Judge David Johnson thinks the Sierra Club will find much value in this film.
The ultimate terror has taken form…
A violent monster, propelled by the adverse effects of nuclear waste, embarks on a killing spree in a small town. The Being is essentially a cautionary tale, warning of the results of tampering with nature and how if you dump toxic waste into rivers, you will get your head ripped off by a slimy, one-eyed anthropomorphic bratwurst.
Facts of the Case
A man runs, wild and screaming, in the night. Something is pursuing him. Frantically, he dives into his car, turns the ignition, and drives away. His breath is short, his knuckles ash-white from gripping the steering wheel. Has he escaped? A sudden, terrible noise from above answers that question.
The car roofs peels away and a monstrous arm reaches down and grabs the man's head. He shrieks in pain and desperately tries to shake the creature off by steering the car violently. No dice. With one final tug, the creature rips the man's head from his body, and the car careens to the side of the road.
The next morning finds ace detective Mortimer Lutz (Rexx Coltrane) sifting through the crime scene, attempting to figure out what happened. What he's not prepared for is the awful truth: the perpetrator of this heinous crime, as well as several murders to follow, is a mutated freak, derived from a commingling of unstable genetic material and nuclear waste.
Teaming up with ace scientist Garson Jones (Martin Landau (!), Ed Wood), Detective Lutz cowboys up to hunt down the mysterious marauder, and send it back to the gooey origins from which it arose.
The Being is a relatively entertaining drive-in creature feature that accomplishes everything it needs to earn its B-movie stripes, but falls short of uniqueness.
There's a smorgasbord of stuff working for this flick. One, it's not pretentious. It is an exercise in creature-schlock, and despite some heavy-handed commentary about illegal dumping (which toes the line of self-parody anyway), the main thrust of the film is refreshingly simple: find the slimy bastard and kill it to death.
Along the way, our heroes deduce that this monster is a mutated weirdo that melts when exposed to light. And despite claims to the contrary from the radioactive waste-dumping corporate scumbags—including a hilarious TV news segment where a scientist, after several on-the-spot experiments, reveals that drinking water from a nuclear waste-ridden water aquifer is less dangerous than wearing a wristwatch—Jones and Lutz determine that, indeed, the monster is going ape-dirt thanks to its steady diet of toxic sludge.
Which of course leads us to the killings. There is a lot of slime and goo in this film—a surprising amount actually—though the murders themselves leave too much to the imagination as the film progresses. In fact, the grisliest slaughter is found in the opening sequence, where the hapless victim has his head forcibly removed from his torso.
Successive deaths lose their luster (save for a nifty little fist-through-the-chest move), and the film ends unsatisfactorily with a dark, hard-to-follow face-off between The Being and Detective Lutz.
The dopiest element of this film is easily the creature concoction for The Being itself. Though you never really get a full-on look at the thing, from what I saw, that's probably a good thing. Like all monster movies, lesser is better, especially with this dude, who lumbers along like a department store mannequin on a pushcart. The close-ups with the drooling teeth and giant eye were cool, though.
Still, The Being remains a solid schlock feature and an ideal flick for a night of swill-drinking with friends; gore, goofy effects, lots of wild-eyed screaming, and even a dose of T&A for the basest among you, it's all available here for your consumption.
The disc carries a decent 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, though it is spotted with flaws from the original print. A satisfactory 2.0 stereo (English and Spanish) mix takes care of the sound. Extras are limited to trailers and some production stills.
You want to replicate the experience of a B-movie drive-in experience from way back when? Pop this solid little cornball monster movie into your DVD player and install some seatbelts on your couch.
Not guilty. Back to the sludge dump.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Media Blasters
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