The Beast in the Cellar


Horror / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten17%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled19%
IMDb Rating4.910986


Plot summary

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819.28 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 29 min
P/S 4 / 20
1.48 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 29 min
P/S 9 / 32

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by poolandrews8 / 10

"No celery? You know I can't eat cheese without celery." I rather liked it, perhaps more than I should have...

The Beast in the Cellar is set in Lancashire in England during the early 70's where two elderly sisters name Ellie (Beryl Reid) & Joyce Ballantyne (Flora Robson) live together in their large house just outside the small rural town of Littlemead, one day Ellie rushes home to tell her sister that a soldier from a nearby Army camp has been brutally murdered. At first they both wonder who the killer could be until Ellie goes down into their cellar where they have kept their brother Steven (Dafydd Havard) bricked up for the past 30 odd years & discovers that he has dug a tunnel & escaped, obviously putting two & two together they feel Steven was responsible or the murder. The fact they find another dead soldier in their shed also has something to do with their thinking. Anyway, the beast is loose, on a murderous rampage & no-one is safe...

This English produced horror film was written & directed James Kelley, it came from Tigon studios who were formed to compete with the likes of Hammer & The Beast in the Cellar was released in cinemas here in the UK to an unsuspecting public on a double bill with Tigon's best known film The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971) which is a thought that make me proud to be British... While not as good as The Blood on Satan's Claw I still thought The Beast in the Cellar was a great film, judging by the other comments here on the IMDb I definitely seem to be in the minority by thinking that but quite frankly I don't give a toss because I thought it was a cracking little horror film & the fact that no-one else seems to like is completely irrelevant to me & my enjoyment of it, isn't it? I love the character's of Ellie & Joyce, as a pair their so different anything else I can remember seeing in a horror film, I mean name one other horror film where he two main stars are old ladies'. I bet you can't. I thought their parts were reasonably well written & I actually started to feel a little sorry for them by the end, I liked the story although maybe it's a touch predictable (you just have to look at the title to basically work the entire film out),I liked the twist's & this is one film where I liked the slow-ish pace & the build up. Having said that it can be slow going at times as well as being a bit dull although there was something about it that I found very watchable, in fact I couldn't take my eyes off it! This is a hard one to call because I can see where all of it's (many) critics are coming from & to an extent even agree with them but for me The Beast in the Cellar (great title, by the way) had that 'X' factor, that indescribable element that just hooked me personally even though no-one else in the World can see it...

Director Kelley does a good job, it's not only for the bizarre story that I love The Beast in the Cellar it's the unique atmosphere that only comes from an English horror film from the 70's & there's nothing that can come close to it. I mean they just don't, can't or simply won't make 'em like this anymore, the thick accents & dialogue, the instantly recognisable English setting & countryside, it's all here. It's a little silly at times & after 30 years that bloke would have had a longer beard than that & there is no way on Earth he could have used his long finger nails as Leopard type talons as they would have broke after one slash. There is an acceptable body-count here, while the kills aren't the goriest they're cool & there is one scene in particular that I just loved when Ellie has to dispose of the dead soldier Steven brought home & since the guys eyeball is hanging out she pops it back in! Honestly I don't really know why but there are so many things that I liked about this film, I must be mad.

Technically The Beast in the Cellar is pretty good considering it was probably made for a few thousand quid, the photography is nice (it's not often you see two credited cinematographers for a film let alone the class of Desmond Dickinson who has an impressive 90 films credited to him & Harry Waxman who has 70) & sometimes very effective although the day-for-night shots look cheap as they always do & it's generally well made with atmospheric sets & locations. I thought the acting was pretty good myself especially Reid & Robson who make the film what it is really.

The Beast in the Cellar is a film that I really liked, I can't quite put my finger on why because I think it's a collection of things that just made it work for me. However I will concede that this will probably be the only positive review of The Beast in the Cellar you will ever read as everyone else in the entire World seems to dislike it which I cannot ignore so with that in mind I can't recommend it as going by the law of average I'm sure most will hate it. This comment is my own personal opinion & I thought The Beast in the Cellar was great fun & a highly entertaining creepy little horror film from a bygone era, unfortunately I doubt many will share my views on it which I think is a shame...

Reviewed by christopher-underwood7 / 10

More than a little creepy.

Not half as bad as some make out and if as is said it went out on a double bill with 'Blood on Satan's Claw', I reckon that was pretty good value. This doesn't have the dolly birds and swinging London paraphernalia but instead two solid performances from Flora Robson and Beryl Reid more than compensates. The kills are surprisingly bloody, the situation with the two spinsters well done and although the final explanation is a bit wordy and prolonged but at least by the end we are still interested to know just who was the occupant of the cellar. Not as jolly as a lot of Tigon product and maybe the better for it for a change. More than a little creepy, not least for the way the old ladies seem, effortlessly to change roles, causing us to rethink what we reckon is going on.

Reviewed by Bunuel19765 / 10

THE BEAST IN THE CELLAR (James Kelly, 1970) **

This was the first title from Anchor Bay UK's "Tigon Collection" Box Set that I checked out - being already familiar with the higher-profile titles among them, namely WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968) and THE BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW (1970). While the film isn't as bad as its reputation would suggest, and is actually well worth watching, it is by no means a classic. The interesting premise classifies it as an anti-war movie but it was deemed to be too talky by executive producer Tony Tenser and, along with some cuts, he ordered the addition of sex and violence inserts to heighten its commercial potential. However, incongruous as they may seem alongside the film's generally deliberate pace, these rapidly-cut scenes of the rampaging 'beast' work quite well!

The film's mainstay, of course, are committed performances by the two elderly female leads - Beryl Reid and Flora Robson - but also T.P. McKenna as the police official investigating the murders. John Hamill and Tessa Wyatt's contribution - intended to provide the requisite romantic interest - is largely negligible, however. Perhaps the best scene in the film is Reid's lengthy account to McKenna of their family's back-story, disclosing the identity of the 'beast' and the reason for its violent behavior. One may notice inconsistencies in the lighting scheme throughout; this is the result of having two separate cameramen - with very different styles - working on the film, albeit both very well regarded exponents of the field (Harry Waxman and Desmond Dickinson). Tony Macaulay's over-emphatic score, however, works against the film's attempt at creating suspense and, ultimately, is what dates it most of all.

THE BEAST IN THE CELLAR was actually released as a double-bill with the far superior THE BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW, which I rewatched later in the week. Director Kelly made only one other film before his untimely death - NIGHT HAIR CHILD (1971) - which, incidentally, I should also be watching fairly soon since I recently got a copy of it! The main supplement on the Anchor Bay UK DVD is the Audio Commentary, which is pretty adequate: Tenser's memory isn't so lucid and is occasionally hard to understand, but associate producer Christopher Neame (son of director Ronald) made up for this by his highly articulate observations and recollections about this particular film.

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