The Beyond (1981)

the beyond gifThis is a rare, hard to find movie. You won’t see this one on TV and you won’t find it streaming online easily. The only way to go about this is the old-school, hard copy way. I recently purchased a limited edition release through Amazon (shelling out over $20) to add to my collection; and I am glad that I did.

the beyondA warning: This is the kind of film that only true horror fans can love. My boyfriend walked in about halfway through the film, stopped and watched it for a couple of minutes and said, “What are you watching? This looks really cheesy and stupid.” As I’m sure you have already picked up on, my boyfriend is definitely NOT a horror movie fan. And it may be cheesy and stupid at parts, but it’s nasty and gory and campy and awesome- things that only horror lovers can appreciate.

It tells the story of Liza, who inherits an old Louisiana hotel that she decides to restore. The restoration is already off to a terrible start with the death of a worker. He ultimately gets his eye gouged out by a monster demon hand busting through a disintegrating basement wall. A strange woman, Emily, shows up at the house. She is blind with white irises (pretty freaky looking). Emily continually gives Liza warning to leave the old mansion and to never go in room 36. I can’t help but think of The Shining: “There ain’t nothin’ in Room 237. But you ain’t got no business goin’ in there anyway. So stay out. You understand? Stay out.” So what does Liza do? Go in room 36 of course! Curiosity killed the cat. And now she has unlocked one of the seven gates of hell!

the beyond tarantulaThis movie abounds in callous death scenes, and loves to make a spectacle of such. The opening scene of the film shows a man literally crucified, tortured, and dosed in acid. In another, a face is mutilated by a swarm of tarantulas. A lot of these death scenes remind of David Cronenberg’s work- molding flesh in waxy disfigurement and oozing blood; images that can only be conceived in nightmare. Director, Lucio Fulci does not joke around. These visions are queasy and cringe-worthy, zooming in on bloody wounds and orifices, burned into the retina for good.

I have been trying to get into this director’s work for the past couple of years. Director Lucio Fulci, though often forgot about, is somewhat of a retro icon in the horror community. He is known for campy classics like Zombi 2, The New York Ripper, Don’t Torture a Duckling, City of the Living Dead, and sooo many more. He is a legend known for his controversial and vividly graphic films, a taste not suited for all. I think he is definitely on par, if not surpassing, the great Dario Argento (though I believe Dario Argento to be a better story-teller).

the beyond gifI hold this film in high regard as a Lucio Fulci fan, but I don’t think this is a film I would want to watch over and over again. The plot and acting are not very strong; but the campiness, cool sounds effects/music, and extreme gore make this a completely enjoyable film. You don’t watch this movie for an intellectual experience; you watch this for bloodshed and carnage. Watch this for pure gores’ sake.

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The Beyond (1981) on IMDb

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