The Beyond has style to burn. Lucio Fulci’s soft lighting drips on the faces of his characters. His outdoor photography is grainy and otherworldly, lending the film’s horrifying events a sense of ironic displacement. During one seemingly endless long shot, Liza (Catriona MacColl) drives toward a distant object on the road. As Fulci’s camera chillingly draws closer to the object, he reveals a blind woman and her seeing-eye dog. Fulci owes plenty to Dario Argento’s Suspiria, a film that may fall flat during its witchy finale though it still boasts a remarkably graceful and consistent level of artifice that The Beyond lacks. Suspiria‘s blind man stands before a vast and empty cityscape, killed by his seeing-eye dog when the animal is commanded by a mysterious spirit. “The blind girl that lives in the old house by the crossroads” meets a similar demise The Beyond when otherworldly forces take hold of her pet doggy. Even by Argento standards, Fulci’s film is nonsensical to the point of distraction. Liza has just inherited her uncle’s rundown New Orleans hotel, which just happens to lie atop one of the seven doors to hell. The door has opened before and will open again and from this opening will emerge slow-moving zombies. It’s never clear what’s happening, where the characters are running to, why corpses are hooked up to EKG machines and why “imaginary” characters are prone to the sufferings of the flesh. Nonetheless, The Beyond is, literally, an eye-popping experience and is worth experiencing for its infamous tarantula sequence alone.
- Aquarius Releasing
- 87 min
- Lucio Fulci
- Lucio Fulci, Giorgio Mariuzzu, Dardano Sacchetti
- Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale, Antoine Saint-John, Veronica Lazer, Anthony Flees, Al Cliver, Giovanni de Nava
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