Dec 30, 2010
Director Jackie Kong has created several horror films in the 80s but none of them are as synonymous with the terms "horror" and "bad" as The Being is. Hearing nothing but abysmal backtalk towards the DVD release of this film, I had to admit to myself that the poster art was quite impressive so I set out to queue this film just to witness how awful The Being really is. While unanimously maligned but far from under-produced, The Being is a film of filth, as its small Idaho town, Pottsville, hopes to stamp out. A dirty, unshaven detective discovers that the nuclear dumps scattered around the United States might not be as safe as they claim when a slime-covered creature begins terrorizing the townsfolk in traditional horror fashion. The set-up of The Being might seem familiar to you and that's because the schematic was lifted from Jaws. Juggle this: A quiet detective of a small historical town discovers a danger in the community and alerts the mayor, only to incite rebellion from the codger. After several more fall victim to whatever is out there, the mayor then hires a government specialist to debunk all rumors surrounding the event.
The Being might not be strong in either the monster's regard or the gore scale. There is an impressive decapitation in a drive-thru movie theater but that's about as violent as The Being gets, but for a purpose. Later in the film, it's heavily implied, never authenticated, that "The Being" was once a young boy named Michael, whose private hang out was near the dump site. To accompany this is the excellently eerie scenes of the boy's mother, walking the streets at night calling out her lost son's name. This lucid interference of creature feature provides a depth unknown of such a monster film. But this isn't the last of the morose MILF, no, she's later "greeted" by a group of neighborhood bullies. A young boy is pressured to sneak up her door step and slap mud on her pane glass window. It's such a tragedy, The Being. We also glimpse a first person perspective as the creature slinks upstairs, glances at his troubled mother in some psycho-slumber, then it visits Michael's room to allow the camera to wave from left and right. You'll know when the Being is nearby as it leaves a radiated slug trail. Quite disgusting if you ask me. Which brings to mind, you'd think the scientists would wear gloves, at least any form of protected gear when handling this poisonous matter.
As I explained, never confirmed but quite obvious, The Being concerns the typical (when applied) scared beast - the metamorphosis from human to an unsightly condition. Of course the creature is scared and at times it shows through the thick "B" skin of Jackie Kong's debut horror lampooning environmental injustice. To announce the co-star worthy of top billing, Martin Landau plays scientist Garson Jones. Landau's commitment to the film tips the scales in favor of the craft of acting as "Rexx Coltrane", the pseudonym for William Osco, also director Jackie Kong's ex-husband, dilutes the film with his general uncleanliness. For further trivia, William Osco was convicted in 1991 of fraud with a maximum sentence of 51 years in prison. Perhaps "Mortimer Lutz" wouldn't have been such a repulsive character had he not been creeping on the attractive diner waitress or live by his lonesome in a seedy trailer. However, the fact that no evidence exists of him bathing probably would make up the better half of his unpleasantness.
The Being isn't the inane, tacky film you'd accredit it towards. Definite tongue-in-cheek humor is applied with zeal - for instance, the scene of the building condemned by the Christian community. Fear of hedonism for a massage parlor to take residence was reverberating throughout the uppity religious folks. What better way to combat sin than to advocate sin, in this case, arson. After a trio of men break in to set fire to the establishment, the ringleader finds a Playboy magazine. After ogling it for quite some time, he stashes it in his jacket. He never gets a chance to masturbate though as he is soon thereafter passed final judgment by the ravenous little boy's toxic conscious. With dashes of surrealism as indicated with Lutz's dream sequence, The Being isn't as mundane as you'd been lead to believe. While I'm not advocating the DIY horror boom and the willingness towards Karo Syrup, The Being is quite intelligent at times and is consistently entertaining. Coming from the same mold as Jaws, The Being didn't inspire my childhood as much as Jaws did (Writing quick shark attack tales laden with breasts & blood), but this film is certainly undeserving of the slander it has been subjected to since day one.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 11:55 AM
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