The Beast (1975, Walerian Borowczyk)

How come whenever a speaking actor’s back is turned, the filmmaker thinks they can add a dubbed line and we won’t notice?

One of those DVDs I used to excitedly pick up at Tower Records and walk around with for an hour before deciding that it might not be worth $27 after all. Another was La Belle Noiseuse, which turned out to be decidedly worth $27. This one wasn’t even worth the time spent watching it.

As a former animator turned live-action director, Walerian joins (and sullies) the proud ranks of Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, David Lynch, Jan Svankmajer, Frank Tashlin, the Bros. Quay, Emily Hubley and possibly Brad Bird and Andrew Stanton. I noticed all the snails in this movie and remembered his snail-porn animated short Escargot de Venus from the same year.

The movie opens with close-ups of horse sex, so I knew it wasn’t going to be elegant, despite its fancy trappings. A rich girl and her aunt head for the French countryside to see about marrying the girl to the French family’s son. But the story is just an excuse for the massive rape scene between “the beast” and some lucky girl.

I don’t know or care which characters were which, but two of the actresses were Sirpa Lane (of unrelated film The Beast In Space) and Elisabeth Kaza (of Castle Freak).

Can’t say it was the worst movie in the world because I kinda liked the harpsichord music.

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