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, gets off to a very weird start. Following a brief scene in which we're shown the town of Pottsville, Idaho, the sound of a morning radio show filling the air, the camera pulls back, and all at once, a narrator chimes in. After again telling us the name of the town (a guy on the radio revealed it about a minute or so earlier), the narrator says: “A small town, not much different from any other Main Street, USA, where strange and unexplained events are occurring”. He continues on a bit further, letting us know that a young child has gone missing, and that the town is in the grips of the “ultimate terror”. This entire narration sequence reveals nothing of value, and is an odd beginning for what would, in time, prove to be an unintentionally hilarious motion picture. 

A massage parlor is coming to Pottsville, and the entire town, led by the mayor's wife (Ruth Buzzi), has launched a campaign to keep it from ever opening its doors. Unfortunately, this moral crusade has only succeeded in focusing everyone's attention away from the real issue at hand: the dumping of nuclear waste very near to the 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 materials may be responsible for 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 finds himself face-to-face with a mutated creature bent on destroying the entire town. 

The Being hints at its “so bad it's good” tendencies right out of the gate. Shortly after the narration concludes, the action cuts to a young boy (Brad Ginther), who's running away from someone (or something). Finding himself in an auto junkyard, the boy hops into the nearest 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 make it, a creature tears through the roof of the car and pulls the boy's head clean off his body. Fortunately for him (and much to the dismay of whoever was in charge of the film's continuity), the boy's head miraculously grows back just before the car slams into a building! But then. errors in continuity are the least of this film's problems, especially when you consider how stupid most of the central characters are. The first time we're introduced to Garson Jones, he's on a local television news program, defending the town's decision to place a toxic waste dump so close to the 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”. Honestly, I half expected to see a “Famous Last Words” graphic blinking on the bottom of the screen as he said this! The unplanned hilarity continues as the story unfolds, culminating in the numerous appearances of the so-called “creature”, which, quite amazingly, seems to be everywhere...all the time

In the end, I did have fun watching The Being, though not for any of the reasons the filmmakers intended. It's an unbridled mess of a movie that gets sillier with each passing scene, and despite a 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.


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 ( 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 (, list "tag line" as the correct usage, while others (such as 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.