La Bete (AKA The Beast) - Lilith Likes to Watch Monster Lover May 2022

Title: La Bete (AKA The Beast)
Starring: Sirpa Lane, Lisbeth Hummel, Marcel Dalio
Director: Walerian Borowczyk
Synopsis: In order to inherit a fortune a young woman agrees to marry a young man. She soon discovers that his family harbours a dark past involving a monstrous beast. - via IMDB
Lilith's Notes: Originally part of Immoral Tales, it was developed into its own film.

"Look at the claw marks. Can you see them?"
I am no stranger to Walerian Borowczyk. I fell in absolute love with his work in two of the shorts in Immoral Tales, and Behind Convent Walls had style if nothing else. When I first reviewed Immoral Tales I made mention of this film and promised, someday that I would review it. That day is finally here…

Ladies and gentlemen, La Bete.

The movie opens with horses mating. This movie does not shy away from natural animal behaviors. One might even suggest it's a theme of the film.

The horse breeding is overseen by Mathurin (Played by Marcel Dalio), who is to marry Lucy (Played by Lisbeth Hummel) as per the demands of her father's will.

Lucy comes to the chateau, accompanied by her aunt Virginia (Played by Elizabeth Kaza) who is absolutely no fun at all.

Lucy is very interested in the history of this place and more specifically, of the lovely Romilda (Played by Sirpa Lane), an ancestor of the family who bravely fought a beast in the forest. Looking around, she discovers small hints of the woman's unnatural, bestial lusts. Lusts which fascinate Lucy.

Then that subplot disappeared for a good 30 minutes while a bunch of people talk and play telephone tag.

That's a problem. The plot of this film is extremely convoluted. The family tree is tied in knots and it takes a long time to fully grasp who is who and how they're related to one another. It's unnecessarily dense and it really doesn't have to be. Many of the characters could have been cut. Yes, even the cute red head (Played by Pascale Rivault) who keeps grinding against bed posts. For example there are these two teenage boys hanging around who a man who I think might be a priest keeps cuddling with and kissing on the mouth. Please stop.

There are also two children that are in the film for literally no reason.

When the beast content finally arrives in the movie it's been so long since we saw the dirty drawings and lore that the connection is tenuous at best. Either have this sequence play out through the movie more or have Lucy encounter more monster loving artwork. Maybe a diary from Romilda herself.

But, guys, when we get to the beast, we are more than rewarded for our patience. We are given a gift, a treasure for all the years we monster lovers never got satisfaction. Sure, the beast looks a little cheesy but by God did they try. His eyes move, he grows erect before the viewer's eyes, and oh boy does he unload!

And it's not just a bit of the old in out, in out. There's foot jobs, titfucking, licking, biting, fear and terror acquiescing into pleasure…

There is so much realized promise here. This is the holy grail. This is the gold standard.

Other than the beast himself, the movie looks very good. Borowczyk's films have an amorphous, plucked out of time feel to them. The movie can go along and the viewer can believe there in a 17th century villa but then there will be a car, or a phone, or someone will turn on an electric light switch and we remember, oh right, this isn't a period piece. The man knows how to choose a location.

The costumes can be beautiful in this film. Lucy is weighed down by a leopard fur coat through a lot of the film, a symbol of her interests, perhaps?

But the real glory is in Lucy's pleated nightgown slash wedding dress. Airy and sheer it leaves nothing to the imagination but it's just so satisfying to look at. And it tears so very nicely.

There's also a scene where Lucy enjoys the soft touch of a flower against her body. Her fingers entangle with one another as the rose petals slowly crinkle away. For some reason I found the audio in this scene really alluring

We monster lovers have to work hard to get our delights and while Borowczyk knows what we want and he graciously delivers, the viewer has to wade through a lot of dramatic bullshit to get to the good stuff.

But it's worth it.

Best Moment: A tie between the rose scene and the actual beast ravishment scene

Worst Moment:the entire convoluted plot and how disjointed and slow the movie is as a whole. This is the second time I've had to google the plot of a Borowczyk film.


Until next time, my voracious voyeurs. I’m Lilith, and I’m always watching.

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