The Ninjabot

[Scream! Factory] THE BEAST WITHIN (1982)

Posted on July 20, 2014 at 4:02 pm by Jess Hicks

He was on the verge of becoming a man…eater!

Thanks to the lovely folks at Scream! Factory I was introduced to a creature feature that I had basically never heard of, which meant I actually got to see a surprise ending as an actual surprise. The film in question is The Beast Within, directed by Phillipe Mora who also did The Marsupials: The Howling III, but I can let that slide.

The Beast Within begins in a flashback where we see newlyweds, Eli and Caroline MacClearly, heading home after their big night. When the car breaks down Eli is forced to walk back to the gas station to get some help while Caroline waits behind. She decides to let their dog out for a minute in the woods but soon grows worried when she hears her dog barking. Caroline explores the woods and finds the mangled remains of their dog and the creature that killed it. She tries to run but is attacked by the creature and rescued by her husband and the police. Fast forward 17 years and the MacClearly’s son, Michael, is suffering from an unexplained illness.


Now, I don’t want to give anything away about the illness because it is something really quite interesting and original. Michael is plagued by a ghostly voice that summons him out of the hospital every night to kill the local townsfolk. In the process he ends up meeting a girl and falling for her but unfortunately she belongs to a long line of the Curwin family, who the ghostly voice really hates.

As always the Scream! Factory transfer is wonderfully restored but it also keeps the gloomy and dusty look of this town in Mississippi. The whole film really only takes place in the hospital and the woods and each time it just feels grimy and hot. This is a movie where you need that feel, often times with transfiguration they seem a little too polished. For example An American Werewolf in London, while one of the best werewolf movies of all time, is a little too clean. Yes, the transformation looks very painful but the rest of the time the scenery just looks clean and sterile. The Beast Within captures the suffocating and dirty feeling that I would imagine turning into something would be like.


From a technical standpoint The Beast Within excels right up there with Friday the 13th and The Prowler with its gore effects. There isn’t a ton of gore here but when it does happen we get some really gnarly detail. Not to mention the creature effects are pretty awesome as well, although a little funny at times.

The Beast Within is a criminally forgotten horror treasure but Scream! Factory has brought it back in all its glory for fans to revisit and for some, like me, to discover for the first time. It’s a shame that Phillipe Mora didn’t go on to do more things because he really exhibits some true talent in the genre. Why Mora!? Why The Howling III?!?!

I recommend checking this out if you are a fan of the creature feature or if you are just looking for something new to sink your teeth into. If we can say anything about the horror genre it’s that there is no shortage of weird obscure films you may have missed. The Beast Within is available for purchase at Scream! Factory now!

The Beast Within: B-

You can follow Jess on Twitter @DangerJess_

    Sharing the Legacy on Flickr

    See all photos