Worth A Look: 0%
Pretty Bad: 12.5%
Total Crap: 87.5%
1 review, 2 user ratings
|Beast, The (1975)
No, I'm not kidding. Your brave reviewer has Taken One For The Team on this one--I watched this crap so you wouldn't have to. It is being marketed as a great lost cult film, and one of the "best erotic films" ever. I was curious enough to rent it with a clear understanding that this one could go either way, and I knew within a minute I was in for a classic car wreck of a film.USER'S GUIDE TO THIS REVIEW:
"UNsexy beast---French arty pretentiousness meets hardcore bestiality porn!"
This review will contain
Assuming, of course, that it could be spoiled, which I seriously doubt. I think it's too late, and it has already gone off.
Also, this review is rated NC-17 for
as I intend to accurately describe it. I will use vernacular terms like, "fuck," "come," and "dick" rather than prevaricate with vulgarity by using the more staid words, "copulate," "ejaculate," and "penis." Stop reading NOW if either spoilers or adult content bother you.
The Beast was made by Walerian Borowczyk, who is most known for arthouse hits much concerned with sex, like Blanche and Immoral Tales, before he fell off the edge into more explicit works, ending up doing such hack work as Emmanuelle V. The Beast represents the point at which he took the leap off that edge into full-bore pornography.
The film begins with two horses mating, complete with gynecological close-ups. We pull back from that to see Mathurin (Pierre Benedeti), watching, as he is putting a stallion out to stud. Every so often, the camera cuts back to close-ups of the horse genitalia and the scene ends with the cumshot of the stallion.
We cut to a older woman, Virginia (Elizabeth Kaza), and her young niece, Lucy (Lisbeth Hummel), travelling into the French countryside for niece's arranged marriage. Lucy is a wealthy heiress, and she is to be married to the rather brutish Mathurin, the last sprig of an old and impoverished aristocratic family. They inadvertently turn down the drive to where the horses are fucking, which excites young Lucy so much she jumps from the car and runs over to take a quick Polaroid of the horses before being hustled back into the car by Virginia, to go around to the front of the chateau.
For the next hour, the viewer is treated to a tepid, horrendously acted comedy of manners. Mathurin is the heir to a dukedom, but there is some Terrible Secret his grandfather and uncle keep referring to that must be kept from his arranged-marriage bride-to-be. There is some legendary story alluded to, about a great-to-the-whatever-grandmother of the family who was attacked by a beast in the nearby woods. They keep her claw-slashed corset on display in the main room of the chateau, but it isn't a family story they care to discuss (Clue: Put the corset somehwere else!)
Mathurin's young, 20ish cousin, Clarisse (Pascale Rivault), is screwing the family's black servant (Hassane Falle) at every opportunity, with the problem that they are continually interrupted by shouts for him as he is needed. The frustrated Clarisse vents her frustration on a handy bedpost. That bedpost gets as much action as Johnny Holmes.
There is also a priest on hand (Roland Armontel) to officiate at the wedding, who brings with him two angelic looking choirboys. Hamhanded hints are given to imply an unsavoriness to the relationship between the priest and his choirboys, but in a rare and surprising bit of reticence, the film doesn't go explicit on that.
The climax of the film (and forgive me for calling it that) is Lucy going to bed, masturbating with a rose, and having Strange Dreams.
And here you come to the heart of the film. Lucy dreams of the great-to-whatever-grandmother, Romilda (Sirpa Lane), and her encounter with the Beast of the title. There Romilda was, bopping along in the woods in her late 18th century Little Bo-Peep outfit when she becomes aware there's a Beast in them there woods, and it's after her. We then get about six minutes of Beast Point-Of-View shots of Romilda running away, as the Beast swipes its claws at her, removing her clothing, one piece at a time.
The beast is a guy in a ratty ape/bear suit, which is provided with a working fake dick. As the beast chases Romilda, the dick becomes erect. The dick, a featured player in this film, is of a size with the horse's dick shown earlier.
After catching Romilda, the beast has its evil way with her six ways from Sunday. Copious amounts of his come are splashed all over the poor girl. The makers of this film are really proud of the working pump mechanism in the fake dick. So much fake semen is used in this film, I was surprised it didn't have a "Got Milk?" tag on the poster.
In fairness to the filmmaker, we are never shown penetration, (of the humans, anyway, though the horse scenes were as hardcore as any horse could possibly wish) but that is the ONLY scruple they had. The fake dick is handled, coddled, kissed, and sucked at.
And, of course, Romilda LOVES IT! (And you all saw that coming--so to speak--didn't you?) So much, in fact, does she love it, that she becomes the aggressor, forcing the Beast to stand up (as it were) and be counted, again and again... And she drains him not just of about 127 gallons of synthetic cum, but of his life as well, as the Beast rolls over, dead.
From this our young Lucy starts awake from her dream, and wanders, totally nude, to the bedroom of Mathurin, who has died as well. This sends Lucy into hysterics. In the ensuing chaos and confusion, the outraged Virginia suddenly strips the clothes from Mathurin's body to reveal first that he is an extraordinarily hairy bugger, then that the hand in a cast (supposedly a riding accident) is actually a perfect duplicate of the hand of the Beast, and finally, that Mathurin has, hidden in the back of his pants, a tail. Virginia and Lucy run screaming from the house. Sensible viewers run away from this, too, or collapse in helpless laughter.
Despite the film's wretched acting, dialog, and conception, it is very competently filmed and edited, in that soft-focus way the French seem to love in their porn. But it's a headscratcher, when you consider the hard work the filmmakers had to have put into it.
The film is available in a three disc special edition DVD set, which includes the "director's cut," which is the version of the film that was originally released in 1975, a second disc that is mostly a "making of" documentary which has no sound or music, just lots of silent footage of them staging the scenes in the film, and a third, "complete restored cut," which is a rough cut that has about four extra minutes of dialog which were cut from the film by the director himself at the time.I try in vain to think of anything else to say of this turkey, save the obvious: EEEWWWWWWW!
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11750&reviewer=301
originally posted: 02/16/05 10:30:05
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