Film Review: THE BEING (1983)

THE BEING *** USA 1983 Dir: Jackie Kong 82 mins

An undemanding but very likable Corman-esque monster movie from the ex-porn filmmaker who later made the sublime BLOOD DINER, this unfolds at Easter in a small storm-laden Idaho town, where the “ultimate terror” promised by a peculiarly used voiceover artist turns out to be a toothy, slimy, cyclopic mutant spawned from Nuclear waste dumped in the water supply. Martin Landau is the human bad guy, emphasising on TV how safe his facility is while motorists get their heads ripped off and local cops blame Mexicans.
A witty, eccentric breeze through similar territory to that of C.H.U.D. and HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP, this has fun with its dripping, gnashing, old-school monster but also keeps getting distracted by offbeat asides, including a surrealistic black and white nightmare interlude. Future Oscar winner Landau wrestles gamely with the creature’s tentacles and reacts like a hysterical girl to the film’s naff cat scare, while the standard disbelieving mayor character (Jose Ferrer) oversees the local “Committee To Sweep Out Smut”. Upon finding the creature in his garage, Ferrer decides the best option is to drive away and let his (annoying) wife deal with it.  It’s all played nicely deadpan despite the script’s tongue in cheek attitude, and there are very funny set pieces at an Easter Egg hunt and a drive-in (where two stoned patrons mistake the monster for a publicity stunt). Rexx Coltrane makes for an amusingly non-plussed protagonists: he doesn’t even flinch when his foot is impaled.

Review by Steven West

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