The Beyond (E tu vivrai nel terrore – L’aldilà)

by on Mar.18, 2010, under Daily Review

Fulci’s follow up to City of the Living Dead, not a sequel, but following in the same footsteps. Witchcraft causes local residents to murder a bloke with a chain, a brutal death by anyone’s standards. His body, locked in a basement for 50 years until Joe the plumber finds the corpse, and unleashes the horrors from one of the ‘7 Gates of Hell’. Unsuspecting Liza, (Catriona MacColl) has recently acquired the hotel and is now more than a little perplexed to find the plumber dead and strangeness occurring all around. Stumbling upon a strange blind woman and her dog out on one of the Louisiana Wetland roads, the back story is explained and soon the dark powers are taking over the whole town. With the aid of Dr John MaCabe (played by the outstanding David Warbeck), the two pair up to solve the puzzle which inevitably leads to an ever increasing number of shuffling undead and an inspiring climax.

This film follows a more approachable viewing experience for the novice Fulci explorer. It’s a bit more coherent than City, but still carrying all the beauty and charm of its predecessor. The plot makes a little more sense although, that said, there are still huge questions to be asked as to why, where and what is actually supposed to be going on here. Put those questions to the back of your mind and enjoy the images which are fine pieces are artistic talent, care of Sergio Savati once again. Tomassi editing, Frizzi soundtrack, De Rossi on gore duty. This equates to the essential Fulci experience.

What’s astounding here, as we take for granted the great look of the film and a quality soundtrack, is the sheer amount or gore squeezed into 90 minutes. It’s outrageous really and credit to Fulci and De Rossi for envisioning the most outrageous collection of gore moments in a single movie. Where else can you see a man eaten alive by tarantulas, a blind woman ripped apart by her Alsatian dog, a young girl get her face and head blown clean off, a bloke nailed to a wall and whipped to death with chains, two scenes with eye balls ripped out and a woman’s face melted with acid! This is all before we mention the hordes of zombies causing all sorts of despair and violence. These are all huge scenes too; we’re not just talking quick editing and snapshots of bloody carnage. Here we have close up lingering camera shots, dripping blood and gore. I must say, the Alsatian scene is a thing of beauty. The dripping blood off the jaw of Cinzia Monreale’s (Emily the blind woman) beautiful face, framed brilliantly by Savati is truly a highlight. A moment of real artistic pleasure.

Let me mention Fulci’s stance on zombies. Unlike many of the other reasoning’s for zombies in movies, Fulci has a strong connected reasoning for the dead to walk the earth. Witchcraft and demonology. This is a force of evil, unleashed by dabbling humans causing the gates of hell to open with a wrath of strange monstrous effects on their surroundings and so, the dead will walk the earth. Unlike Romero’s which have an unknown reasoning for the walking dead apart from the vague wives tale of ‘when there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.’ Other films have used chemical misuse and  virus epidemics, which all have their time and place, Fulci has a solid grounding for his walking dead: Evil doings of men and the curse of the devil itself.

‘And you will face the sea of Darkness, and all therein that may be explored.’


5 Comments for this entry

  • Trev Stockbridge

    A great review for what has to be my favourite Fulci movie , some very keen observations on the general mythology of zombies. It also includes a deserved special mention to the effects team for some genuinely original gore moments.

  • lucas1138

    Cheers Trev. Always knew you had damn fine good taste in films.

  • Helen

    Hi Geoff – Firstly – Wow!!! Now this is what i call a horror movie!!! So many good scare moments along with some serious gore as you mentioned. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, especially as there was a plot the you could (sort of!) follow. I really loved the ending too although it took me a few moments (& a few questions) to understand it. What did you conclude happened at the end? Was Martha the nurse from Inferno? Helen

  • Geoff

    Hi. I love the Beyond. As you mention, it’s got a plot which you can follow! The end I guess that the 7 Gates of he’ll open up, one happens to be in the hospital. But, I guess it’s totally open to interpretation.
    Veronica Lazar was Martha. You got it right spotting her in Inferno. She was also in Stendhal Syndrome.
    One other thing, which I don’t think I mentioned in the review, a scene which I love. Davy Warbeck in the lift pretending to load his automatic pistol by pushing the bullet down the barrel. He used to do stuff like this in films to see if the director would notice, hoping it would get into the final print:)

  • Helen

    Ha ha yes that scene was funny! I only became aware of it whilst watching the commentary – along with the ‘do not entry’ sign! 🙂 I think these little quirks just add to the overall enjoyment of the film. Is he the same actor that’s in the Black Cat film we have discussed?

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