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John’s Horror Corner: The Being (1983), a passable mutant monster creature feature for B-movie fans.

November 15, 2016

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MY CALL: 
This monster movie is nothing special at all outside of providing a less mainstream B-movie to entertain horror fans.  The effects are more entertaining than good, but unlike the acting and writing, the effects clearly put forth a solid effort. MORE MOVIES LIKE The Being:  This movie is similar to but not as good as Xtro (1983), Without Warning (1980), Blue Monkey (1987), The Kindred (1987), The Nest (1988), Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor (1990), The Deadly Spawn (1983) and Humanoids from the Deep (1980).  I’d recommend you see all of these before attempting The Being.

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Written and directed by first-time filmmaker Jackie Kong (Blood Diner), this film opens uninventively with a narration of the most basic exposition—locals are missing, strange things are happening, and “the ultimate terror has taken form” right there in Pottsville, Idaho.  We are “told” these three things.

The creature effects swing into action early, which is always a good thing when dealing with B movies since the creature effects are really the only reason we’re here—and I can gladly say the effects are satisfying even if truly nothing special.  They include gross slimy monster limbs, gory on-screen decapitation, an out-of-focus monster attacking an in-focus naked woman, the old ripping the heart out of the chest gag, a prehensile frog-like tongue, and loads of green slime and gelatinous sludge.

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Propagandist scientist Dr. Garson Jones (Martin Landau; Without Warning, Ed Wood) addresses the public regarding the safety of dumping nuclear waste into drinking water sources.

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Because what harm is a little toxic waste?
I guess this movie is telling us!

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At first things don’t totally make sense.  For example, during a gratuitous sex scene in a car green sludge oozes through the AC vents and radio as our Casanova rounds third base.  Then, all of a sudden, a skeletal slimy sludge hand reaches up and attacks the young lovers—so the thing must have formed right there in the car!  But wait…did the monster liquefy then reform?  We never find out!  Speaking of slimy monster arms, that is all we see until we find a slimy mutant monster fetus and a throwback creature to the Husky lump in The Thing (1981).

When our protagonist meets our monster and tries to warn Mayor Gordon (José Ferrer; Dune, The Sentinel, The Swarm), he could care less.  His only concern is the town’s revenue stream of potato exports.  The mayor actually hires Dr. Jones to look into things and keep the situation quiet.  This all highlights some of the dumber aspects of the movie, among some other probably unintentionally silly scenes poorly held together by wooden acting and some incredibly lazy dialogue.  These actors couldn’t be troubled to care about delivering a single line.  But hey, it’s a fun B-movie.  What did you expect, right?  I mean, whenever the monster leaps towards someone, it seems a production assistant just throws a monster dummy across the camera and onto the victim.  There’s even a low-speed chase scene and a needless car explosion.

It’s not until the finale that we get to see something awesome.  The somehwat full-body creature is a sloppy, gory mess of teeth.  We actually just see its head and an arm.  But the head is pretty cool. Not creative at all, but fun to watch.

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And that’s what this movie is.  It’s “fun to watch” and nothing else.  There’s nothing to brag in terms of interesting effects or story and the death scenes are uninspired.  But this bad movie is a good bad (i.e., so bad it’s good).  The fight between our hero and the toxic mutant is about as bad as it gets—and I giggled throughout.  If you enjoy B horror movies, you probably will, too.

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