I have a great history with this film. I remember it played one weekend afternoon when I was a kid and on Monday my friends and I couldn't stop talking about it. It had all these monsters and fantastic effects and managed to be fun and scare the crap out of us at the same time.
Then came the day that I heard it influenced my favourite film, The Evil Dead. I thought it might have been that film with all the stop motion effects I remembered so fondly from my youth, but I think that had been called Equinox, not The Beast. Well, it was Equinox and I watched it again, both with nostalgia, and since I had forgotten so much of it (except the ending which had haunted me and my friends so much as kids) it was like seeing it for the first time again.
And then, as a full grown adult, the craziest thing of all happened, effin' Criterion released a double disc version of it! Criterion! If ever a movie deserved a double disc edition, sure I would say this one, but most people would (and did) scoff at the idea of this getting the deluxe treatment. Well, despite their whining, God must love me a whole bunch for this DVD. Now when I have kids I can't wait for them to feel the joy and scares of this wonderful little film (though I may skip ahead the sheriff molestation scene though I love that close up). Also, this is an odd instance I like the producers cut better than the filmmakers cut, but that's understandable since it was made by a bunch of kids. Highly recommended.