'The Beast Must Die'
(Calvin Lockhart, Peter Cushing, et al / DVD / PG / (1974) 2006 / Dark Sky Films)
Overview: Wealthy big game hunter Tom Newcliffe (Calvin Lockhart) has tracked and killed practically every type of animal in the world. But one creature still evades him, the biggest game of all - a werewolf. Tom invites five guests -- Dr. Christopher Lundgren (Peter Cushing), Paul Foote (Tom Chadbon), Bennington (Charles Gray), Jan Jarmokowski (Michael Gambon) and Davina (Ciaran Madden)-- to his island knowing they all are tied one way or another to unusual circumstances of death… and that one of them is a werewolf. Add to the mix Tom’s alluring wife Caroline (Marlene Clark) and surveillance expert, Pavel (Anton Diffring), Tom tracks the werewolf but is unable to kill it. One by one the creature kills the isolated guests.
DVD Verdict: There's something about the great actors and high production values that makes movies like this enjoyable well beyond their used-by date. You can say what you want about it being dated or silly, but it is still entertaining to watch. The plot is ludicrous all around, but the actors are all solid and as is often the case, good characters keep the movie alive. The feel is somewhere between a Dr Who episode, an Agatha Christie mystery, the famous Shaft blaxsploitation flick and a traditional Hammer monster movie (I kid you not). The plot revolves around a collection of strangers held captive in a house on the premise that one of them is a werewolf. The host and captor is a swanky African guy who looks likes he's in the wrong movie and his wife is either Cleopatra Jones or someone who looks even better. As others have noted the scenario is a classic Agatha Christie whodunit with the only twist being that one of the suspects is a werewolf rather than a murderer. The movie includes various chase scenes on foot, by car, 4x4 and helicopter. There is no substantial gore or horror to speak of and little suspense and overall this is simply a mystery. Arguably, it is so out of left field that you keep watching to see what will happen next. Whatever the case, this unique film is quite entertaining - one to watch over a bottle of wine. This is a Full Screen presentation (1.78:1) and comes with the Special Features of:
Commentary by director Paul Arnett
"Directing The Beast" featurette
Paul Arnett's tribute to Peter Cushing
Cast and crew bios