Plot: What’s it about?
After he wanders into the jungle, Joseph Langdon (John Ashley) ends up face to face with great danger and soon enough, his demise seems unavoidable. But just before his life is snuffed out like a candle, Satan himself appears to him and has a deal in the works. As the alternative is death, the man accepts and is given his second chance at life. As usual when it comes to deals with the devil however, there is a hook involved and this one is a real doozie, to be sure. While he is able to remain young, athletic, and above all else alive, Langdon is sometimes prone to odd transformations, ones that land him in volatile situations. As time passes, he often turns into a hideous, ruthless, and violent beast, one that craves human flesh and is willing to murder to obtain it, with no regard for any other issues. Can Langdon somehow manage to escape this horrific curse, or is his pact with the man downstairs irreversible?
This Eddie Romero (Ebony Ivory & Jade, Beyond Atlantis) helmed B horror movie is a welcome addition to Retromedia’s line of B horror movies, to be sure. A low budget tale of satanism, cannibalism, and sheer terror, Beast of the Yellow Night is a fun flick for drive-in fans and those who enjoy bad B movies. I’ve picked up all of Romero’s available films and have become a fan of his, so I was pleased to see this one released, as well as hopeful for others to follow. Of course, Romero had a small budget and limited resources to draw upon, so the monsters look cheap and the production values are low, but this still turns out to be a fun ride. Some of the actors ham it up and add to the laughs, while some of the plot holes also serve to improve the experience, as often happens in these low rent horror pictures. There’s also a lot of yellow in the visuals, as you’d expect from the title, of course. So Beast of the Yellow Night won’t be remembered as a classic, but it does have a lot to offer, to those of us who love B movies. So if you’re at all interested or just want to support cinema from the Philippines, give this one a look.
Video: How does it look?
Beast of the Yellow Night is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. The movie looks awful at the start, but improves after some time passes and on the whole, this is much better than expected, without a doubt. It might not be a whiz-bang restoration or the like, but the image looks stable and for a super low budget flick from 1971, you can’t expect much more than that. The print has some flecks evident, but sometimes more than others and in the end, I don’t think anyone could ask for much more, unless a full scale restoration is undertaken, which is unlikely to ever happen. The colors look muted and contrast is passable, but not sharp, so don’t expect a great image here, just an acceptable one. I know it’s rough, but you have to consider the circumstances and when do, this is a more than decent effort.
Audio: How does it sound?
A clean, not too dated audio track is what I wanted here and in the end, that’s what this disc provides. As I figured, the track offers little in terms of dynamics or depth, but that’s fine and this movie doesn’t need those elements. The music has some spots where it sounds a tad distorted, but nothing serious, so no worries there. As is the case with the sound effects, which are decent in scope, but due to the age & nature of the material, never get to shine. The dialogue is easy to understand and never harsh, so I am giving this one a passing grade on all counts, though I have tilted the scales to reflect the film’s nature & age, of course.
Supplements: What are the extras?
On this disc, you’ll find some drive-in spots, the usual Nite Owl Theater antics with Fred Olen Ray & Miss Kim, and of course, the film’s theatrical trailer. This disc also includes a wonderful twenty minute “Remembering John Ashley” featurette, as well as some still photos of Ashley to round out the extras.