The Being (1983) An homage to 50s-era sci-fi features that doesn't adjust budget for inflation.

Theme Song: Violins and a little synth by Don Preston.

Interesting Dated References: Monster movies with socio-political overtones; Monster movies that only ever show pieces of the monster; 82 minutes being an acceptable running time for a movie.

Best Line: None

Social Context: They didn’t have terrible words like “throwback” in the early 80s. I’m not even sure they had words like “retro.” I think they just said, “homage,” so I’m going to go with that: The Being is an homage to 50s-era sci-fi features, which usually centered around radiation and some type of alien/monster. Director Jackie Kong (Night Patrol, Blood Diner) must have taken that homage literally and, without even adjusting for inflation, decided to keep her budget on par with those movies from the 50s.

Summary: So it’s dark out, and there’s a thing crawling around, and it gets into the car of a rowdy teen. Then it’s even darker, and maybe the teens gets decapitated, but when the police show up to investigate, the car is empty.

Later in the dark, some police officers investigate the empty vehicle at the impound lot while the crawling-around alien-thing goes into the car of another teen, who then goes to the poorly-lit drive-in.

While at the drive-in, the teen and some other people are killed. The scene, aside from being poorly lit, is done well, as the action on the drive-in screen loosely syncs up with the killing going on inside the dark cars.

It’s dark some more, and there’s muffled dialog about a nuclear waste dump next to a million-dollar potato company. Veteran schlock producer Bill Osco (Cop Killer, Gross Out, Flesh Gordon) plays Detective Lutz, who along with scientist Garson Jones (Martin Landau RIP, B*A*P*S) discover that The Being is some type of mutant toxic waste zombie that only comes out at night in the dark.

It’s all part of a larger conspiracy involving a money-hungry mayor who has a vested interest in the potato company and wants to spread his potatoes all over the country. They blow up The Being in an explosion and everyone is happy, or maybe The Being is hacked to pieces, I can’t remember. The closing shot is The Being’s hand rising out of the rubble. This movie falls into that “campy” category that people seem to like, so if you’re into that, check it out.

Worth Mentioning:
– As the scene at the drive-in begins, you can see a poster for Silent Scream at the entrance.

– This movie might be slightly more enjoyable on DVD if it’s restored. This Beta is just too dark to get much out of it.

– Other notable actors in The Being who need a mention: Ruth Buzzi, Jose Ferrer, and Kinky Friedman

Poster and Box Art: The poster and the Thorn/EMI clamshell show more of The Being than you ever see in the movie.

Availability: DVD on Amazon.

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