Radiation’s Progeny – The Being (1983)

A small town in Idaho that relies on its potato farmers as their main source of industry, is having doubt thrown onto the safety of their drinking water due to nuclear waste being dumped in the local aquifer all the while that a monster is going around and killing everybody. Are the two related? It is quite possible as the creature is more than likely the son of old lady Smith and who has been irradiated into one incredibly hideous monster that leaves behind a ton of green slime after each murder. After numerous people go missing and the undeniable fact that something has to be done, it is all up to Detective Lutz to put a stop to it.

Contrary to popular opinion, if one can overlook a lot of the cheese present within, The Being turns out to be a fairly enjoyable monster movie. The creature itself is hardly ever seen, only alluded to until the final act and that was a good thing as the budget did not seem to support anything overly complex when it came to the practical effects and when it is finally shown, it looks both slightly hideous and partly ridiculous. Suffice it to say, it was a wise choice to let the creature be a horror that was heard and not seen for the majority of the film, leaving it up to the imaginations of the audience to build that fright up in their own minds. When it came to those who had to act around the monster though, they would not fair so well as some simply phoned it in while others, namely Bill Osco, billed as Rexx Coltrane, were simply not that good.

Aside from the aforementioned Osco, the film also starred Martin Landau who was okay as the shady scientist hired by the mayor as played by José Ferrer to debunk any rumours of radiation and monsters. Marianne Gordon would play the damsel in distress, not really adding much to the film other than being a female presence and finally, Dorothy Malone who seemed far too convincing as the tired, worn-out mother of what director Jackie Kong intimates is the creature. While the story itself was pretty standard fare and the premise solid, the script was not all that good and not as electric as the cast would have hoped as they themselves seemed unimpressed with their performances.

What makes this film even more strange is the fact that it cannot decide on what threat that faces the town is the more important one. Is it the possibly irradiated water or the monster or the not proven, but just rumoured massage parlour that might be moving into town and the threat or pornography on its citizens? It is a hodge-podge of ideas, the least of which are the threats that Professor Harold Hill discovered in River City all those years ago, storylines that should not have been in this picture given everything else that was going on.

The Being is mindless fun when it comes down to it – a mishmash of good and bad acting and poor effects with just enough meat on the bones to make for a good time.

2.5 out of 5

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