The Beyond (1981)
By: Michael Helms on March 8, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Kaleidoscope (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English 2.0. 84 minutes
The Movie
Director: Lucio Fulci
Starring: Katherine MacColl, Cinzia Monreale, David Warbeck, Antoine Saint Jean, Veronic Lazar, Anthony Flees, Giovanni De Nava, Al Cliver, Lucio Fulci
Screenplay: Dardano Sacchetti, Giorgio Mariuzzo, & Lucio Fulci
AKA: Seven Doors of Death
A fever dream of a film, Lucio Fulci's The Beyond is both beserk and beautiful and is sure to stain your mind way beyond the first viewing.

The journey begins with a sepia toned prologue set in1927 as a girl reads from the book of Eibon and a lynch mob prepares to chainwhip the artist inhabitant of an isolated old Louisiana hotel known as the Seven Gateways. The man is accused of being a practising warlock before being hastily staked out in the basement and having quicklime poured into him. Flames, opening credits, cut to 1981 and a woman (Katherine MacColl) arrives outside the hotel to claim it as her inheritance. Immediately, mysteries confront and disaster befalls. A painter falls off a scaffold. A plumber can find no source for the flooding in the cellar and the buzzer from the unoccupied room 36 keeps going off. Breaking into a bricked up area the plumber has his eyes removed by a hand from the other side. The female assistant who came with the hotel (Martha) remains zombie-like at most times. Meanwhile, in the outside world MacColl is stopped by a blind woman with an Alsatian who tells her, "I've been looking for you". In the local hospital corpses are re-animating themselves. A visitor has acid poured on her face. Another encounter with the blind girl explains some of the mystery of the house and sends MacColl rushing to room 36 only to remove herself even faster upon the discovery of a corpse nailed to the wall.

McColl eventually hooks up with Dr. McCabe (David Warbeck) but not before a man has his face ripped apart in a library by spiders, some of which are obviously mechanical. A corpse is found at the bottom of a filthy bath only for the finder to have her right eye speared. The dead attack the blind woman which are fended off by her dog until the animal turns on her ripping out her throat and an an ear. More zombie trauma leads MacColl into Warbeck's arms and a greater understanding of the cause of the mayhem. Another living dead attack occurs in the hospital with the dead ripping themselves out of their clear palstic body bags. Warbeck is forced to shoot the top off a young girl's head. On the run in the hospital suddenly they're in the hotel basement. Crying, moaning voices strangle the soundtrack as our protagonists walk into a desolate landscape of corpses and nothingness.
Print source not without minor speckling but hardly enough to detract from any image. The technical standard of work originally put into this film is so high only your own myopia caused from watching too many tenth generation video copies of this film over many years could cause problems.
Stereo Dolby mix of Fabio Frizzi's amazing score that mixes in massed moaning, shouting, and screaming voices with an electronic, descending acoustic piano, more standard choir work and orchestral score is kept as rich and menacing as it was always meant to be.
Extra Features
None. There isn't even a listing of the ten chapters on the slick.
The Verdict
Even with a complete lack of extras this film is a special feature in itself and the undeniable flagship ahead of the massive fleet that is Italian exploitation cinema. A classic.
Movie Score
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