"I'm shipping 120 tons a day of the finest spuds in the coun
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 10/28/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The first thing I noticed as the opening credits rolled for The Being (1983) were the names Martin Landau (Ed Wood), José Ferrer (Cyrano de Bergerac), and Dorothy Malone (Written on the Wind) and I thought to myself, "Wow, three Oscar winning actors appearing in the same film? I certainly can't go wrong here, right?"...and then I got a look at the rest of the cast...Rexx Coltrane aka Bill Osco (Night Patrol, The Underachievers), former Mrs. Kenny Rogers Marianne Gordon (The Legend of Blood Mountain), Murray `The Unknown Comic' Langston (Skatetown, U.S.A., Night Patrol), Ruth Buzzi ("Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In", Skatetown, U.S.A.), Kent Perkins (Night Patrol, Breeders), and Kinky Friedman, whose song "Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed" earned him the title of `Male Chauvinist Pig of the Year' in 1974, from the group NOW...this doesn't look good...oh, and look, Jackie Kong (Night Patrol, The Underachievers, Blood Diner) is credited as not only the director, but also the writer. I guess it helps to get gigs like this when the producer is your husband and star (Rexx Coltrane aka Bill Osco), and also a member of the family that owns the national chain of Osco Drug stores (cha-ching!).
As the movie begins we find ourselves in the sleepy town of Pottsville, Idaho, better known as Spudtown U.S.A. A voice over comes up and tells us there's been a series strange and unexplained events recently, right around the time the gooberment started dumping toxic waste just outside of town...hmmm, I'd think if your town's primary industry was centered around growing things, the last thing you'd want is a toxic waste dump in the area, but then again, if movies have taught me anything, it's that radioactive material has the effect of `embiggening' things, so maybe it's for the best. Anyway, now we're at the toxic dump, and we see a kid running for his life. He jumps into a car and speeds away, but wait, there's something on the car...claws tear through the roof, pop goes the weasel (by weasel I mean his head), and the car crashes. Police arrive on the scene, including Detective Morty Lutz (Coltrane), but guess what? There's no body, no head, only a lot of green goo. Next we see someone named Garson Jones (Landau) on the television, a gooberment chemist and proponent of toxic waste, claiming there are no environmental hazards involved with the dumping of radioactive materials nearby (I'm betting that will come back to bite him in the behind later). There's some antics at the drive-in, some more missing people, a bizarre and pointless dream sequence, Lutz hits on waitress named Laurie (Gordon) at the local diner, along with sharing his concerns about recent events with Mayor Lane (Ferrer), who happens to think Lutz is a nut and fears how all this crazy talk will affect the sales of potatoes. After a series of more seemingly meaningless events, Jones and Lutz eventually make a stand against the monster (or monsters) in a local chemical warehouse.
All in all The Being is a pretty rotten film, borrowed heavily from others movies (Alien, for one), but it did have some bright spots. My favorite sequence was the Easter Sunday egg hunt. Colored eggs were hidden around the outside of the local church for the children to find, and a special prize was offered the child who found the large egg with a picture of the Easter Bunny. As the children scurried about, a little toddler walks off, comes across a suspicious hole containing one of the creatures (nothing happens), along with finding the large egg. The Mayor's wife finds the wee girl, and makes the announcement that the prize egg has been found, to which you hear one of the young boys off screen disappointedly remark "Ohhh Sh#t". I dunno why, but this really made me laugh. The good news is Buzzi's character gets it later on in story, the bad news is her much warranted death by grievous mutilation isn't shown. We don't see much of the creature throughout the film (it loved hiding in backseats and trunks of cars for some reason), until the very end when its displayed more prominently, looking much like a ten pounds of bloody meat with dripping, razor teeth, one wiggling eyeball, and a twenty foot long grasping tongue stuffed into a five pound garbage bag. Another really funny sequence was near the end as Landau's character is attacked by the creature, the effect involving a crewmember off screen tossing a rubber replica onto Landau, Landau catching it, and then rolling around on the floor pretending to wrestle it...oh bruther...one thing that really annoyed me was about this film was choppy pacing, stemming from series of relatively random occurrences, strung together by a threadbare story. This was the same, exact formula used in Kong's next film, Night Patrol (1984), and it worked okay there as that was a silly comedy, but here it failed miserably as it never provided any real basis for events or the characters so they all came off as two dimensional constructs. The scripting is pretty lousy, there's an overabundance of pointless characters (Dorothy Malone's, in particular), and generally poor acting. Coltrane should not have been the star, as he had not the skills to carry the film (in my opinion), but, I guess when you're the producer, you can do whatever the hell you want...as I mentioned earlier, this film borrowed heavily from other films, particularly Alien (1979). The creature, along with various aspects of the story, seemed somewhat fashioned after the one in that film (bulbous head, razor teeth dripping with saliva, prehensile tongue, giant claws, gooey slime, chest burst sequence, a cat, etc.), only here they obviously had a lot less money for effects. Given this was a low budget, independent feature I wouldn't have minded the shoddy, derivative effects at all had the story been stronger and more focused. You could pour all the money in the world into a film and it will still come off like swill without a strong backbone, a prime example of this being just about any of Roland Emmerich's movies (I did like Stargate, though). This is a two star movie, but I'm going to give it three because I always get a kick out of seeing Martin Landau...he didn't do himself any favors appearing in this film, but he did make me smile, especially when he was trying to convince residents how there was more danger in their kitchen appliances than in toxic waste.
Media Blasters/Shriek Show provides a decent anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) picture on this DVD, one that does exhibit flaws throughout. The print used doesn't seem to have aged all that well, but it is relatively clean. The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio does come through clear enough. In terms of extras, there's a promotional trailer for the movie, along with production stills, and trailers for other DVD releases like Anthropophagus (2002), Just Before Dawn (1981), and Devil Dog (1978). There are also previews for Fangoria International DVD releases including Rojo Sangre (2004), Plaga Zombie Zona Mutante (2001), Choking Hazard (2004), and Hiruko (1990). I may not have enjoyed this film as much as I would have liked, but I do appreciate this smaller companies releasing material onto DVD that would otherwise be lost.
By the way, see if you can spot the leader singer of a famous 60s British Invasion band, whose hits include "Glad All Over", "Catch Us If You Can", and "I Like It Like That", as a customer in the diner. "
A schlocky good time!!!
Brian | Chicago, Illinois | 09/18/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This, believe it or not, is one of the very earliest exposures I had to horror movies. It's not a big budget blockbuster, nor is it the type of movie that tries to be anything more than what it is. "The Being," simply put, is an old school 1950's style creature feature made with early 1980's sensibilities. Want some decapitations and an assorted array of dismembered body parts? Wanna' see a gaggle of washed up actors chew some scenery? Well settle in, buckaroos, because you'll find all that and more in this groovy little production!
We start things off in the sleepy town of Pottsville, Idaho. A gruesomely evil creature with lots of sharp teeth is lurking around the town's disposal dump, driven mad by toxic waste, and picking off wary residents left and right. The mayor turns a blind eye to all this, and it soon falls upon the dynamic duo of Sheriff Rexx Coltrane, and resident scientist, the legendary Martin Landau, to kill the nasty critter.
I have waited years for this nifty little gem to hit DVD. It's a guilty pleasure for me, if nothing else. And, if you're not all that demanding, you may find something to enjoy with it too. Of course, it helps matters more if you happen to savor affectionately made B-movies like this. So, be forewarned. "Gone With The Wind" this ain't. Just grab yourself some popcorn, sit back, and put your brain on hold!"
"being"so bad it's good
John D. Page | usa | 03/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"i have to be fair this is really a fun movie to me. it's cheesey, and just bad, but i think it's the funniest movie i have seen in a while. martin landau still years away from oscar gold in "ed wood" must have really needed a job to even be seen in this one, and i'm sure he really loves the fact that thanks to dvd we can see the movie in all it's cleaned up widescreen glory. oh kay here we go , the town of pottisville, idaho has been having some problems of late. it seems like after the toxic nuclear waste dump came to town strange things have been happening like, people go missing, it rains a lot, thunders a lot, a women runs around in her robe calling for "mike" or something like that,ruth buzzi becomes the mayors wife, a porn shop maybe opening up on main street, kenny rogers wife works at a dinner, the cheif of police is so bad an actor that they have to have james keach the brother of stacy, husband of "dr. quinn", and producer of "walk the line" dub his lines, and, well you get the idea, things are bad. WOW, now you know as much as i did when i saw it we think, but don't know, that mike or what ever his name is, is now our monster, maybe.?? really thats about it but for some reason i find this movie so very funny that i'm laughing as i type this review. nothing about this film is good, but it is funny because of that. everyone acts like they think this might really be good. well you have been warned, but if you give it a chance, in the right frame of mind this is a very funny horror movie, just have fun with it."
Really 3.5 stars
PETER VINCENT | NEW YORK, | 09/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"this movie started okay, but tends to drag through the middle then picked up towards the end. this movie was good but the media blasters dvd seemed a bit rushed the picture was a bit grainy and dark.the sound was okay it could have used 5.1 or at least stereo mix. the movie f/x were alright however the creature at some points in the film looked like a sleeping bag, but what do you expect it was on a low budget. (at least as far as the creature was concern.) as far as low budget toxic monster movies go this one was really enjoyable."
Fantastic B-Horror with Martin Landau!!
CalgaryAlphan | 01/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Being is not a great movie. It's not even a really good movie. But as an absolutely enjoyable, laugh-aloud funny, cheesy B-level horror movie, this is possibly unbeatable!! Martin Landau is at his scenery-chewing best and gets to explain to viewers (as a government-hired expert on such things) how dumping radioactive waste into the local town water supply has no harmful effects (!!!) There are scenes which need to be watched repeatedly to get the full value of the humour out of them. If you enjoy other such movies in the B-grade (or Z-grade) horror category, and enjoy a laugh, then this is Very Highly Recommended!!
Also for fans of Martin Landau horror flicks, check out; Alone In The Dark, The Fall of The House of Usher, The Return, and Without Warning."