The Beast Within (1982)
Article 6043 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Philippe Mora
Featuring Ronnie Cox, Bibi Besch, Paul Clemens
What it is: Doesn’t quite work thanks to editing
A woman is raped by something or someone in the woods. Seventeen years later, her son begins undergoing a physical change. Is this the result of the earlier event?
This was one of those movies whose ad campaigns I remember from the time it was released. The campaign emphasized the grotesque nature of a transformation sequence that takes place in the final third of the movie, and this made me suspect that the movie was really only going to be a so-so variant of a werewolf movie. Having now seen it, I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would, largely because most of the movie concerns itself with solving the mystery of the secret scandal of a small southern town, which is one of those types of plot to which I am partial. Still, I had the feeling that this plot and the one involving the transformation of the boy wouldn’t quite mesh, and I still felt so by the end of the movie.
However, I have a habit of reviewing the trivia section of IMDB when I finish watching a movie, and I discovered that the scene in which the scandal finally comes to light was severely cut, removing some information that ties the two sides of the movie together. So this movie is another example of how important editing is in the building of a movie. However, I know there is a longer version of this movie, and that may be the one to catch. And the transformation sequence is indeed memorable.