Wednesday, October 13, 2010

31 Nights of Horror - Night Thirteen: The Beyond (1981)


Ok, folks....it's time to get serious now.

Lucio Fulci has always been a favorite of mine. The Beyond ranks as my favorite of all his fine films of demented gory horror. While it may just seem like an excuse to film alot of cool over-the-top gory murder scenes, The Beyond explores much more than just bloodshed and violence...it incorporates some intellectual notions about the afterlife and what is waiting for us. Fulci was a known atheist...so, it is interesting to see him put in a bunch of stuff about purgatory and hell. However, having said all of that...I can fully understand why a viewer might not find any joy watching the film. Fulci doesn't believe in the philosophy of a tightly written script with all kinds of plot twists and character revelations. He loves imagery and fills his films with themes and imagery stringed together on a nonlinear structure. So, the film may not be for everyone. However, if you love Fulci and completely understand his themes and ideas...you will surely love The Beyond.

The film opens to a warlock being viciously murdered  in a Louisiana hotel called the Seven Doors Hotel which, unwittingly, opens up a gateway to hell. Several decades later, a young woman named Liza (a lovely Catriona MacColl) inherits the hotel and decides to restore it for business. Hell ensues...the end.


I would've ranked the film higher on my list if it were not for the lack of a true  plot, but these things don't matter with Fulci. His career has solely been an excuse to kill people on film....why would he ever care about something called a "plot"?? I'm not saying that the film is bad in any way. In fact...it's beautiful in its imagery and it is brilliant in its exploration of metaphysical concepts...in particular, the many ways in which the realms of both the living and the dead tend to bleed into each other. But, it is after the credits role that you find evidence that there wasn't really a plot to what you just saw.

But!

There are face-eating tarantulas, hordes of flesh-eating zombies, face-melting acid...and just about everything else a lover of all things horror would genuinely enjoy. Also...the females in the film are your typical hot Italian 80's film variety. Sure, their eyes are white...but, they are all still pretty damn hot.

The soundtrack is great, too. I love the score that Fabio Frizzi created for the film. It adds to the atmosphere  in such a way that it gives Goblin a run for their money.


The film was later picked up by Tarantino's Rolling Thunder distribution company and released to a wider audience in the late 90's. Later Arrow Video released it onto Blu-Ray in an unedited format which is probably the best edition thus far.

I discovered this film when I was in high school after I checked out one of Fulci's earlier films, Zombie, and it has stuck itself within my cerebral DNA ever since. It's that good. I mean...look at that foreign movie poster for it up above (my favorite of all the different posters that ever came out for The Beyond)...it has everything in that poster! EVERYTHING! Absolutely awesome.

The Beyond is truly a work of art made by an artist at the top of his game. Trust me when I tell you that this film is an absolute necessity this Halloween season.

4.5 out of 5

Thanks for reading,




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