The Beast In The Cellar
1970**

| UK 101 MINS | US 88 MINS | COLOUR | TIGON |

 

SYNOPSIS

A soldier on manoeuvres on the Lancashire moorland gets ripped to pieces by an unknown assailant. After examining the claw marks on the body, the consensus opinion of the police is that the killer must have been some kind of leopard.

Two elderly sisters, Joyce and Ellie, living in their country smallholding become concerned by the murder. Wondering who the killer could be, Ellie goes down to the cellar and finds that their brother, Stephen, who they have kept bricked up for thirty years, has escaped. Could their brother be responsible for the murders?

They become even more concerned when the body count rises. All the murder victims turn out to be soldiers living on the base nearby.

Ellie finally decides to call in the army and the police and tell her story. She tells the tale of how strange her father was when he came back from fighting in the 1914 war. When their brother, Stephen, decided to enlist in World War II, they bricked him up in the cellar to prevent his enrolment, so that the terrible psychological damage wrought on their father would not be visited upon their brother. After the war was over, Ellie continues, he was too far gone to be let out.

After the police leave, Stephen, who is still on the loose in the countryside, manages to get into the house. He makes his way to Joyce’s bedroom, collapses and dies. He is terribly emaciated and has long claws for fingernails and long raddled hair.

 

REVIEWS

BritMovie: The Beast in the Cellar is one of the most unusual and effective British horror films of the 1970s.

BritishHorrorFilms: The Beast in the Cellar, unlike a lot of 1970s Brit horror, hasn’t improved with age.

TheSpinningImage: An unexceptional slice of 70s Brit horror, although the film does hold your interest.

 

QUOTE

Ellie Ballantyne: Joyce, Joyce, he’s gone, he’s gone.

 

CREDITS

  • Directed by James Kelley
  • Produced by Tony Tenser, Christopher Neame & Graham Harris
  • Music by Tony Macaulay
  • Production company Tigon British Film Productions

NOTABLE FACTS

  • Flora Robson and Beryl Reid were both annoyed at the heavy cuts made to the film.

CAST

Beryl Reid — Ellie Ballantyne | Flora Robson — Joyce Ballantyne | John Hamill — Cpl. Alan Marlow | Tessa Wyatt — Joanna Sutherland | T.P. McKenna — Supt. Paddick | John Kelland — Sergeant Young | David Dodimead — Dr. Spencer | Vernon Dobtcheff — Sir Bernard Newsmith | Dafydd Havard — Stephen Ballantyne | Gail Lidstone — Young Ellie | Elizabeth Choice — Young Joyce | Merlyn Ward — Young Stephen | Anthony Heaton — Anderson | Chris Chittell — Baker (as Christopher Chittell) | Peter Craze — Roy