Director: Lucio Fulci
Written by: Dardano Sacchetti, Giorgio Mariuzzo, Lucio Fulci
Threat: Portal to Hell
Weapon of Choice: Spiders
Based upon: Original
Other movies in this series:
Rish Outfield's reviews
This review has been a long while in coming. It was something of a milestone horror experience when I saw it, as it marked the first time since we started the HFC that I turned off a movie because of violence. I had heard a great deal about Lucio Fulci and his legacy of splatter. I almost saw all of Zombie but the tape was defective. I was going to go to a midnight screening of The Beyond this past Halloween, but something else came up at the last minute. So, I was happy when I saw a copy recently and scooped it up for my viewing pleasure. While there was definitely a cloud of pervasive evil that hung over the film, that was only enough to disturb me, and I'd been disturbed before. Unfortunately, the violence was so explicit, so drawn-out, and so unimaginably brutal, that after one prolonged death scene, I just got up and turned it off. Sorry, Lucio.
The Beyond (also called The Seven Doors of Death and El Mas Alla) was not a fun film, but compelling as hell. What story there is has to do with a broken-down hotel with a dark history and an even darker secret in its basement. A young woman inherits the damned building and in starting a restoration, nauseating "accidents" begin to happen to the people around her. The book they discover is called Ebion. If anyone can tell me what (if anything) that means, I would appreciate it. As the characters get closer to unraveling the secret, things go from bizarre to bizarrer.
From my notes: I gotta admit, so far (35 minutes in), The Beyond is unlike (beyond?) anything I've seen before. I don't normally say the eff-word in my reviews, but kids, this is one effed up movie. The EYES!! Those blind eyes, they make the Evil Dead eyes look like Bette Davis's (which isn't exactly a complement, but DUDE . . . !). Filmed in New Orleans and Rome, it had odd dubbing, but appeared to have been shot in English. The music is reminiscent of the first "Elm Street" film, and other times I could swear it was Goblin again (turns out it was neither). There were bizarre lapses in logic and sojourns into absurdity. For example, "Don't ever go in room thirty six." So, where's the first place she goes? Also, you're being chased through the hospital by the living dead. What do you do? Run! Run! Run into the morgue! He shoots twenty times, always hitting the zombies a couple of times in the body before shooting their heads--which kills them. It was really surreal, complete with a totally effed-up ending (there's that word again).
Rated by yours truly as The Most Revolting Film EVER, I actually had spasms in one scene. It was horridly explicit, but featured amazing, realistic makeup effects. It began with a hideously violent whipping scene, ditto the crucifixion scene that followed. Eye-popping. Acid meltings. It featured tarantulas, both fake and real. My reaction to the spider scene: "Christ almighty!"
I tried to do other things--but it was too brutal. I had to turn it off. I felt I was watching a snuff film.
I'm a blood and guts junkie. I used to leaf through Fangoria magazine in the city bookstore before I was old enough to pronounce it. But I finally found my limit. NOTHING has ever shocked and repelled me as did The Beyond. I have never seen a movie as gratuitous as it was (they could have used the tagline "Sick beyond imagination"). I needed to watch It's A Wonderful Life afterward just to clear the pallet. I am not a Fulci fan--not at all. That's personal preference, of course, I know there are some who worship the man. So take that as you will.
Best Scare: The ambience early on; there was something evil about this movie from the get-go. I'd spend a month in the Amityville house before I'd spend a night in this place.
I'd Recommend It To: This is the funny thing: I've actually recommended it to a handful of people. Most of these people are the kind of folks who boast that they lick up the most violent films ever made like spilled Pixie Stix, and lament that there aren't more movies where babies are dropped into boat propellers. Though I disliked the film, I tell these people to check it out for themselves, to know whether I'm exaggerating or not. And some have never returned.
Note: Here's a suggested Skull–Body Mysteriously Vanishes, where somebody shows another person what they saw in the previous scene, but it is now gone. It happens so much, why didn't I think of it before?
Total Skulls: 21
|Rips off earlier film|
|Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie|
|Future celebrity appears|
|Former celebrity appears|
|Girl unnecessarily gets naked|
|Death associated with sex|
|Unfulfilled promise of nudity|
|Characters forget about threat|
|Power is cut|
|Phone lines are cut|
|Someone investigates a strange noise|
|Someone runs up stairs instead of going out front door|
|Camera is the killer|
|Victims cower in front of a window/door|
|Victim locks self in with killer|
|Victim running from killer inexplicably falls|
|Toilet stall scene|
|Car stalls or won't start|
|Cat jumps out|
|Stupid discovery of corpse|
|No one believes only witness|
|Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth|
|Warning goes unheeded|
|Music detracts from scene|
|Death in first five minutes|
|x years before/later|
|Dark and stormy night|
|Killer doesn't stay dead|
|Killer wears a mask|
|Killer is in closet|
|Killer is in car with victim|
|Villain is more sympathetic than heroes|
|Blood hits camera|
|Poor death effect|
|No one dies at all|
|Little kid lamely survives|
|Dog/Pet miraculously survives|
|"It was all a dream" ending|
|Unbelievably happy ending|
|Unbelievably crappy ending|
|What the hell?|