's guess, and I'll bet they're trying to figure that out to this day.

    I won't go into too much detail but just to say that things end for a sequel. If there is any shred of decency in the festering depths of Hollywood, they WILL NOT make a sequel to "The Beast Within".

    Let's all hope.

    One star, for the FX. But everything else winds up in the negative numbers, including the IQ points of all involved herein.
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