In 1946, during WWII, a U.S. soldier, Joseph Langdon (John Ashley), stationed in the Philippines, has been designated a traitor, murderer, rapist and thief. He escapes into the jungle but ends up slowly dying of starvation. He is approached by Satan (Vic Diaz). Satan offers him life if he vows to serve the Prince of Darkness.
Current day, Langdon is reincarnated into the body of Phillip Rogers. Rogers is an American businessman who, with his wife Julia (Mary Charlotte Wilcox) and his brother Earl (Ken Metcalfe), are currently living in Manila. Rogers had suffered from an industrial accident that mangled his face and resulted in his supposed death. When Julia and Earl go to say their final good-byes, they find that Phillip is alive. What they don’t know is that his body is being taken over by Joseph Langdon.
Julia and Earl see that Phillip is different than before the accident. Julia believes that with love and patience she can overcome Phillip being emotionally distant. Phillip tries to exert his personality, but Satan has other ideas. When Phillip experiences strong emotions, he turns into a vicious, murderous beast. As the monster, he is impervious to bullets and is super strong. Phillip runs around at night killing anyone he comes across. He tears out their throats with his teeth.
“Beast of the Yellow Night” AKA “Beast” was released in 1971 and was written and directed by Eddie Romero. It is an American horror movie produced by Roger Corman. The film was a co-production between America and the Philippines. It is a Filipino exploitation film and one of several films that Corman did in the Philippines. It is also one of the milder Corman-Filipino films.
For a while, once he begins killing, it is your standard monster run amok movie. Ashley turns into a beast that is not quite werewolf. He is more ‘Blue Meanie’ than anything else. It wasn’t the best monster, but it was OK. The movie is short on blood and gore but long on philosophical musings. It starts out a little confusing.
According to the story, Satan used Langdon to take over the bodies of others in order to get them and those around them to sin. After possessing people for 25 years, he is put into the body of Phillip Rogers. This time Rogers looks like Langdon, supposedly a result of the trauma to his face. Langdon then starts to exert his will over Phillip or something like that. Apparently, the emotional conflict triggers him to turn into the blue monster. The explanation adds more confusion to the story and raises questions that are never answered.
I also had some issues with how the story was laid out. Some of the dialogue is a little talkie. It makes the film seem more of a melodrama than a horror movie. Phillip turning into a beast looked like a subplot and not the main point of the film. All in all, it felt as if something was missing. The horror part of the horror story was muddled by the philosophical aspects of the film. It made the movie drag a little which made it a little boring.