E tu vivrai nel terrore - L'aldilà (The Beyond) Reviews
Directed by Lucio Fulci, this was the third of his zombie quartet, starting with Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979), City of the Living Dead (1980), this and finally the House by the Cemetery (1981). I think their all a bit overrated but decent solid horror all the same. Acting is OK and Katherine MacColl makes an attractive damsel in distress. David Warbeck is OK as the hero, and I liked Jill (Maria Pia Marsala) as the freaky possessed kid. The rest of the cast are just there to be killed in various gore soaked ways, nothing more. Antoine Saint-John in the opening sequence is chain whipped, crucified and has acid thrown into his face all in graphic detail. People have their eyes poked out, more faces are melted with acid, a great scene where a woman has her throat torn out and her ear bitten off by her dog, loads of rotting zombies appear, guys are impaled with shards of glass and little girl Jill has the top of her head blown off. Fulci and special effects man Giannetteo De Rossi don't shy away from the red stuff, thats for sure. For the most part the make up effects are impressive, the best being when Jill gets shot in the face, the worst is when Martin Avery (Michele Mirabella) is attacked by spiders. Not only do the spiders make a squeaking noise for some reason, but the fake spiders look awful as does the fake head which they bite and pull apart, Martin's tongue being bitten looks good though, just a shame about the rest of the scene. It has nice clear, crisp and colourful photography by Sergio Salvati. It's main draw back is the script credited to Fulci, Dardando Sacchetti and Giorgio Mariuzzo, it's bizarre, surreal and doesn't really make any sense which is a problem. There are also big lapses in logic, like the end where Warbeck discovers the only way to kill the zombies is to shoot them in the head, but he still insists on shooting them anywhere but their heads. Overall I liked it, it's stylishly made and features plenty of blood, gore and violence. I just wish the story was a little clearer and things didn't just happen for no apparent reason. Certainly worth watching if your a gorehound or horror fan. Make sure you watch one of the various uncut widescreen DVD's that are available, the only way to appreciate it properly in my opinion. Recommended.
L'Aldila was part of a trilogy called the 7 gates trilogy. This started with The Gates of Hell(1980), continued with this film, and was to end with The Beyond 2. Unfortunately, this trilogy would never be completed. This is a shame because I would have loved to see that film to know if it was good as the first two movies of the trilogy. The original intentions of The Beyond are different from the final results. This was because of budget and time restrictions. I wonder how much better the pic might have been with a modest budget and a little more time.
The make up effects is one of the film's best features. Despite the low budget, Giannetto De Rossi's effects are spectacular. The effects are done with flair and pizazz. Giannetto De Rossi did his best when working with Fulci. The effects for the death of Joe the Plumber are very good. The best effects in the film is the scene involving the young girl near the end.
The cinematography is spliced with atmosphere and style. Sergio Salvalti contributes to the film's gothic flavour. The cinematography contains a dreamish flow that makes the film beautiful. The score is one of my favourites for a horror film. The score fits perfectly with the scenes in the film. As good as anything done for Argento by Goblin.
The Beyond is an 'Absolute Film' where image and sound are the most important part of a film. On the making of this, Fulci once said, ("My idea was to make an absolute film, with all the horrors of the world. Its a plotless film, there's no logic to it, just a succession of images"). This is something that people who hate the film don't and will never understand. Many people do not like this because of its nonlinear structure. He also said, "In Italy we make films based on pure themes, without a plot and The Beyond like Inferno refuses conventions...people who blame the The Beyond for its lack of story don't understand that it's a film of images, which must be received without any reflection". Receiving a movie like this without any reflection is a hard thing for many film goers to do.
The works of Antonin Artoud and H.P Lovecraft play a major influence on The Beyond. Fulci was inspired by this controversial French artist. The ideas of Artoud are present in most of Fulci's work. Schweick the painter bears a little resemblence to Antonin Artoud. Artoud was the founder of "The Theater of Cruelty" which talked to "Restore to the theater a passionate and convulsive conception of life, and it is in this sense of violent rigor and extreme condensation of scenic elements that the cruelty on which it is based on must be understood". This idea can be applied to The Cinema and this film.
The comment "Violence is Italian Art" by Fulci is relative to the movie and the history of Italian art. Its one of the few films where atmosphere and gore mix well together. Has good moments of spirital horror. The atmosphere is eerie and terrifying. The gory set pieces are satisfying. The surreal atmosphere and bloody imagery is what makes the film a classic.
The Beyond will never be a mainstream favourite because its not for everyone. The themes are well written by Dardano Sacchetti. Catriona MacColl and David Warbeck are very good in the roles of the heroine and hero. Veronica Lazar from Inferno(1980) is sinister as Martha. The director did a great job with the little resources that he had to work with.
The ending will haunt your dreams for days to come even though we can't tell if it is a happy ending or not.....
I think by the end is that it's "Dreamlike" and wired as hell but still it's his best.
The film starts in Louisiana, 1927, where a mob is gathered outside the Seven Doors Hotel decided to lynch an artist named Schwick (Antoine Saint-John), as he is accused of practicing witchcraft. After the artists' murder, one of the Seven Doors of Hell is opened, but the townspeople seal the basement hoping to keep the evil trapped inside. Now, 54 years later, a young woman named Liza (Catriona MacColl) inherits the Seven Doors hotel, and soon has plans to reopen it, but the renovation works reactivate the portal to Hell and soon the forces of evil take control of the Hotel.
Based on a story by the famed Italian writer Dardano Sacchetti (who wrote scripts for basically every important horror filmmaker in Italy during the 70s and 80s) and adapted to the screen by Fulci and Sacchetti himself, "The Beyond" is very surreal story of horror that moves further into the oneiric realm as the story unfolds. It's a highly ambitious and risky idea, but Fulci and Sacchetti craft a powerful story that, while probably doesn't make sense at first sight (at least not in the usual way), truly transmits the feeling of being a nightmare put on film.
While Fulci moves to metaphysical concepts thematically, stylistically he keeps the same care for detailed gore he showed before in his often artistic scenes of violence. Despite the obvious low-budget he had, Fulci manages to come up with a very good cinematography (by Sergio Salvati) and excellent music (by Fabio Frizzi), that truly reflects the surrealism in the plot and increases the feeling of being watching a dream. It's also worth to point out the work of the excellent make-up artist Giannetto De Rossi, whose inventive and detailed creations bring to life the very vivid horrors in Fulci's mind.
While the acting is not really the best in horror genre, it must be said that the awful dubbing done in the film makes it look a lot worse than what it is. However, it also must be said that Catriona MacColl delivers a fairly good performance as our main character, and really keeps the film on float despite the mess the dubbing is. Ciniza Monreale does a good job too, specially as her character is a bit more complicated as she is blind. While the dubbing does damage their performances, it's safe to say that both are really good in their characters. David Warbeck and Al Cliver each do a good job as well and make their characters likable
"The Beyond" received an unfairly cold reception when it was released in the U.S., mainly because in the film arrived with an awful dubbing, a new musical score and overall heavily censored (the version named "Seven Doors of Death"), resulting in a much different movie than what Fulci intended. While it is true that the film is not perfect, it's a terrific horror movie that attempts to go beyond the typical clichés of the genre and succeeds. Many have criticized the plot holes in the story, however I feel that some of those plot holes were often created intentionally with the purpose of showing the logic bended by supernatural forces.
Certainly this film is not for everyone, as the extremely gory sequences and the strange and atypical way the plot is structured may turn off some viewers. However, "The Beyond" is a terrific masterpiece of horror that fans of the genre should not miss. It's really a beautiful, haunting and influential story of atmospheric horror.
The spider attack scene is hilarious, because of how fake they look. But this movie is as gorey as heck. There are some freaky ghost scenes too with a blind woman and her dog living in an old house. The scenes with the zombie attack in the hospital are great zombie action.
The new hotel owner (Catriona MacColl) and her Doctor friend (David Warbeck) fight the undead and attempt to close down the evil portal, but it might be too late. I totally love the spooked out atmosphere of this movie, and remember watching it twice in a row the first time I got it.
How can something as violent, gruesome, disgusting, and relentlessly grotesque as "The Beyond" also be so mysteriously beautiful? As a film directed by Lucio Fulci - one of the Godfathers of Gore - whimsical qualities are what we least expect. But then...as you may know, I've enjoyed a few Lucio Fulci films before this one. I liked "Zombie". I liked "City of the Living Dead". I even liked "Don't Torture a Duckling". There were moments when the director had his time to shine; he was creative without-a-doubt, but sometimes, his typical style (which included surrealism, plots that refused to conform to traditional narrative structures, and complex make-up/gore effects) worked; while other times it didn't. Some of you might not like any of Fulci's films at all; which is perfectly understandable, since most of his films qualify for trash - if not entertaining and dream-like trash. Either way, there's no denying that there are few films out there like the ones I have listed; especially this one, which has quite the cult following. The critics are divided, some hate it, some love it; I embraced it with an open mind and found myself happily lost in its depths. It's absurd, disturbing, bloody, silly, but surprisingly, it works.
Fulci wanted to make a film that was pure imagery and well, that's the movie that he's made. He attempts to string together events with what many - including myself - would perceive as a sorry excuse for a plot. Of course, it's possible to ignore such flaws as the lack of deep characters or storytelling, especially when so much spectacle is on display. It takes a certain person and a certain state-of-mind to watch "The Beyond" and truly appreciate it; and I find it highly respectable if one can see why I - along with a good number of other devoted horror fanatics - obsess over this film as if it were an object of cultish worship. In my honest opinion, it's that good.
Let's get this over with. We open on a 1927 Louisiana village; where the Seven Doors Hotel lies. There has been talk of disturbances and diabolical activity going on within the hotel walls; and some angry villagers are ready to put an end to such suspicions. The target of their primitive rage is an artist named Schweick, whom they believe to be a warlock, if only for his bizarre paintings that he claims to be portraits of Hell's landscape. In what makes up the film's entire opening sequence - which is very retro in style and surreal in atmosphere indeed - Schweick is whipped by chains, crucified on the basement wall, and doused with hot, boiling quicklime. He dies a slow, painful death; and his corpse is left to rot.
Several decades later, the same hotel has been inherited by a woman named Liza (Catriona MacColl). She begins to repair and renovate the building, although in doing so, she disturbs the supernatural forces that haunt it; the ghost of Schweick included, who has returned from the dead as an indestructible corpse after one of the seven doors of death - which was in the basement where the has-been artist was murdered - is opened yet again by an unsuspecting plumber named Joe.
And when the doors are opened, the dead shall walk the earth. But Fulci makes a difficult decision; he sacrifices a lot of screen-time for his undead buddies, and instead dedicates most of the film to the events leading up to the grand finale in which they all rise and have a very grand feast indeed. The film doesn't seem to be a traditional zombie flick in itself, but more-so a film that tackles all things evil, as a whole. As someone who has seen many of Fulci's films - both good and bad - I appreciated this approach, and while the filmmaker had something slightly different in mind when he wrote the original script, I'm very pleased with the film he has made; and so are many of his die-hard fans.
Liza sees a creepy blind ghost girl and her helper dog. People start to die in unexpected places, at times equally as unpredictable. It's all connected; unlike the movie itself, which defies the concoction of events and scenarios as if such a concept was a cliché. We all know it's not; but this is an artist trying to show us something new, and he goes against the rules of horror movies without recreating them. Those who go to horror films to have a good time, get inspired, be entertained, and absorb talent in the way of surrealism will walk out of "The Beyond" with smiles on their faces. Those who look at it in a more logical way will look at it as a film that is literally nothing more than bunch of random, but admirably repulsive and gory set-pieces put together in a film that just doesn't work. I respect these people, and I openly accept that this film is not for everyone, but I can't deny that I loved every minute of it. It contains some of the most highly respected and memorable scenes of horror in the history of the genre; and all who like horror movies should see it just to see it. There will never be another quite like it.
Library-browsers fall from ladders and get eaten by conveniently-placed spiders. Little girls are possessed by evil spirits. Women are given acid baths. "The Beyond" isn't a film that one can merely make sense of. It doesn't care much about whether you like it or not, but that's what I loved about it. It's a showcase of what Fulci liked to do; he was very much capable of grossing you out, but there was artistry to his craft, and even though it is very much interested in its gore and its kill scenes over its plot and its characters, this is what I would call art. Nobody makes classic gore scenes quite like Fulci did; and since it was his passion to disgust through hidden beauty (at times), I have to respect his intent. This was his best film. And it's also one of the best horror films that I've seen. The feeling of experiencing it is one that is simply put, unforgettable. It takes us to a place beyond where most films - horror or not - will ever be capable of taking us. Lucio Fulci has made a one-of-a-kind feature. Watch it uncut; watch it late at night. I don't really care. Just see it to say that you saw it and then make your verdict; whether "The Beyond" rises from the dead, or just stays there in the coffin, is entirely up to you. But...uninspired acting, dialogue, and plotting aside; it does exactly what it wants to do, but in particularly Fulci-esque fashion. How else could I have possibly wanted it?
Gore and horrific disgusting scenes that last forever, tension, scares, fantastic atmosphere, brilliant camera work and great settings. Also props for the soundtrack that sometimes fits the mood perfectly but other... well, funky tunes on a gore scenes, go figure that out. In the end, it's an actual great balance between beauty and downright hellish visions.