The Beast (1996)

beast-1996-movie-poster-peter-benchley-review
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 5/10

So-bad-it-is-good

B-Movie fodder

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Beast

Studio:  Dan Wingutow Productions

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  April 28, 1996

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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Oh no! A rubber tentacle has me!!!

A monster has set-up shop in Grave’s Point.  The giant squid is a monster of myth and now one is hunting the coast of the small resort town.  As fisherman Whip Dalton (William Petersen) tries to keep people off the water, the harbor master and owner of most of the land Schuyler Graves (Charles Martin Smith) is trying to work a deal to open a resort.  With a scientist named Dr. Herbert Talley (Ronald Guttman) and a coast guard named Lt. Kathryn Marcus (Karen Sillas), Whip sets out to destroy the beast before it kills again.

Directed by Jeff Bleckner, The Beast was based on the Peter Benchley 1991 novel Beast.  The made-for-TV movie first aired on April 28, 1996 and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries or a Special.  It was originally aired in two parts as a miniseries but was cut down for DVD release.

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A Blue-Screen explosion is threatening to kill me!

I read Beast when it was released in 1991 and was excited about the prospects of a movie version of it.  I watched the mini-series when it aired and found it to be almost a completely different story than the book I had read (which when I reread in reality wasn’t very good).

The current DVD really hacks up the original movie, but in reality the story was already neutered.  The book (set in Bahamas) was more like Jaws in feeling and flow.  The overly long movie barely seems cut up which says how much dead weight it already possessed.  Even edited, you have to wait until about an hour into the movie to have it get going…and that just means more rubbers tentacles.

The cast is ok for what it is.  William Petersen was relatively unknown and small time when he made this despite starring in the “first” Hannibal Lecter film Manhunter but went on to more fame with CSI:  Crime Scene Investigation.  When the movie touts L.A. Law, Darkman, and Dr. Giggles alum Larry Drake as a “star” you probably are already in trouble.

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Yum…flaming boat!

The star (or ruining) of The Beast is of course “the Beast”.  The squid is pretty weak and goofy most of the time and it often involves a giant tentacle knocking a person into the ocean or squeezing them to death.  Some of the full shots of the creature are computer generation and others are models…either way, it isn’t very terrifying.

The Beast is a pretty ho-hum film that is just a slight step above something like Sharknado.  The full length special probably isn’t necessary and the hack-job is enough giant-squid for your enjoyment.  Benchley was a real force in the mid-’70s but really fell out in the ’90s…this still makes Creature (which adapted White Shark) look good.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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