Directed by Edward L. Cahn [Other horror films: Creature with the Atom Brain (1955), The She-Creature (1956), Voodoo Woman (1957), Zombies of Mora Tau (1957), Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957), Curse of the Faceless Man (1958), It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958), Invisible Invaders (1959), The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959)]
I didn’t really grow up on many Disney movies, but the 1991 Beauty and the Beast was one of them, and I deeply love it. The 2017 version with Emma Watson is also quite enjoyable.
This movie is nothing like those.
For one, it’s not a musical. The plot is also significantly altered (unlike other adaptations, the Beast is only a beast at night – during the day, he’s a normal guy), and it occasionally has a darker tone, though I regret to say toward the end, it followed the original story more, leading away from any horror aspects to more a fantastical feeling.
There were some fun things here, though – the king’s father had a curse put on his bloodline by a sorcerer, and to find a way to end the curse, some main characters search through catacombs looking for the hidden tomb, which was a fun sequence. The transformation scenes were good also (he legitimately looked like the Wolfman for a bit), but there were a bit too many, alas.
While no one did particularly poorly here, only two cast members stood out. Eduard Franz (who hasn’t been in many horror films, but was featured strongly in The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake) was a solid character, and I enjoyed almost every scene he was in. Stronger still was Walter Burke (a rather big name, I loved his Irish accent here, despite the film taking place in Italy), who played a sleazy side character who was glorious in every moment he appeared.
I wish they had kept darker elements toward the conclusion, as opposed to dropping much of the suspense about halfway through. The director, Edward Cahn, had done plenty of horror films before this, which are listed above. It is worth noting that this was his final film before his death in 1963.
When Beauty and the Beast had more horror-like moments, I think the movie stood out more. Regardless, I had fun still, and would recommend the movie to fans of the Disney animated film, if only so they can compare the two. It’s a bit light on horror, but is the movie mostly fun, aside from the somewhat played out conclusion? I rather think so.