Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Lucio Fulci, 1981
Starring: Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale, Antoine Saint-John
“It’s OK! I’m a doctor.” --David Warbeck
What am I doing right now? “Writing a review,” you might say. Well, yes, I am. But more importantly, I’m gloating. The reason I’m doing a dance of glee is because I have the immense pleasure of reviewing The Beyond (or E tu vivrai nel terrore-- l'aldila) with my out of print, Anchor Bay limited edition tin. Boy, am I glad my high school self had the foresight to snap this up, because there are currently no uncut versions of The Beyond in print on DVD.
The Beyond is a film that you, as a horror fan, have the responsibility to see, own, and continue worshipping. One of Fulci’s greatest films, it concerns Liza (MacColl, beautiful as always), who has just inherited an old hotel in Louisiana. She decides to move in, renovate it, and hopefully start a solid business. But everything stands in her way from unfortunate accidents to deaths, delays, cryptic warnings from a creepy blind girl, and an evil book. It seems the only person sympathetic to her cause is a local doctor (Warbeck), whom she runs to for assistance when the truth is revealed: her hotel is on top of one of the gateways to hell and unfortunately she has opened it, enabling the dead to walk the earth.
The Beyond is one of the films responsible for Fulci’s moniker “Godfather of Gore.” I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises, but I can tell you that my college roommate never forgave me for letting her watch the trademark eyeball scene. In addition to the well-executed gore, this film represents the best of Fulci’s reoccurring themes. There is a mind blowing ending, where you don’t know whether you should be scared, laugh, or ask what the hell just happened. There is also a perfect blend of the surreal and visceral horror, which Fulci does better than almost any Italian. Dardano Sacchetti, known for penning a number of well known Italian horror films, helped write this screenplay, along with most of Fulci’s best efforts. Fabio Frizzi, Fulci’s regular musician, does, hands down, his best work with this score. It was so good, in fact, that Fulci felt the need to “sample” it on the awful Manhattan Baby.
And this is the part we’ve all been waiting for, when I get to talk about my limited edition tin. The artwork is truly awesome and I'd like to think the box is indestructible. There are six gorgeous, over-sized postcards, which are reproductions of various international posters for The Beyond. The best, though, is the booklet. There are wonderful illustrations, a few articles about how great and important the film is, a filmography and a biography. The extras include a music video and some interviews, which are the same as the Anchor Bay regular DVD release, which is sadly also out of print. Here's the single disc DVD.
Warning: There is an available print called Seven Doors of Death, but this is a cut version of the film. You are better off paying the extra money for one of the out of print DVDs or you could just wait around for it to be reissued, which has to happen at some point. There are also several versions available on regions 2 and 3, but I’m not sure if these are uncut.