Monday, 29 July 2013

The Beyond.

Another film to be re-released under Quentin Tarantino's Rolling Thunder Pictures Distribution Company was Lucio Fulci’s ultra violent midnight movie classic The Beyond (1981). Originally released in a cut version in America in 1983 it was not until the mid-nineties that the film was digitally premastered with a subsequent DVD release, uncut and completely uncensored in its entire goristic spender and in that form is still currently available through Grindhouse Releasing.   

New Orleans, Louisiana, 1927. Two rowboats full of hard faced men row quietly up a river joining others who have driven by road to meet outside the Seven Doors Hotel. They enter the building carrying lighted touches and metal chains and proceed to room 36. There they find an artist painting a strange hell like creation. Attacking him with the chains they rip off his skin and nail him to the wall accusing him of participating in the dark arts. Finally they cover this poor soul in quick lime that burns what’s left of his flesh leaving him unrecognisable. This brutal act is instrumental in opening one of the seven gateways to hell[1] that when opened allow the dead to cross over into the world of the living!  Our story now moves on some 50 years to 1981 and we find the Hotel being renovated by Liza Merril (Catriona MacCall) who has inherited this run down establishment. Strange things begin to happen, the bell from empty room number 36 keeps ringing, a painter falls from a scaffold while painting the front of the building and a plumber is contracted to find out why the basement is flooded but there’s no water in the hotel. Liza unwittingly becomes drawn in the mysteries of the old Hotel bound up with ancient Book of Eibon.
The wonderful Cinzia Monreale 

No less than three eye gauging scenes!! 

Lucio Fulci director of classic giallo, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (1971) and Zombie horror, Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979), pull’s out all the stops with The Beyond.   Make up artist Giannetto de Rossi certainly deserved a bonus matched only by the vivid colours of cinematographer Sergio Salvati both of whom, along with Fulci’s direction and augmented by the Gothic backdrop of New Orleans, make this one of the most beautiful cinematic splatter fests ever to be committed to celluloid. No less than three eye-gouging scenes compete with an horrendous scene where dozens of tarantula’s literately eat a mans face (had to hide behind my note book for this one) and the Alsatian dog who when infected by the Zombies attacks its blind owner (Cinzia Monreale) and rips out her throat and bits off her ear all executed in brilliant bloody detail!  But don’t worry there are plenty of other ‘bad deaths’ to keep even the most ardent fan of horror movies happy, in fact an outstanding template for this type of genre. It’s a film that relegates World War Z (2013) to the level of CBBeebies.

[1] Beware all seven ‘Gateways to Hell’ are hidden in seven different places!

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