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The Beast of the Yellow Night

The Beast of the Yellow Night(1971)


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In 1946, in a Philippine jungle, Joseph Langdon, a U.S. Army deserter who collaborated with the Japanese in World War II, is pursued by Philippine military troops led by De Santos. Stumbling through the dense underbrush, Langdon, who has been wounded, collapses. Some time later, a now ravenous Langdon spots a cluster of fruit sprouting from a nearby tree and devours the berries. Afterward, Langdon hears a voice denouncing him as an evil man, murderer, rapist and thief. Countering that he is a human being, Langdon begs for his life. The voice then demands that Langdon serve it without question, and after Langdon pledges his loyalty, the embodiment of Satan appears as a corpulent native and drolly remarks that the berries Langdon ate were toxic. Stating that starving is a wretched business, Satan dumps onto the ground a basketful of human remains that Langdon devours. Twenty-four years later, in a Philippine city, Satan attends the funeral of Tom Milton. After the casket is lowered and the mourners depart, Satan looks down into the freshly covered grave and addresses Langdon, assuring him that he will find his next situation quite interesting. Soon after, in a local hospital, a doctor informs Julia Rogers that her husband Philip, a wealthy American businessman, has died after being mangled in an industrial accident. Julia, who is with Phil's brother and business partner Earl, insists on seeing Phil's body, and when they enter his hospital room, they are shocked to find that Phil, his face swathed in bandages, is still alive. Julia demands that the bandages be removed, and as the dressing is unraveled, Langdon's face comes into view. Assuming that Phil's new face is a result of plastic surgery performed on her husband, Julia takes Langdon home to their luxurious mansion. There Julia senses that her husband, who had been insensitive and indifferent, has changed when Langdon tenderly caresses her face and they make love. The following day, Langdon goes to Phil's office and fires the board of directors. When Earl questions his actions, Langdon responds that Julia has been unhappy and suggests that Earl have an affair with her. Later, at the cemetery where Tom was buried, Langdon meets Satan, who reminds him that his job is to awaken evil in all those with whom he comes into contact. For the past twenty-four years, Langdon, who was reincarnated by Satan after he was shot by the military in 1946, has served Satan's will in propagating evil. After ending Langdon's last incarnation as Tom Milton, Satan brought Langdon back as Phil but allowed him to keep his own face. When Langdon protests that he is still a man who suffers regret and shame, Satan is displeased and sends a bolt of pain through Langdon's body. That night, Langdon is drawn to the sound of a church bell tolling, and when he walks toward the sanctuary, he collapses in agony. A passerby finds Langdon lying face down in the bushes, and when the man bends down to help, Langdon turns into a beast and devours his heart. Langdon runs away, and upon seeing his ghastly reflection in a store window, tries to throw himself in front of an onrushing train. However, he is hurled off the tracks and finds that he has changed back into a man. The next morning, De Santos, now a police inspector in the city, examines the murdered man's corpse and wonders what could have ripped out his heart. Meanwhile, Julia and Earl meet to discuss Phil and when Earl suggests that his brother needs psychiatric help, Julia, whose passion for her husband has been rekindled, asserts that she is all that Phil needs. Upon returning home, Julia gives Phil a gift, and as they passionately embrace, he feels a spike of pain, signaling his transmutation into a beast, and pushes her out of the room, locking the door behind her. Escaping out a window, Langdon runs into the street, and when a prostitute approaches him from behind, he turns around and murders her. A police officer and several passersby spot Langdon, and when they attempt to restrain him, his super-human powers fend off his pursuers. As police enforcements arrive, Langdon stumbles into a basement in a decrepit building. A blind man living in the basement hears Langdon enter, but Langdon passes out soon after. Later, after Langdon awakens back in human form, he asks the blind man why he helped him. When the blind man observes that Langdon does not care whether he is saved or not, Langdon retorts that no one is ever saved. The blind man then explains that he was once the infamous leader of a band of bandits who was imprisoned for thirty years for his crimes. Cryptically declaring that he has little time left to do what must be done, the blind man challenges Langdon's assertion that he has no soul. Meanwhile, Julia, concerned about her husband's disappearance, summons the police to the house. Soon after Langdon returns home, De Santos sees him and recognizes the face of the deserter killed over twenty years earlier in the jungle. When De Santos tells one of the military officers present at the shooting that Langdon is still alive, the man dismisses the idea as impossible and insists that Phil's change of appearance was due to his face being mangled and restored by plastic surgery. Still certain that the man is Langdon, De Santos arrests and jails him. Satan then appears in Langdon's cell dressed as a police officer and warns that the next time Langdon experiences a transmutation, he will bring it on himself. As Langdon is about to be released, a mob angered by the alleged killer's release assembles outside the police station. While Langdon and Julia make their way to Earl's car, one of the mob lunges at Langdon with a knife, but Langdon emerges unscathed. After Earl drives Langdon and Julia off to a private retreat in the country, Det. Lt. Campo, puzzled that the knife failed to pierce Langdon's skin, questions De Santos about Langdon, and De Santos recalls that Langdon fell into a river after being shot, but his body was never recovered. Earl, meanwhile, worried about Julia's well-being, notifies De Santos where she has gone. At the country retreat, Julia is about to make love to Langdon when he mutates into a beast and runs out of the house. Just then, the police arrive, but when they fire at him, the bullets fail to faze him. Still in the form of a beast, Langdon returns to the blind man's basement. Julia, traumatized, has been taken to the hospital, where Earl sits beside her bed and holds her hand. When Langdon reverts back to human form, the blind man assures him that because he thinks and feels pain he is still a man and therefore can be saved. Offering to help Langdon hide from the authorities, the blind man leads him into the countryside, where they join a procession of ox carts. Upon encountering a roadblock manned by the military and De Santos and Campo, the blind man leads Langdon into the tall grass. Unable to stop Langdon with their bullets, the soldiers set fire to the grass, causing Langdon to decide to surrender. As Langdon turns back, the blind man runs away and is shot by the soldiers. Reverting back into a beast, Langdon runs off, after which the wounded blind man asks Campo to take him to Langdon. When Campo reaches Langdon, the blind man begs him to pray for him, and Langdon kneels by his side. Although the blind man dies, Langdon's prayers bring him salvation, and consequently, when De Santos shoots him, the bullet pierces his body. As the life saps out of Langdon, he turns back into a man.