The Beast

1975 avant-sleaze

Rating: 13/20

Plot: A rich lady travels to the mansion of the man to whom she is betrothed starts dreaming of a monster with an impressive penis.

The fact that harpsichord music plays during an almost-comical rape is just completely delightful. It's hard to know what to make about a movie like this. On the one hand, most of it is a very dry, the scenes that don't involve horse copulation, raping beasts, or women pleasuring themselves on bed frames just like any Victorian drama about aristocrats. There's a betrothal, and if you didn't already know a little about what this was about going in, you'd mistake it for a fairy tale with a little bit of sex. The actual story isn't really engaging at all, but the girls are pretty and the house is nice and every once in a while, there's a random drawing featuring bestiality for the characters and the viewers to enjoy.

Then, the beast shows up.

Yep, it's a guy in a shitty suit with an enormous and possibly comical perpetually-leaking phallus. It's either unclear or a little too obvious what this thing is supposed to represent. I think there's a part of me that is happy the titular creature is a little dopey looking. It's like director Borowczyk saw the costume; asked if that was the best they could do because after all, this is supposed to be an art film for Christ's sake; and then said, "Oh, fuck it. We'll just roll with that thing. At least the hooves look good." I mean, it's the penis that really matters anyway.

In the climactic dream sequences, the beast pursues actress Lisbeth Hummel who gradually, as she flees in the forest, loses pieces of her Victorian garb. It's kind of hot actually, and I'm sure there's some sort of beast-chasing-maidens-through-forests-while-they-gradually-get-naked fetish out there. Anyway, I probably enjoyed those. I also liked the ending even though I'm not exactly sure what message was there.

I think there's a gigantic horse penis within the first four seconds of this movie. I can't remember a giant penis making an appearance that quickly in something since my honeymoon.

This review might be poorly written, but I should probably win a Pulitzer with that last paragraph.

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