I have been wanting to see this movie for a long time, mostly because of what I have heard about the deplorable opening scene. The film opens with a vile and shocking rape scene. It is mildly exploitative but what makes this scene disturbing is the rapist itself himself, for he is part-man, part-monster. (Think of Seth Brundle from The Fly.) Oh, the shock and awe!! But not really. In reality, the scene is quite a letdown. Now, I know this was filmed in 1982, so some credit should be given for this kind of subject matter at this point in time, but there really isn’t anything risqué about this scene. I mean, The Last House on the Left (1972) and I Spit on Your Grave (1978) were far more disturbing and were created way before The Beast Within. I’d like to say that the rest of the film makes up for the disappointing introduction to the story, but it only gets worse from here. Far, far worse.
Seventeen years later, the rape victim, Caroline, has a son- a product of that horrific and unforgettable night. She is married to Eli and leads a normal existence, except that now her son, Michael, is exhibiting strange medical symptoms and inhuman behavior. Caroline and Eli must do some investigative digging into who harmed her years ago in order to figure out what is wrong with their ill son. It seems that the whole town is in on the secret and don’t want Caroline and Eli nosing around for information. When Michael flees the hospital, he begins a rampage in search of sex, with an urge to continue the work that his “father” began.
I am a fan of “B-horror” movies, but this is “C” quality at best. The acting is pitiable, especially by afflicted Michael, which is unfortunate since he is the character that is supposed to be carrying this whole film. All I could think of is that he reminded me of an even sadder version of Meat Loaf in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Needless to say, he is NOT scary.
Hearing stories of the opening scene always had me intrigued to watch this film, but the disappointing opening scene really is the best part and the rest that follows clings to scraps of a story that just aren’t enough to make an interesting film. I could barely make it to the end of this boring film, but I did so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
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