Rudyard Kipling’s “Mark of the Beast”
A Horror Story with Social and Political Overtones
This is not your Rudyard Kipling of jungle boy fame but this is Rudyard Kipling horror writer. The film is about two people (Debbie Rochon and Dick Boland) who try to save a friend who was curses after defacing a religious shrine. He was cursed by a silver leper who lives in the forest that surrounds their homes. The fight to survival indeed becomes a life and death struggle for all involved, including the faceless silver leper, and the lengths at which the two will go to save their friend. There, of course, will be repercussions,
The design of the film stuns the eye with fantastic creatures while the audio is quite loud and bombastic. It is in the style of horror films from the seventies and carries religious, moral and political themes. Thomas Edward Seymour and Jonathan Gorman are the brains between this movie as well as the “Bikini Bloodbath” series of slasher spoofs. It all began when Seymour, working at New York City’s famed Strand Book Store, found Kipling’s story in an old collection and they decided to make the film.
Using the original idea of a drunken man who desecrates the temple of the monkey god Hanuman, and has a curse placed on him by a leper priest that turns him animalistic. The movie focusess on a group of friends who try to help out a pal in a similar situation by kidnapping the leper and torturing him until he lifts the affliction but do so at the cost of their own humanity.
The creative team looked for color washed images to add to the darkness of the movie and what we see is a very dark movie.
They tried to create and maintain an atmosphere of tension between the forces of light and dark. The characters face these forces within themselves and externally when their friend has been taken by a monster. The fim needed a monster that the audience would react to seriously and so one was created who is faceless and voiceless yet still gives an intense performance.