Thursday, 20 November 2014

Euro - Horror Vaction: The Beast (aka La Bete) (1975)

The Beast (aka La Bete) (1975)
Director: Walerian Borowczyk
Starring: Sirpa Lane, Lisbeth Hummel, and Elisabeth Kaza
Running Time: 93 min

  I found this near the top of a list of french horror movies.  I've never heard of it or of the director but this isn't the first time, I've seen a film without having any idea what it's about or who's in it.  Looks like a werewolf flick, but we'll see.

  Obvious horse breeder & down on his luck aristocrat, Pierre de l'esperance has one last chance to sustain his lifestyle and his social standing.  His wealthy friend, Philip Broadhurst has died and has decreed in his will that his daughter Lucy must marry Pierre's son, Mathurin.  However, the ceremony must be performed Cardinal Joseph De Balto, the brother of his uncle, Duc Rammendelo De Balo, who is crippled and also lives in the chateau with them.
  Seeing that he has only six months to do this, he decides to do it right away and contacts Lucy and invites her and her Aunt over right away.  Also, Mathurin has never been baptized for some mysterious reason, so Pierre gets on the horn and calls for the local priest to come over and do it right away.  He blackmails his uncle Rammendelo with the murder of his wife into calling his brother and asking him to come over and officiate the ceremony, but Rammendelo tries to tell Pierre that it will be impossible because the Cardinal is not on speaking terms with the family.  Pierre reminds him again about the blackmail and Rammendelo continues to try.  Pierre, then calls for Mathurin in from the horses to let him know what is going on.
  The dim Mathurin is excited for the wedding but feels Lucy may find him too grotesque to love, but Pierre reassures him that he's not that ugly.  The Priest arrives with his two teenage choirboys and is ready to perform the baptismal ceremony.  However, Pierre insists on baptizing Mathurin and he wants the Priest just wait outside the room.  He bribes the priest into this with a promise of a hefty donation to the church and a new church bell, if he says that he baptized Mathurin and of course the priest agrees to the terms.
  Meanwhile, Lucy Broadhurst and her Aunt have arrived at the chateau and Lucy like everyone else in this movie seems fascinated with the horses having sex.  She takes some Polaroids and goes into the house.  They are told by Rammendelo that Pierre is bathing Mathurin, which throws some red flags up for the Aunt but Lucy seems to be okay with it and suggests to her Aunt that they should do the same.  Lucy asks about the stories about the chateau being haunted and Rammendelo explains that there was an ancestor, Romilda de l'esperance, who was attacked by something in the woods a long time ago and all they found left of her was her torn corset.  He then shows her a book with some pictures of "beasts" having sex with ladies.  Eventually, Pierre joins them and they are brought to their rooms.  Lucy rests on the bed, pulls out her horse pictures and starts to pleasure herself until she is interrupted by a knock on the door.  She answers the door and receives an invitation to supper by Mathurin in note form.  They have supper and everything seems to be working out great and then it's off to bed.  However, Lucy starts to dream  about being chased in the woods by a werewolf/beast creature, who wanted to have sex with her.  Will there be any point to this erotic tale of terror or is it just one depraved scene after another?

  WTF did I just watch! I didn't realize that this was an erotic fantasy horror film and it had an X rating.  Like most erotic films with an X rating the plot is weak and it seems to come secondary to the sex scenes. There are times that Borowczyk takes a knock at the lazy rich and affluent and touches on taboos with a pedophile priest and the ability on how easily it can be to buy the church but these themes are short lived and are pushed a little too far at times.  This film doesn't have any real direction and I think the sole purpose of it was to show a werewolf creature having sex with woman.
  The werewolf creature does look great, by the way and the make-up team really must have a hell of a him with it.  Also, they must have had vats of that fake semen because at the end there is enough of that shit to repopulate France if needed.

  My biggest problem with this film, outside of the fact that it's pretty dull and doesn't really go anywhere, is that there are scenes with children and young adults.  There aren't any kids having sex but they're in the vicinity.  Like when Pierre's daughter, Clarisse gets two children to be in the wedding party, she has them locked in the closet, while she the butler have sex.  That's kind of gross.  Also, the teenagers playing the choirboys are kissed and touched by the priest and these scenes leaves you with an uncomfortable feeling at the end.
  Also, the scenes from the beginning was like watching a porno for horses.  Way too much information about horse sex, I think I may be expert now.  Some images, you just can't erase.

   I don't know if I would recommended this as a horror film or anything else, unless you really want to see a werewolf creature being satisfied in every which way by a woman.  Again, the story is really weak, the acting is poor and worst of all,  there isn't anything really scary here, expect for the gallons of fake werewolf semen being sprayed out of werewolf cock.    This is a bizarre erotic fantasy film and it isn't what I'm looking for when I'm looking for horror.


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