Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bad Hair Day: Beast Of The Yellow Night(1971)

During the late 1960's and early 1970's actor John Ashley teamed with director Eddie Romero to produce some very cool horror films, all filmed on location in the Phillipines, these movies all serving up generous amounts of violence, mayhem, nudity and gore. One of my favorites is Beast Of The Yellow Night, an R-Rated horror feature released to cinema in 1971.

The film's story: somewhere in the South Pacific in 1946, US Army deserter Joseph Langdon, in order to avoid starving to death, makes a deal with the Devil. Twenty-four years later Langdon's soul, permanent property of Old Scratch, inhabits the body of a man named Philip Rogers, who lies in a hospital bed, his face mangled(in an industrial accident) and just pronounced dead by the doctors. Imagine the shock to both the physicians, and Roger's wife Julia, when Rogers sits up in bed, quite alive, though, as we will see shortly, most definitely not himself. Shortly after Rogers(Langdon) leaves the hospital he begins transforming into a hideous, werewolf-like beast with a penchant for aggression and hostility towards anyone nearby. The local police struggle to figure out who is behind the killings and even after they do, trying to apprehend Rogers afters he transforms is easier said than done, the monster impervious to bullets, and going slap off on scores of the police personnel who try to stop it. The key to ending Roger's "beastly" rampage seems to lie with an old blind man befriended by Rogers, earlier in the film. (no other spoilers)

Observations: as someone who has always found "man who would be monster" storylines appealing this film definitely endears itself to me very well. The Devil is played by portly Vic Diaz, and John Ashley is good as the man who would be beast and what he looks like after transforming is definitely tha last thing you'd ever want over for Sunday brunch: fanged, hostile and possessing a werewolf-like appearance overall, the monster gets plenty of exercise killing locals and engaging the local cops. Mary Wilcox is easy on the eyes, and the makeup effects are decent. The acting is generally muted, but I think the action and gore keep things interesting. As a horror fan this one is a keeper. The Retromedia DVD of this film is very good, the film presented in 1.85:1 widescreen, and includes a trailer and an interview with John Ashley's wife, Jan. (Mr. Ashley is deceased). If you haven't seen this horror film, rent it from Netflix, or pick it up from Retromedia(

The trailer for Beast Of The Yellow Night(1971):

Here's the Retromedia DVD of this film for sale at