'The Beast' (Blu-Ray & DVD Combo)
(Guy Tréjan, Marcel Dalio, Sirpa Lane, Lisbeth Hummel, Elisabeth Kaza, et al / Blu ray / R / 2015 / MVD)
Overview: The head of a failing French family thinks that fate has smiled down on him when the daughter of a wealthy man agrees to be married to his son. The daughter and her aunt then travel out to the French countryside to meet with the family, unaware that a mysterious 'beast' is stalking the vicinity.
Blu ray Verdict: Hmmmm, well, where does one start. OK, let's try at the very beginning. 'La Bête,' by Walerian Borowczyk is based on the short story "Lokis" written by Prosper Merimée. Lucy Broadhurst (Lisabeth Hummel), an American heiress betrothed to the son of an impoverished Marquis, arrives at the family's crumbling château and learns of a mythical ursine beast purported to prowl the nearby forest.
Indeed, it is fabled that a former lady of the house (Sirpa Lane)once engaged in perverse sex with the creature and Lucy finds herself consumed by dreams of the incident. Ergo, the subsequently renamed-for-foreign-distribution 'The Beast' is an art-house mix of surreal horror, explicit sleaze and porno! There's implied bestiality, assault and perversion in the priesthood, copious (and obviously fake) ejaculate smeared on bared breasts, masturbation with a rose and, most graphic of all, the eponymous beast toying with incredibly big phallus!
Still, and with all that said, this genuinely erotic film is wonderfully photographed and at the very same time, totally tasteless! The women here are stunningly beautiful and they are naked most of the time. Overall, 'La Bête' aka 'The Beast' is a visual feast, whichever way you slice it. Whether it be from the fetishistic attention to detail, or the visual motifs pregnant with information, Borowczyk's masterpiece should be watched with care and attention. A must-see for fans of European cult cinema. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
New high definition digital transfers of the feature and the shorts
Uncompressed Mono 2.0 PCM Audio
Optional English subtitles
Introduction by film critic Peter Bradshaw
Venus on the Half-Shell (1975)
The Making of ‘The Beast’: camera operator Noël Véry provides a commentary on footage shot during the film’s production
Frenzy of Ecstasy, a new visual essay on the evolution of Borowczyk’s beast and the sequel that never was, Motherhood
Reversible sleeve featuring original poster design
Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Daniel Bird and archive pieces by David Thompson and Craig Lapper, illustrated with original stills.