Thursday, June 16, 2011

#314. The Being (1983)


Directed By: Jackie Kong

Starring: Martin Landau, Marianne Gordon, Bill Osco, Josè Ferrer




Tag line: "The Ultimate Terror Has Taken Form"

Trivia:  The film was made in 1980 as EASTER SUNDAY, but sat on the shelf for 3 years before being released as THE BEING.






The Being, a 1983 horror/sci-fi film directed by Jackie Kong, gets off to a very mediocre start. 

The sound of a morning radio show fills the air as we're introduced to Pottsville, Idaho, which, by all appearances, is a typical small American town. Suddenly a narrator chimes in, and after once again telling us the name of the town (the radio host already covered this less than a minute earlier), the narrator continues: 

A small town, not much different from any other Main Street, USA, where strange and unexplained events are occurring”. 

Apparently, a young child is missing, and Pottsville is in the grips of the - and I quote - “ultimate terror”. It doesn't take a genius to realize this entire narration sequence is as uselessl as they come; it reveals nothing of value, and is an odd beginning to what would, in time, prove to be an unintentionally hilarious motion picture. 

As if the "Ultimate Terror" wasn't bad enough, a massage parlor is also coming to Pottsville, and the entire town, led by the mayor's wife (Ruth Buzzi), is trying to prevent it from ever opening its doors. Unfortunately, this moral crusade has only succeeded in drawing everyone's attention away from the real issue at hand: the dumping of nuclear waste next to the town's water supply. 

Though the dump has been declared safe by local environmental expert Garson Jones (Martin Landau), detective Mortimer Lutz (played by Bill Osco, who's credited as Rexx Coltrane) believes the toxic material might somehow be linked to the mysterious disappearances that have been plaguing Pottsville in recent days. Yet even the detective doesn't realize just how dangerous the situation has become, that is until he comes face-to-face with a mutated creature whose sole aim is the destruction of the entire town!

The Being hints at its “so bad it's good” tendencies right out of the gate. Shortly after the opening narration concludes, we cut to a young boy (Brad Ginther) running from someone (or something). Making his way to a junkyard, he hops into a car, starts it up, and hightails it out of there as quickly as he can. But just when it looks as if he's going to get away, a creature tears through the roof of the car and pulls the boy's head clean off his body. Fortunately for him (but much to the chagrin of whoever was in charge of continuity), the very next shot reveals that the boy's head has miraculously grown back, which we notice moments before the car slams into a building! 

In all fairness, though, I shouldn't single out the continuity; heads growing back are the least of this film's problems, especially when you consider the utter stupidity of its central characters. The first time we meet Garson Jones, he's on a local television news program, defending the decision to put a toxic waste dump next to the town's only supply of fresh water. After drinking some of the water himself to prove its OK, then running a Geiger counter over the pitcher to show there's no radioactivity, Mr. Jones says, “One must conclude that dumping nuclear waste does not, and will not, affect the water supply”. I half expected the editor to scroll a “Famous Last Words” graphic across the bottom of the screen as he said this (though one saying "Moron" may have been more appropriate). 

The unplanned hilarity continues as the story unfolds, culminating in the numerous appearances of the so-called “creature”, which inexplicably seems to be everywhere...all the time (if this movie is to be believed, it can travel several miles in the blink of an eye)! 

Ultimately, I did have fun watching The Being, though not for the reasons the filmmakers intended. It's an unbridled mess of a movie that gets sillier with each passing scene, and despite its solid cast (with the exception of Bill Osco, who is jaw-droppingly awful as the heroic detective Lutz), The Being has far too many goofy moments for us to take any of it seriously.







4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think I will avoid this Shock per your review, I hate quirky horror movies as this sounds.

Hey pal, I am anxiously awaiting this announcement. The thing that grabs me is that it sounds like horror movies will continue on in the vain of Planet Macabre. Wonder if we got any contests or prizes coming our way, huh?

Macabre is a blast!

Dave Becker said...

Hello, and thanks for the comment.

As stated in the review, I did enjoy THE BEING in a "so bad it's good" kinda way, but if quirky isn't your thing, then yes...definitely avoid this one!

The announcement is certainly along the lines of what you've stated here...there will be a continuation of sorts. As for contests and prizes, I wouldn't rule them out.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Mister Shock I am wondering about this announcement on Planet Macabre. Should I re-subscribe to the Podcast through Itunes?

Not to be nit picky but you have Tag line spelled wrong on all of your posts. It is Tagline, not Tag line.

Mister Klemps

Dave Becker said...

Mister Klemps: Hello, and thanks for the comment.

If you'd rather not re-subscribe to Planet Macabre, the announcement will also be posted on the website (http://www.planetmacabre.com) on Sunday morning for all to hear. Of course, you certainly could re-subscribe, but the announcement will more than likely lead you to a different course of action shortly after you hear it!

As for tagline/tag line, i do thank you for the input. I myself have seen "tagline" used in a number of instances. However, several sources, including the Oxford Dictionary (http://oxforddictionaries.com), list "tag line" as the correct usage, while others (such as dictionary.com) state both are acceptable, and can be used interchangeably.

Anyway, grammar aside, I think you'll be pleased with Sunday's announcement. I myself am very excited about it, and can't wait to get started!

Thanks again for the comment, and for listening to Planet Macabre.