Friday, March 18, 2011

#224. The Beyond (1981)

Directed By: Lucio Fulci

Starring: Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale

Tag line: "Behind this doorway lie the terrifying and unspeakable secrets of hell. No one who sees it lives to describe it. And you shall live in darkness for all eternity."

Trivia:  The zombie rampage was done at the insistence of the film's German distributors, whose movie market was going through a zombie craze

Lucio Fulci's The Beyond is a horror fan's delight. With ghosts, demons, zombies, and even a dozen or so carnivorous tarantulas, odds are you'll find something to your liking in this very creative, very potent horror film. 

Liza (Katherine MacColl), a young lady from New York, has just inherited an old Louisiana hotel, which she plans to re-open to the public. To this end, she hires workers to fix the place up, but instead, they unlock an ancient secret: the basement of this hotel hides one of the seven gates of hell, which is inadvertently opened during renovations. With the help of the local doctor (David Warbeck) and a mysterious blind girl (Cinzia Monreale), Liza must find a way to close this gate before evil can spread throughout the city, causing the dead to rise from their graves, 

The Beyond is an excellent marriage of several horror sub-genres. At times a creepy supernatural tale (the call button for room 36 constantly lights up at the front desk, despite the fact nobody's occupied that room for 60 years), The Beyond will also satisfy the gore hounds in the audience, with blood and carnage aplenty. As the plumber (Fiovanni De Nava) is working in the basement, he accidentally breaks through the wrong wall, and before he's figured out what's happened, a hand thrusts out of the freshly-made hole and grabs his face. It then proceeds to squeeze the life out of his body, and one of his eyes out of its socket. There's a lot going on in The Beyond, and you never know from which direction the next scream is going to come. This is a film with very little “down time”; each and every scene holds the promise of a new scare, and damn near every one of them delivers. 

Released in 1981, The Beyond is the middle chapter in what's been deemed Fulci's “Gates of Hell” trilogy (starting with 1980's City of the Living Dead and concluding with 1981's The House By the Cemetery). Widely regarded as not only the best of these three movies, The Beyond is also one of the director's finest films.  If you find yourself with nothing to do on a lazy weekend afternoon, might I suggest a “Fulci Double-Shot” of Zombie and The Beyond, two excellent movies by a filmmaker at the top of his game.


Anonymous said...

DoctorShock: This sounds right up my alley, I loved Fulci's zombie and Italian horror in general. I never heard of this one :-)

Last episode was really really good, I love the DVD music and recomendations. :-)

Jackie :-)

Dave Becker said...

Jackie: Thanks for stopping by.

If you are a fan of Italian horror, then you'll definitely want to check out THE BEYOND. It's one of the best I've seen.

Glad you enjoyed the show, and thanks for listening!

Anonymous said...

u no i new this sounded familiar but the dvd cover did nt catch my eye & there is another cover that has a bright red face on it same movie it was good. i am in agreement with you d. shock & you are my favortie horrur host

Dave Becker said...

Gello, and thanks for stopping by.

You may have seen this film in a heavily edited version, which was released in the US as SEVEN DOORS OF DEATH. While I've never seen that version of the film, I cannot recommend THE BEYOND enough.

Thanks you so much for the kind words. I do appreciate them. Thanks also for listening to Planet Macabre.