John Ashley, former co-star of the Frankie and Annette beach movie craze, stars as a troubled man in this Filipino horror film.
Joseph Langdon is a murderer during World War II on the verge of death. When he is at risk of losing his life to a group of soldiers, he eats some poisonous berries and is slowly dying. It is then he meets a mysterious man who offers him a chance at redemption and for a new life. Left with no other choice, Langdon takes up the man’s offer, and he is given a new lease on life for twenty-five years and as Philip Rogers, a man who was disfigured in an accident, who has re-emerged and has reunited with his wife Julia.
However, the reunion is not as great as it seems. Thinking Philip was never coming back, Julia began seeing Philip’s brother Earl, but she opts to end the affair in hopes to save her marriage. To make matters worse, the newly christened Philip realizes that the man who offered him the chance at a new life is none other than The Devil himself. At night, under the full moon, Philip undergoes a radical transformation into a very deadly monster, killing those who get in his way. When Inspector De Santos investigates the murders, will he able to see who or what is responsible for the series of murders?
It is well known that when the beach party movie craze came to an end, John Ashley began making films in the Philippines for filmmaker Eddie Romero. With the films there achieving success not only in the Philippines but at the American drive-in theaters, where these films are considered a true gem, Ashley and Romero formed their own production company, Four Associates, and this take on perhaps the werewolf genre is the first film under that banner.
Ashley is quite an interesting figure in the dual role of murderer Joseph Langdon and his new form Philip Rogers. We first see Langdom with a massive beard and when we see him as Rogers, he is clean shaven with sideburns. It is clear that Ashley doesn’t really convey a good vibe throughout the film in terms of his character. He plays well, a truly evil person, one we see go from murderer and then in the case of Rogers, a husband who knows of his wife’s affair and despite her attempts to save their marriage, he treats her pretty badly. And even the more outstanding, the “beast” in question doesn’t really look like a werewolf, but more of a golem looking creature who kills and disembowels his victims as the disciple of Satan.
Speaking of Satan, veteran Filipino actor Vic Diaz seems to be like the last person one would expect to play the role of the Prince of Darkness. However, it follows that “Satan can take various forms” and in that case, Diaz plays gives Ashley the bottom line when necessary. Mary Wilcox plays wife Julia as a woman who knew what she did was wrong but is willing to go to great lengths to save her marriage with Ken Metcalfe plays the brother-in-law/lover who in someway, knows what he did was wrong and only becomes a shoulder to Julia without the romance. Leopoldo Salcedo plays a blind former bandit who goes in cahoots with the former Langdon and decides to help his friend at any cost.
Beast of the Yellow Night is a very strange meshing of werewolf genre with Devil-immortality factor and while one can praise John Ashley’s performance, one can’t help by the fact that his character is cold-hearted and soon-mutated on top of that. Not bad for a 70’s Filipino exploitation piece.
WFG RATING: C+
New World Pictures presents a Four Associates Ltd. production. Director: Eddie Romero. Producers: John Ashley, Roger Corman, David J. Cohen, Eddie Romero, and Beverly Miller. Writer: Eddie Romero. Cinematography: Justo Paulino. Editing: Ben Barcelon.
Cast: John Ashley, Mary Wilcox, Leopoldo Salcedo, Eddie Garcia, Vic Diaz, Ken Metcalfe, Andres Centenera.