22 Days ’til Halloween, 2014: The World Beyond – The Monster (1978)

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Around ten years ago a friend of mine hoped that I could give him the title of this movie based on distorted, terrifying memories he had of watching it in childhood. I’m usually pretty good at identifying Kinder-trauma (with the exception of an early 70s movie that includes mannequins in a secret room and a killer jumping out of a window onto a spiked fence – please contact me if that rings a bell) and, fortunately, I was actually able to track down a copy of his movie, “The World Beyond,” and watch it myself for the first time in almost fifteen years. Fantastic, frightening stuff…

Originally intended as a pilot for a series never picked up, “The World Beyond – The Monster” has since become known, by word of mouth, as “The Mud Monster,” because that’s what it’s about…and that’s how people described it for the decades they attempted to find it without anyone knowing what the hell they were talking about. My friend was not alone. This television movie apparently scarred a whole generation just a bit older than myself. Check out these IMDB comments:

“I’m not really sure exactly when or under what circumstances I saw this movie, but it has haunted me ever since.”

“I too saw this as a youth of about ten and remember being very frightened. I love the internet because I searched mud man and found this. Amazing, as I have been looking for this for maybe two decades.”

“I was so excited when I was reading these comments [I] called to my husband and he thought we won the lottery (we may have because I am suppose to be checking on that). My lifelong search is over. I now need to get a copy of this film so I can watch it again….”

“Wow, I was shocked to discover others who have the same memories as me. I was 7 when I watched this movie and it gave me nightmares….for a long time!”

“I will never forget that monster. This is the only movie that truly scared the hell out of me, for years. I remember how eerie and scary it looked in that boat room and how it sounded with all of the mud splattered everywhere and the look on peoples faces.”

While permanently warping children, “The World Beyond” also holds up for adult viewers. The lighting, set design, editing, sound design/music and, above all, that MUD MONSTER, are of a quality well beyond what one would expect from television at the time. The story is original, and the ambiance is top drawer: all foreboding and dread in gloomy grey light and sagging, decaying wood and the threat of the unknown. It’s the kind of film that makes you watch the background in every scene thinking that you’re going to see something hiding in the bushes or just beyond a darkened window.

This copy of the movie is not as good as my source (plus mine has the TV commercials from the 70s intact), but it is good enough to watch and enjoy. At about only an hour long, you really should check it out. Maybe it’s still somewhere in the back of your head as a repressed childhood trauma and watching it again will uncover your memory and help you to heal…

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2 Responses to 22 Days ’til Halloween, 2014: The World Beyond – The Monster (1978)

  1. Dane says:

    I believe the mannequin show you saw was actually an episode of Kolchak The Night Stalker called The Trevi Collection

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    • Thanks for the guess, Dane. Unfortunately, the guy who wanted me to find this for him insists the falling person was impaled on a fence and that he saw it in a theater in Chicago in the early/mid 70s. My guess is that he’s combined several movies/TV shows in his head…maybe the result of dreaming about them after the fact…and, indeed, The Trevi Collection might have been part of what he mixed up inside his noggin….

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