The Being (1983)

R | 82 mins | Horror | 4 November 1983

Director:

Jackie Kong

Writer:

Jackie Kong

Producer:

William Osco

Cinematographer:

Robert Ebinger

Editor:

David Newhouse

Production Designer:

Aleka Corwin

Production Company:

Cybelle Productions
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HISTORY

End credits are preceded by the following statements: "Virginia Lane: was never found." "Garson Jones: was donated to medical science by Mayor Lane." "Mayor Lane: went on to become the first potato farmer in the White House." "Laurie: is now waitressing in Akron, Ohio." "Marge Smith was last seen looking for Michael in Modesto, California." "Detective Mortimer Lutz: moved to Hollywood and became a stunt man."
       The role of "Mortimer Lutz" is attributed to “Rexx Coltrane” in the opening credits, and to “Johnny Commander” in the end credits. Both are pseudonyms for producer William Osco, which is verified in reviews from the 5 Nov 1983 LAT and the Jan 1984 Box.
       An article in the 2 Jul 1980 Var announced the planned Easter 1981 release of director-writer Jackie Kong’s debut film, Easter Sunday. Kong, a recent film-school graduate with no prior experience on a professional motion picture set, was given a $4.5 million budget by her husband, producer-actor William Osco, president of Cybelle Productions. Although Osco attributed his decision to “instinct,” Kong explained that she earned the position by preparing storyboards and shot breakdowns that enabled Osco to envision the film. Kong prided herself on the absence of “sex, nudity and violence” in the film, which marked Osco’s departure from sexually explicit features such as Flesh Gordon (1974). The picture also marked the theatrically-released feature film screen debut of William Osco in an acting role, described as a “Kong discovery Johnny Commander,” and of Cybelle vice-president Kent Perkins, the film’s associate producer and the husband of star Ruth ... More Less

End credits are preceded by the following statements: "Virginia Lane: was never found." "Garson Jones: was donated to medical science by Mayor Lane." "Mayor Lane: went on to become the first potato farmer in the White House." "Laurie: is now waitressing in Akron, Ohio." "Marge Smith was last seen looking for Michael in Modesto, California." "Detective Mortimer Lutz: moved to Hollywood and became a stunt man."
       The role of "Mortimer Lutz" is attributed to “Rexx Coltrane” in the opening credits, and to “Johnny Commander” in the end credits. Both are pseudonyms for producer William Osco, which is verified in reviews from the 5 Nov 1983 LAT and the Jan 1984 Box.
       An article in the 2 Jul 1980 Var announced the planned Easter 1981 release of director-writer Jackie Kong’s debut film, Easter Sunday. Kong, a recent film-school graduate with no prior experience on a professional motion picture set, was given a $4.5 million budget by her husband, producer-actor William Osco, president of Cybelle Productions. Although Osco attributed his decision to “instinct,” Kong explained that she earned the position by preparing storyboards and shot breakdowns that enabled Osco to envision the film. Kong prided herself on the absence of “sex, nudity and violence” in the film, which marked Osco’s departure from sexually explicit features such as Flesh Gordon (1974). The picture also marked the theatrically-released feature film screen debut of William Osco in an acting role, described as a “Kong discovery Johnny Commander,” and of Cybelle vice-president Kent Perkins, the film’s associate producer and the husband of star Ruth Buzzi. However, Perkins had been credited as an actor in features twice before; Drive-In (1976, see entry), and Any Which Way You Can (see entry). Principal photography was to take place over a ten-week period in eastern OR, near the ID state line, although the 17 Jul 1980 HR reported that location shooting would occur in Boise, ID, and the 7 Aug 1980 Rolling Stone gave the description, “filmed in Idaho on a modest budget.” A news item in the 7 Nov 1980 HR announced that photography had been completed, and postproduction was underway in Encino, CA. Filming locations were identified as UT and Southern CA.
       In the 6 Nov 1983 LAHExam, Kong admitted that she gained access to actor Martin Landau by pretending to be a candidate for his theater workshop. After giving Landau the script and offering him the role of “Garson Jones,” the actor accepted, and later explained, “Her straightforwardness appealed to me.”
       The 7 Aug 1980 DV stated that Larry Cansler was hired to compose the film’s score, but his name does not appear in the onscreen credits.
       According to the 5 Feb 1981 HR, “several major studios” were bidding to distribute the film, although Kong declined to divulge their identities, explaining that Osco was hoping for a deal that would allow him “better marketing control.” No 1981 release has been determined.
       The 28 Oct 1983 L.A. Movie Gazette announced the film’s 4 Oct 1983 opening under its new title, The Being, in AZ, HI, and Southern CA, to be distributed by Best Films and Video. The article named Kong “the youngest female filmmaker of mainstream movies in Hollywood” at that time, and mentioned that she was also the daughter of actress Anita Loo. According to the 18 Apr 1984 Var, Crest Films became the film’s distributor in 1984, with Aquarius Films handling distribution in New York City.
       The Being garnered mostly negative reviews. While several critics commented on the picture’s comical aspects, all felt that they quickly wore thin, as did the horror content. The 8 Nov 1983 HR described the experience as “no more fulfilling than those dinners in a pouch you boil in water.”
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jan 1984
p. 55.
Daily Variety
7 Aug 1980.
---
Daily Variety
9 Nov 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jul 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Nov 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 1983
p. 3.
L.A. Movie Gazette
28 Oct 1983.
---
LA Weekly
4 Nov 1983.
---
LAHExam
6 Nov 1983.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Nov 1983
p. 6.
Rolling Stone
7 Aug 1980.
---
Variety
2 Jul 1980.
---
Variety
26 Nov 1980.
---
Variety
16 Nov 1983
p. 17, 28.
Variety
18 Apr 1984.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Bill Osco Production
A Jackie Kong Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Asst prod
Asst prod
Asst prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog
Asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Best boy
Key grip
Grip
Grip
Elec
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Ed supv
Asst film ed
SET DECORATOR
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des and ward
MUSIC
Mus comp and realized by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Boom op
Spec sd eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff consultant
Elec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist and make-up
Spec eff make-up
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Transportation capt
Driver
Exec prod secy
Prod secy
Prod secy
Asst to the prod
Spec asst
Supv prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Post prod supv
STAND INS
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
SOURCES
MUSIC
"I Don't Want To Know," written by Stevie Nicks, performed by Fleetwood Mac.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Easter Sunday
The Freak
Release Date:
4 November 1983
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 4 November 1983
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
82
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26225
SYNOPSIS

On Holy Saturday, outside the small town of Pottsville, Idaho, a terrified teenaged boy runs from a nuclear waste dump and steals a car from a wrecking yard. As he speeds down the road, the long, slimy arm of a monster-like creature punctures the roof and pulls off the boy’s head. Later that evening, as police detective Mortimer “Mort” Lutz and a tow truck driver examine the abandoned car for evidence of its owner, the trunk opens and the driver vanishes. Mort is puzzled by the driver’s disappearance but returns to the station to write his report. At the police station, Mort watches a television interview with Dr. Garson Jones, a chemist who advises the state of Idaho on environmental safety. Dr. Jones insists that leakage from the nuclear waste dumpsite is not contaminating Pottsville’s drinking water, though he declines to offer any evidence to support his statement. Meanwhile, the monster terrorizes a drive-in theater, killing three people. Mort is summoned to the theater, where he examines an abandoned car splattered with green slime, and a small hole in the ground next to it. An eyewitness claims that his friend was pulled from their car by “a guy in a monster suit,” but Mort assumes the account to be a drug-induced hallucination. He returns home shortly before dawn to find the monster lying in wait and runs from the house, escaping from the creature as the sun rises. Later, Mort tells Mayor Gordon Lane about the monster, but the mayor refuses to publicize the danger, as it might damage the town’s status as the world’s potato capital. Jones ... +


On Holy Saturday, outside the small town of Pottsville, Idaho, a terrified teenaged boy runs from a nuclear waste dump and steals a car from a wrecking yard. As he speeds down the road, the long, slimy arm of a monster-like creature punctures the roof and pulls off the boy’s head. Later that evening, as police detective Mortimer “Mort” Lutz and a tow truck driver examine the abandoned car for evidence of its owner, the trunk opens and the driver vanishes. Mort is puzzled by the driver’s disappearance but returns to the station to write his report. At the police station, Mort watches a television interview with Dr. Garson Jones, a chemist who advises the state of Idaho on environmental safety. Dr. Jones insists that leakage from the nuclear waste dumpsite is not contaminating Pottsville’s drinking water, though he declines to offer any evidence to support his statement. Meanwhile, the monster terrorizes a drive-in theater, killing three people. Mort is summoned to the theater, where he examines an abandoned car splattered with green slime, and a small hole in the ground next to it. An eyewitness claims that his friend was pulled from their car by “a guy in a monster suit,” but Mort assumes the account to be a drug-induced hallucination. He returns home shortly before dawn to find the monster lying in wait and runs from the house, escaping from the creature as the sun rises. Later, Mort tells Mayor Gordon Lane about the monster, but the mayor refuses to publicize the danger, as it might damage the town’s status as the world’s potato capital. Jones arrives and tells Mort and Mayor Lane that he will stop the creature without causing a disturbance. At a diner on Main Street, Mort fears for the safety of Laurie, one of the waitresses, and offers to take her home when her shift ends at 7:30 p.m. At the police station, a television news reporter questions Dr. Jones about a radioactive substance discovered in Pottsville. He informs her that he will camp at the site and perform an in-depth investigation, but continues to deny any danger. Mort returns home and falls asleep, haunted by nightmares about the monster. He is awakened by a phone call from Dr. Jones, summoning him to the dumpsite. Realizing that he has overslept, Mort stops by the diner to pick up Laurie, who has been waiting four hours for him. When they discover the monster hiding in Laurie’s car, they return to the diner and lock the doors. The monster gains entrance, but Laurie locks it inside the meat freezer. Mort calls Mayor Lane and asks for reinforcements, but the mayor is intent on keeping the monster secret and arrives at the diner alone. When Mort opens the freezer, the monster is nowhere to be seen, prompting Mayor Lane to scold the detective for wasting his time. Outside, a storm gathers and an eccentric woman named Marge Smith calls for her missing son, Michael. At the mayor’s home, his wife, Virginia, investigates a noise in the garage and suddenly finds the monster’s snake-like tongue wrapped around her neck, while her husband sits in his car drinking whiskey. Meanwhile, Dr. Jones tells Mort and Laurie about the network of tunnels created by the monster, which allows it to travel through the town unseen. He has determined that light is harmful to the creature, explaining why it only appears at night. At that moment, the monster ensnares the doctor’s ankle. Laurie cuts Dr. Jones loose with an axe and they drive to the police station to arm themselves. Despite Laurie’s insistence on joining the fight, Mort locks her in a jail cell to keep her safe, leaving instructions for the next shift of officers to release her. When Laurie sees Marge Smith standing outside her home across the street, an officer explains that “she’s been cooking on another planet” since her son, Michael, disappeared at the dumpsite. Laurie and the officer notice puddles of green slime dotting the front porch, which Marge attributes to Michael. At the dumpsite, Dr. Jones describes the monster as a highly intelligent but “completely psychotic” genetic mutation created by overexposure to radioactivity. He fears that similar creatures may exist in other dumpsites around the country. The men rig a pickup truck with an explosive charge, lure the monster into it, and leap from the cab before the charge detonates. Believing they have killed the monster, the men enter a chemical warehouse to call for reinforcements, but the phone is out of order. As they leave, the monster again grabs Dr. Jones by the ankle and drags him away. When Mort discovers the doctor’s dismembered body, he arms himself with an axe and goes on the offensive. However, Mort is no match for the creature and he sustains several injuries before it backs him into a corner. Finding a supply of sulfuric acid close at hand, Mort douses the creature with it while shining a flashlight in its face. He then hacks the monster with his axe, causing the carcass to explode. Mort emerges from the warehouse as a radio announcer reports Dr. Jones’s assurance that there is no danger from the nuclear dumpsite, and a slimy hand reaches up from under the ground. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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