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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Black Werewolf" )

 

directed by Paul Annett
UK 1974

 

For self-made millionaire Tom Newcliffe (Calvin Lockhart, WILD AT HEART), the "most dangerous game" is not man, it is the werewolf. He has invited five guests with strange pasts to his isolated country house for the weekend including lyncanthropy expert Dr. Lundgren (Peter Cushing, AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS), pianist Jan (Michael Gambon, THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE, AND HER LOVER), disgraced medical student Paul (Tom Chadbon), former diplomat-turned-TV-host Bennington (Charles Gray, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW), and Davina (Ciaran Madden, who later co-starred with Gambon in the UK TV series version of the Maigret detective stories), a friend of Newcliffe's wife Caroline (Marlene Clark, GANJA AND HESS). With the help of security expert Pavel (Anton Driffing, FAHRENHEIT 451), Newcliffe has rigged his estate with microphones, cameras, motion detectors, and armed guards for his werewolf hunt. Can you deduce the identify of the werewolf or will the werewolf whittle down the cast before "The Werewolf Break." While James Blish's novella "There Shall Be No Darkness" identified the werewolf in the first paragraph, Amicus has turned their adaptation into a TEN LITTLE INDIANS-style whodunit. Like the 1965 adaptation of the aforementioned Agatha Christie novel, THE BEAST MUST DIE stops for sixty seconds to offer the audience the opportunity to guess the identity of the werewolf before it is revealed. Although not really exciting or suspenseful, THE BEAST MUST DIE features a fine cast (including a game Charles Gray, the always professional Cushing, and the underrated Clark), a funky score by Douglas Gamley, a laughable werewolf, and feels strangely non-British despite the Shepperton Studios locations.

Eric Cotenas

***

Calvin Lockhart (A Dandy in Aspic) and Marlene Clark (Ganja & Hess) have invited a disparate group of guests, including Peter Cushing (Corruption), Michael Gambon (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover) and Charles Gray (The Legacy), to their mansion in the English countryside. He believes one of them is a werewolf… and, before the weekend is out, he’ll find out who it is! The last of Amicus’ famed horror productions, The Beast Must Die combines the country-house whodunnit with the werewolf shocker and adds a dash of blaxploitation for good measure.

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 22nd, 1974

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Dark Sky/MPI (The Amicus Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Image Entertainment (The Euroshock Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the DVD Screen Caps!

Box Cover

  

or buy directly from Indicator:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution

Dark Sky/MPI

Region 1 - NTSC

Image Entertainment
Region 0 - NTSC
Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:32:57        1:32:03 1:33:12.295 
Video

1.76:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.21 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
 

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.92 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.66:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,843,761,113 bytes

Feature: 19,745,535,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.73 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Dark Sky

Bitrate Image Ent.:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English Dolby Digital 1.0 mono

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Interviews:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Dark Sky/MPI

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.76:1

Edition Details:
•  Audio commentary by director Paul Annett moderated by Jonathan Sothcott
• DIRECTING THE BEAST featurette (4:3; 12:56)
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 0:58)
• Trailers for AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS (16:9; 0:56) and ASYLUM (16:9; 1:26)
• Poster and Stills Gallery
• Cast & Crew Filmographies

DVD Release Date: 30 October 2007
Amaray

Chapters 16  

Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• none

 

DVD Release Date: 10 April 2001
Snapper Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Indicator

 

1.66:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,843,761,113 bytes

Feature: 19,745,535,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.73 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary with director Paul Annett with writer Jonathan Sothcott (2003)
• Interview with Max J Rosenberg (2000): archival audio recording of the famed producer in conversation with Sothcott (47:00)
• The BEHP Interview with Jack Hildyard (1988): an archival audio recording, made as part of the British Entertainment History Project, featuring the Oscar-winning cinematography in conversation with Alan Lawson (92:00)
• The BEHP Interview with Peter Tanner - Part Two, 1939-1987 (1987): an archival audio recording, made as part of the British Entertainment History Project, featuring the acclaimed editor in conversation with Roy Fowler and Taffy Haines (80:00)
• Introduction by Stephen Laws (2020): appreciation by the acclaimed horror author (3:34)
• Directing the Beast (2003): archival interview with Annett (12:58)
• Super 8 version: cut-down home cinema presentation (18:36)
Image gallery: publicity and promotional material
Original theatrical trailer (0:58)
• Kim Newman and David Flint trailer commentary (2017): short critical appreciation
• Limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet with a new essay by Neil Young, an archival article on Amicus Productions, a look at the James Blish short story which inspired the film's screenplay, an extract from the pressbook profiling actor Calvin Lockhart, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits


Blu-ray Release Date:
June 29th, 2020
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 10

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Indicator Blu-ray (June 2020): Indicator have transferred Paul Annett's The Beast Must Die to 1080P Blu-ray. It is described as being from a "4K restoration". Colors support the Dark Sky DVD with a greenish tinge. The 1080P is on a single-layered disc and the higher resolution exports a significantly improved image. It is much darker and shows more information in the frame and the superiority is remarkable. More the production weaknesses - but the image can be inconsistent - looking less-effective at times interspersed with crisp sharp close-ups. I'd say this was a demonstrative upgrade from bother DVDs.

NOTE: We have added 62 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Indicator use a linear PCM mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. It is another advancement in the film's audio effects and, not always suitable 'big-band-like', score by Douglas Gamley (Madhouse, The Land That Time Forgot, The City of the Dead, Asylum, And Now the Screaming Starts) sounding authentically flat and clean. Indicator offer optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray.

The Indicator Blu-ray includes the 2003 commentary from the Dark Sky DVD with director Paul Annett and writer Jonathan Sothcott. I really liked it - great to hear Annett - an affable, intelligent and easy-going chap. I found it quite a pleasant commentary as he shares his recollection of Cushing, the cast and his first film feature. There are audio interviews that play to the film with Max J. Rosenberg for 47-minutes. This is an archival audio recording from 2000 with the famed producer in conversation with Sothcott. The next is a BEHP Interview with Jack Hildyard from 1988 running the full length of the film. It is an archival audio recording, made as part of the British Entertainment History Project, featuring the Oscar-winning cinematography in conversation with Alan Lawson. There is another BEHP Interview with Peter Tanner entitled "Part Two, 1939-1987" running 80-minutes as part of the British Entertainment History Project, featuring the acclaimed editor in conversation with Roy Fowler and Taffy Haines. We get a short, new, introduction to the film by Stephen Laws (acclaimed horror author) showing his appreciation. Directing the Beast was also on the Dark Sky 2003 DVD running 13-minutes. Indicator has included an 18-minute Super 8 version of The Beat Must Die - a cut-down home cinema presentation. There is an extensive image gallery of publicity and promotional material and an original theatrical trailer plus Kim Newman and David Flint do a trailer commentary from 2017 - also showing appreciation for The Beats Must Die. The package has a limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet (3,000 copies) with a new essay by Neil Young, an archival article on Amicus Productions, a look at the James Blish short story which inspired the film's screenplay, an extract from the pressbook profiling actor Calvin Lockhart, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits.

Paul Annett's The Beast Must Die was the last horror by Amicus. After this the studio did The Land That Time Forgot (1975), At the Earth's Core (1976) and The People That Time Forgot (1977.) The Beast Must Die is a great historical 70's artifact of the genre and studio. A cracker of a werewolf-mystery - very cool on many levels. It's a film that has greatly benefitted by transfer to Blu-ray from Indicator and the extras make it a worthwhile purchase. I consider this a keeper and it definitely gets a strong recommendation!!

Gary Tooze

While the Euroshock DVDs of AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS and ASYLUM were interlaced, the barebones disc of THE BEAST MUST DIE features a progressive transfer. While the 1.66:1 aspect ratio would seem to be more appropriate to the British film, Dark Sky's 1.76:1 anamorphic HD-mastered transfer reveals more picture information on the sides (with some still noticeable vertical cropping).

Both prints still have their faults which may be down to cheap processing. The colors look a bit more naturalistic on the Euroshock edition but the detail is better on the Dark Sky version (the Euroshock seems to have been sharpened) which ports over the audio commentary and featurette from the OOP Anchor Bay UK release. The Dark Sky disc is available separately (HERE) but the boxed set can be acquired for under $20.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


Dark Sky/MPI (The Amicus Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

 

Image Entertainment (The Euroshock Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Dark Sky/MPI (The Amicus Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Image Entertainment (The Euroshock Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Dark Sky/MPI (The Amicus Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Image Entertainment (The Euroshock Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Dark Sky/MPI (The Amicus Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Image Entertainment (The Euroshock Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Dark Sky/MPI (The Amicus Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Image Entertainment (The Euroshock Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Dark Sky/MPI (The Amicus Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Image Entertainment (The Euroshock Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Dark Sky/MPI (The Amicus Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Image Entertainment (The Euroshock Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Dark Sky/MPI (The Amicus Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Image Entertainment (The Euroshock Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Dark Sky/MPI (The Amicus Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Image Entertainment (The Euroshock Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

  

or buy directly from Indicator:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution

Dark Sky/MPI

Region 1 - NTSC

Image Entertainment
Region 0 - NTSC
Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

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Gary Tooze

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