Movie Review: The Beast Must Die (1974)

Synopsis: Millionaire Tom Newcliffe installs an elaborate security system on the grounds of his English mansion because he intends to prove one of his houseguests is really a werewolf.

Who's in it? The movie stars Calvin Lockhart, Peter Cushing, Marlene Clark, Charles Gray and Michael Gambon.

Review: About a month ago, I wound up adding Shudder to my YouTube TV account and this movie was the primary reason. I had seen the description and thought it sounded intriguing. I finally had a chance to watch the movie last night and this morning. Overall, it didn't disappoint.

This was a somewhat unique film because it essentially combines a horror movie with a classic murder mystery, complete with all the suspects being asked to sit in a circle while Tom (Lockhart) gave his reveal. As a fan of both genres, I loved the combination.

I even have to admit, the mystery was much more complicated than I thought it would be. The film does a good job of creating suspicions about multiple characters, including Tom's wife (Clark), and even throws in a few twists to keep the viewer on his/her toes. I know it got me looking at a red herring and that doesn't happen very often.

In fact, even Tom didn't seem to be above suspicion, partly because he was so cold and calculating throughout the film. Even if he didn't turn out to be the werewolf, I wondered if he would end up being worse than that kind of creature.

I wasn't sure what to think about the movie's 30-second "werewolf break" at first but, after some reflection, I did find it to be a somewhat clever idea because it gave the audience an opportunity to discuss their theories before the supernatural creature was revealed. I honestly think that is something more movies should have.

My only real complaint about the film was the somewhat campy 70s music that was playing in the background. This was a fairly serious film and the upbeat music really didn't fit it. In fact, when I first started watching this, I thought it was going to turn out to be a comedy. If it were me, I would have left the music out or, at minimum, picked something a little more somber.

Final Opinion: If you like monster movies and classic murder mysteries, this is a great way to get your fix for both at the same time. I ended up enjoying it enough to make the extra $6/month I'm spending on Shudder seem worth it.

My Grade: B+


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