The Beyond (1981)
Theatrical Release: March 1, 1983 (USA)
DVD Release: October 28, 2008
Director: Lucio Fulci
Review by James Klein
Considered to be Lucio Fulci’s best film, The Beyond is one creepy horror film. Released on DVD numerous times, its newest DVD release by Grindhouse Releasing gives fans of this Italian splatter film their money’s worth. Not only does the picture look great and the sound is fantastic (the opening sounds of thunder shook my floor), the DVD is loaded with plenty of special features.
The Beyond is a surreal rollercoaster ride which starts off with a flashback set inLouisianain 1927. A man is captured and tortured by a gang of men who throw acid on his face and nail him to the wall of this mansion/hotel. They build a wall over him, sealing him in for good but not before they accidentally open one of the seven gates of Hell. But by sealing it, they are able to hold in (or so they think) the evil that lies behind this wall.
In present day (1981 that is) the run down hotel is now being re-opened by the gorgeous Liza (Fulci regular Catriona MacColl) who has inherited the hotel and wants the establishment opened for business. Right away, the shit hits the fan when a painter falls off a scaffolding and the plumber gets his eyes ripped out by some zombie hand in the basement. While this is taking place, Liza meets a friendly doctor (the late David Warbeck) and a blind woman who warns her that the hotel is evil and she must leave. The blind woman lives next door to the hotel but when Liza mentions it to the doctor, he tells her that house has been abandoned for over 50 years. Soon, everyone starts getting bumped off one by one in graphic manner and when the zombies start coming after Liza and the doctor, its time to get the hell out of there but not before blasting away some of the undead.
The Beyond really doesn’t make much sense. There is no real reason why any of this is happening and soon the insanity starts taking place outside the hotel for whatever the reason. While most Fulci films don’t make much sense, The Beyond relishes in its absurdness and even though parts of the film really are creepy, the films bizarre plot and over the top gore will make most viewers start to laugh after awhile (if one doesn’t laugh at a slow motion shot of a dog running out the door with its huge testicles flapping about, you have no sense of humor at all) . Fans of the grue won’t be disappointed here and while some effects look great (a seeing eye dog ripping out a woman’s throat and then tearing her ear off ) some of the effects look really fake (the overly loud chewing tarantulas ripping off a man’s face and eyes). Maybe if directed by someone else, The Beyond could have been a heap of shit but with Fulci at the helm, the movie works. Fulci can build fantastic suspense and has a visual eye that can compose some great shots. It also helps that the music by Fabio Frizzi, who has done most of Fulci’s films, is one of the composers best pieces of music, really unnerving and rather creepy, thus adding to the terror.
The Beyond isn’t perfect and the ending makes no sense at all, this is one of those movies you just need to go with the flow and forget all logic. Some may find that hard to do and will not care for it. The Beyond isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but if you go in with an open mind, ready to watch a 90 minute nightmare played out, The Beyond should not disappoint.
Grindhouse Releasing has added all of the special features that was on the 2000 Anchor Bay DVD tin set and also added some more interviews and has a new introduction by Catriona MacColl, who after 30 plus years still retains her good looks. While I love this DVD, can someone finally get us fans a blu ray of this soon?