The Being (1983)

Pottsville, Idaho has some problems. A massage parlor is coming to town and the local conservatives are going insane battling it. And oh yeah — children are disappearing and people are being horribly murdered. Oh boy, 1983 was a magical time to be alive, because this movie may have seemed stupid to critics when it came out way back when, but I loved every single minute of this.

Much like Jaws, the authorities — including Mayor Lane (José Ferrer, The Sentinel) are covering everything up so that they don’t damage the town’s potato crop. That said, he hired chemical safety engineer Garcon Jones (what an amazing sentence that was to write), who is played by the always dependable Martin Landau. Detective Lutz is also on the case, played by Rexx Coltrane, who is in fact exploitation producer Bill Osco. Osco produced this film, as well as plenty of more adult titles like Flesh Gordon and Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy. He also worked with Jackie Kong, who directed The Being, to bring Night Patrol to the screen.

Toss in Kenny Rogers’ wife (at the time) as a love interest and a mutant who is totally influenced by Alien and we’ve got ourselves a movie. This also curiously takes place during Easter, which has nothing to do with anything at all, other than inspiring its original title, Easter Sunday.

It turns out that the mutant has been exposed to radioactive materials in one of the town’s dumps. And luckily, the mutant is light sensitive, so it only attacks at night. Will Martin Landau and the film’s producer be able to stop it in time? Also, don’t you want to see this even more when I tell you that Ruth Buzzi is in it? Or that in addition to Ferrer, this film has another Oscar winner in the cast, Dorothy Malone? What if I told you that Murray Langston, the Unknown Comic himself, was in it? Or that at the end of the movie, we get to learn what happened to every character after the film with title cards and then get to see every major character with a super of who played them (and anyone who has died, we get to see them die all over again)? For these reasons and so many more — like a creature that has one eye and hundreds of teeth, this movie is a must see.

You can watch it yourself on Amazon Prime Video. It’s free with your membership. You can now thrill to my favorite scene in the film, where a cat scares the hero so much that Martin Landau has a laughing fit.

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