Sunday, September 6, 2015

“The Beast (aka La Bete)” Blu-Ray (director: Walerian Borowczyk)

Controversial Euro-sleaze!

This classic (and infamous) Euro-sleaze film from 1975 is given a new lease on life with this beautiful new Blu-Ray, adding plenty of bonus features, retrospective info and a crisp, clean video quality that is surprising given the age of the source material. 

Without giving too much away, “The Beast” is an adult re-telling of the “Beauty & The Beast” tale, with some shocking and very mature scenes. Where to begin? A wealthy American heiress is set to marry a reclusive French aristocrat in his crumbling castle when she discovers his past harbors a dark secret. It seems one of his ancestors was attacked in the woods nearby by a strange beast. This scene is relived through fantasy sequences as the heiress finds the sexual nature of the attack, well, titillating, herself. Things get wet and wild, with some extraordinarily explicit fantasy scenes of the woman and beast in flagrante delicto. All the while, the heiress finds ways to pleasure herself before her marriage.

The opening scenes of horses copulating are off-putting and quite disgusting, as director Borowczyk apparently really wanted to outright assault the boundaries of good taste with this film, which falls somewhere between weird horror/fantasy and porno. Despite all the revolting content here, the film is beautifully shot, with colorful visuals of the French castle and grounds. Art film? Surely. Trash film? Without argument. Watchable? Mostly. Erotic? Questionably. Unique? Most definitely. This is a film viewers will remember, undoubtably. But beware, as this one goes pretty far!