Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Beast Must Die, The (1974)

Beast Must Die, The (1974)

Wealthy playboy, philanthropist and big game hunter Tom Newcliffe (Calvin Lockhart) and his wife Caroline (Marlene Clark) invite an eclectic group of people to their country mansion because Tom is convinced one of them is a werewolf.

The sprawling mansion is fitted with a CCTV surveillance system with numerous security cameras and listening devices controlled by Newcliffe’s trusted assistant and employee Pavel (Anton Diffring).

Once the werewolf is secretly spied, Newcliffe plans to shoot the biggest game of all with his hunting rifle and add it to his prized trophy collection.

The select group of suspects is made up of archaeology and werewolf expert Dr Lundgren (Peter Cushing), former medical student and suspected cannibal Paul Foote (Rick Wakeman-lookalike Tom Chadbon), disgraced British diplomat with constantly disappearing staff Arthur Bennington (Charles Gray), society beauty Davinia Gilmore (Ciaran Madden), and shifty-looking concert pianist Jan Jarmokowski (Michael Gambon), a man who (suspiciously) never seems too geographically far away from the scene of some grisly murder.

Newcliffe is completely obsessed with bagging a werewolf and dismisses the servants and cuts off the telephones, insisting that his guests stay throughout the cycle of the full moon until the beast reveals itself.

As our suspects play chess, banter, dine and discuss werewolf lore at Newcliffe’s grand country house, numerous red herrings and clues are thrown in and the film invites us to guess who we think the werewolf might be, supplying us with an enjoyably gimmicky William Castle-style thirty second ‘Werewolf Break’ (narrated by Valentine Dyall) with ticking clock before the great revelation.

When the werewolf finally makes an appearance, it is quite obviously a large Alsatian dog with a coat over it!

But the central idea of the Amicus film – that one of the guests is really a werewolf but must hide that fact – is far more interesting and creepy than the actual werewolf scenes.

Tom Newcliffe
Calvin Lockhart
Dr Christopher Lundgren
Peter Cushing
Caroline Newcliffe
Marlene Clark
Arthur Bennington
Charles Gray
Anton Diffring
Davinia Gilmore
Ciaran Madden
Paul Foote
Tom Chadbon
Jan Jarmokowski 
Michael Gambon
Sam Mansary
Andrew Lodge
1st Hunter
Carl Bohen
2nd Hunter
Eric Carte
Narrator of the ‘Werewolf Break’
Valentine Dyall

Paul Annett