The Being (1983) Movie Review
Written By: Angela DiLella
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Jackie Kong
Producer: Bill Osco
Writer: Jackie Kong
Date Released: November 4, 1983
Martin Landeau as Garson Jones
Marianne Gordon as Laurie
Bill Osco as Detective Mortimer Lutz
Jose Ferrer as Mayor Gordon Lane
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Toxic chemicals dumped in the local lake mutate a creature that is hungry for the locals of nearby Pottsville, Idaho.
There is a fair bit of gore in this movie, and although some of it looks a little cheap, clever cuts and camera tricks often result in very realistic-looking injuries, some of which I still can’t figure out! Creature effects of the Being in the climax of the movie are genuinely gruesome.
The Grave Review
This story is straightforward: a mutated creature terrorizes a town as the owners of the local plant that’s dumping the mutating waste in first place assures everyone in the area that there’s nothing to worry about. In fact, that narrative outlasts the Being itself. Although eco-horrors crop up fairly regularly these days as the public becomes more and more aware of climate change and the effects of pollution, I would hazard that The Being was one of the earliest if not the first English-language movies to take on the idea with a serious intent behind it. These ideas are communicated clearly and concisely and balances that idea with the actual horror elements of a story about a big, gruesome monster that’s killing people well without encroaching on the entertainment.
Outside of Martin Landeau, who always delivers, the cast is somewhat generic: nobody else really catches too much attention with unbelievable performances, positive or negative, with a just handful of some tertiary characters that can’t fake hysterics. The majority of the cast can deliver when called on. Although not the best member of the cast, I always pay attention to child actors, and a toddler who has a close brush with the Being actually does a pretty good job for a child that young. The scene is tense in the best way—not because you’re desperately hoping the kid will get eaten to quiet them down, but because you need to see how the scene plays out.
The Being turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Although it looks cheaply made at times, it has a gritty feel that is a bit charming in its way, in the vein of something like The Evil Dead (1981) or The Stuff (1985). Some of the best effects are the creature effects: though the Being looks a bit silly in the few full-body shots it has and in one tracking shot, it looks fantastic in close-ups, whether they’re on its face or its creeping claws. Shots are also carefully composed to cover for any weaknesses in design or budget. When you finally get to see the Being dead-on, it is just as effective as any other big-budget monster, if not more so—he is nauseating to look at! Although the movie meanders at times, the Being rarely disappoints when it is sating its bloodlust. A standout scene sees the Being disposing of a couple at a drive-in skin flick/monster movie, not to mention the nerve-wracking climax. The Being, both the movie and the monster itself, may not be as well-known as the heavy horror hitters of the era, but I found it a hidden gem that deserves more attention that it seems to get.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Being (1983) three graves out of five graves.
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