Tagline: The Ultimate Terror has Taken Form…

Year: 1983 Runtime: 82 min

Director: Jackie Kong

Writer: Jackie Kong

Starring: Martin Landau, Marianne Gordon, Bill Osco

The 50’s might have loved the atom, particularly splitting it to use for energy, but by the 80’s popular opinion had taken a decidedly oppositional turn. The Being is one of the many nuclear-waste-is-mutating-us-into-monsters movies.

The story goes like this:

Pottsville, Idaho is a small town. Much like any small town across these United States. The exception is they’ve got a metric manure-ton of potatoes and the population are all retarded mongoloids. This is most likely not their fault because the town is home to a nuclear chemical dump site that pumps directly into the town’s aquifer. The waste dump is directly adjacent to a junk yard, the town’s air field, and finally a cyanide and sulfuric acid factory.

Hmmm…

Now that I think about it, maybe Pottsville is getting exactly what it deserves. The nuclear chemical dump site is a joke, despite the mayor calling it, “The most sophisticated dump site in the country.” What does such a refined establishment look like? There are 50 gallon drums strewn about willy-nilly. The facility, if you can call a couple metal shacks a facility, are protected by a chain fence which is locked down with a chain that almost keeps the gates closed. Having secured the grounds so thoroughly, no one is on duty patrolling the site. Ever. Oh, and did I mention that the dump leaks directly into the town’s aquifer?

But don’t worry, Dr. Martin Landau, Idaho’s State Scientist, says it’s a-OK.

Recently there have been a rash of missing persons which has the authorities baffled. Considering the authority leading up the case, opening a can of already opened sardines is an insurmountable mental effort, but more on him later. We, the audience, know the missing persons are victims of the mutant monster.

It’s never fully explained, or explained at all actually, what created the monster, but the scuttlebutt is, according to the suppository of all worldly cinematic knowledge, IMDb, a local boy was mutated into The Being. There is Marge, the crazy lady running around in her nightgown looking for her son Michael, whom I believe to be the movie’s attempt to explain the origin of The Being, but without the Cliff Notes I wouldn’t have worked that out. Then again, my IQ dropped twenty points while viewing The Being, leaving me with, at best, 50 to work with, so that might account for my not “getting” the subtler points.

The Being has some interesting powers. It’s a cyclops. I’m not sure if that should be considered a power or not, but it is what it is. It is super strong, i.e. can punch through a car’s roof and still rip off a person’s heads with ease. It can tunnel faster than Bugs Bunny, and always makes the left turn at Albuquerque. It has off-screen teleportation, which means when it’s not in front of the camera it can be anywhere—a fairly standard movie monster power. It can instantaneously dissolve/eat it’s victims. When it’s dead it explodes. I think the detonation has something to do with dismembering it, but I’ll need to research this further to be sure.

The Being’s molecular structure breaks down in the light. I think this is supposed to be a weakness, but they never exploit it. There is one scene where it’s trapped in a walk-in freezer and the light is on. This turns it into a puddle, allowing it to escape. And, seeing as how it can turn itself into jelly, maybe it’s less of a weakness and more of a strength. I’ll leave it to you to decide which column that ability belongs in ‘cos thinking about it make my brain hurts.

On the weakness side, it is susceptible to sulfuric acid and being cut into pieces with an axe. This is excellent because detective Mortimer Lutz, our hero, stumbles into both at the critical moment.

Speaking of Lutz, although he is the protagonist, he is the worst of the window-lickers on the short bus.   When it gets to the final boss scene at the nuclear dump/cyanide factory, Lutz’s plan is to turn on several cyanide canisters, that are face level, while he’s gasping for air from all the running around, and then he puts on his gas mask. He proceeds to turn on more canisters, all while in a closed area, sporting a huge open wound on his upper thigh. Sigh.

Even rocket surgeons know Lutz would be dead.

After evading the monster for a few minutes, it pulls his gas mask off, beats him up, and throws him into a rack of sulfuric acid. Some of the containers drop to the floor and break open, releasing clouds of toxic vapor all around him—to go with the already toxic cyanide. Yet Lutz manages to breathe with only a slight cough while hacking the creature to bits.  With The Being finally dead, Lutz climbs up a chain, several stories, through the poisonous air, to the skylight. He breaks out a pane and climbs to freedom. Yippee!

I suppose it’s a good thing Lutz wasn’t the one who mutated. He would have been invincible.

roadside attractions

  • Learn youself some country metaphors like “sneaking up on us like a hongry hound dog on a T-bone steak”!
  • Marvel at the space available in late 70’s early 80’s cars—enough to fully stretch out for lurvin’ at the drive-in!
  • Wonder at why Martin Landau is in this film! (Money for “the hootch?”)
  • Muse on to how three people (Bill Osco, Rexx Coltrane and Johnny Commander) are credited for one part—and all three still manage to have less range than Keanu Reeves!
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Ripped off heads, fist through the back tearing out the deputy’s heart, pieces of Martin Landau, and Ruth Buzzi, dressed as the Wicked Witch of the West, crying blood.

10

blood

BREASTS

Even the movie within the movie has breasts. AWE-some!

5

beast

BEASTS

Just The Being, but he’s an impressive one.

8.333 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for “The Being”

trailers

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