Blu-ray Review: Beast of the Yellow Night (1971)

February 17, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

During World War II, a murdering, raping, shit heel of a human named Langdon (John Ashley) encounters Satan (Vic Diaz) in the woods, and pleads for his life. Ol’ Scratch spares him as long as L-dawg becomes his servant, which he does…I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? Well, Langdon becomes a pseudo-werewolf eventually, so there’s that.

Before all that mangy madness though, Langdon inhabits the bodies of various people over a quarter of a century, making them be the worst they can be to give the Devil his due. Eventually Langdon ends up in the body of a dude named Phil…who just so happens to look just like our “hero” (confused yet)? anyway, langdon has enough of Satan’s shit and try’s to enforce his own will into his existence…and that’s where the werewolf comes in as he turns willy-nilly into a mass murdering monster mutt-man. Before long Inspector de Santos (Leopoldo Salcedo) recognizes Langdon and is hot on his trail as the body count grows and grows. Will Langdon be able to find the absolution he craves?

Featuring an exotic locale (the Philippines for those keeping track at home), strong performances from Ashley (who also Co-Produced) as a tortured man fighting for his soul and to right the wrongs of his past and Diaz as a Devil that really enjoys what he does (his semi-comedic performance steals every scene he is in), and an admittedly cheap but amazingly fun monster design, Beast of the Yellow Night offers up a more complex psychological/metaphysical angle absent from most creature features of it’s ilk (with Universal’s 1941 The Wolf Man and the tormented Larry Talbot being the closest antecedent…though this film is nowhere near the cinematic gem that picture is), while still functioning as an enjoyable creature feature.

Also of note; this is a picture that came from the earliest days of Roger Corman’s  New World Pictures production label, but would be the first of many film’s Corman produced that were lensed in the Philippines and directed by Eddie Romero (who made Beast as well).

Along with the fearsome feature, VCI/MVD Entertainment have included some beastly bonus material on this Blu-ray/DVD combo release as well. First up is an entertaining, anecdote and fact filled audio commentary from Writer and Filmmaker Howard S. Berger (who also provides liner notes for the release) and Mondo Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson. After that comes the film’s theatrical trailer, TV spots, a retrospective on Ashley, and expanded interviews with the cast and crew taken from Mark Hartley’s 2010 documentary Machete Maidens Unleashed!

Featuring a higher concept than most creature features and an exotic location to boot; Beast of the Yellow Night is nothing if not unique…that coupled with it’s engaging, off-beat cast, and cool creature make it one to check out for those mad about monsters!



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