Friday, December 24, 2021

Man Beast


Man Beast
Jerry Warren

"I'd shoot one day on this stuff and throw it together...I was in the business to make money. I never, ever tried in any way to compete, or to make something worthwhile. I only did enough to get by, so they would buy it, so it would play, and so I'd get a few dollars. It's not very fair to the public, I guess, but that was my attitude...You didn't have to go all out and make a really good picture." – Jerry Warren

Let’s talk about Jerry Warren. I hate every one of his films. They are boring. They are shot poorly. They are acted poorly. Half the time, he takes a perfectly serviceable film from another country and makes it far worse by chopping it up and editing in his own dull scenes like some kind of coma inducing Godfrey Ho. If Jerry Warren had been born a few decades later he would have been pumping out artless crap for the Syfy Channel. His movies don’t bore me to sleep they bore me to rage. A unique skill granted, but ‘pissing off some trans girl sixty-five years into the future’ isn’t the most useful ability. Still, Mr. Warren is an auteur in that respect.  


"Oh, you're eating this fucking churro, pal."

That said, Man Beast is the Jerry Warren movie I hate the least (insofar as such things can be measured). It’s his first film, so there at least appears to some effort put into the story. Connie Hayward (Virgina Manyor) mounts an expedition to try and find her brother who vanished on an earlier trip to the Himalayas to discover the Yeti. Along the way, the group meets a very strange person by the name of Varga (George Skaff) who offers to help, but is obviously up to no good. 

(One plot element that seems to come up more often than not in Yeti films is the Yeti stealing human women to mate with. It’s weird and gross. Stop it. )

Look it’s not much, but we have definable goals for the protagonists, a mysterious threat, and even a plot complication with a traitor in midst of the heroes. These are all things that will vanish from Warren’s oeuvre soon enough so enjoy them while you can. I can even appreciate the guerilla tactics Warren used to get this film made, from making up fake names to fill out the cast to climbing fences to film on other studios' sets, that is the kind of fun passion that makes filmmaking interesting. In the end Warren was in it for the money and not in the Roger Corman way where he fostered dozens of artists in the process.

"I'm just saying it would be better if you got
swell hat like the rest of us."

I guess if you’re the kind of person who thinks voluntarily watching anything Jerry Warren made is a good idea, then I would watch Man Beast. It is a step above something like The Creeping Terror (1964), but only just so. Man Beast is the only Jerry Warren film I will damn with faint praise rather than loud anger.

It’s an Xmas miracle.

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