Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Flashbacks: The Beyond 1981


The Beyond 1981
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writer: Dardano Saccheti
Starring Catriona Maccoll, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale, Antoine Saint-John and Veronica Lazar

The Beyond, whenever this film is brought up there are usually 2 types of reactions people who adore it, or people who think it is overrated trash. I, for one, thinks it belongs in the former category. This is both my favorite Fulci film and my favorite Italian Horror film. I just love everything about it, from the gore, the haunting music and the dream like narrative that permeates through the film. And these are some of the very reasons other people cannot stand this film. I have seen this film at least 30 times and I find more to love about it with every viewing.
The plot basics are this, we open up in the early 1900's in New Orleans, Louisiana and meet a painter in a hotel who is painting something dark and foreboding and we see a mob coming to attack the painter. They reach him and whip and torture him brutally and then encase him in cement. We flash forward to the modern era and meet Liza (Maccoll) who has just inherited the same hotel and is in the process of renovating it, and soon bizarre accidents start happening with people dying horrible deaths. It is through this she meets a young doctor (Warbeck) and she clings to him as she keeps having weird visions and occurrences in the hotel. She then meets a blind girl (Monreale) and her dog on the road and she tells Liza her hotel is cursed and must leave before something horrible happens to her. Soon more bizarre things start happening culminating in the dead coming back to life and attacking the living. It all leads to a bizarre battle that culminates in Hell itself.
God, I love this movie. Fulci's direction is at the top of his game here, he really controls the nightmarish dream like narrative really well and you really feel that you are watching someone's nightmares. The story is great, a lot of people give it grief for not making sense, but I feel the film makes perfect sense. You are viewing a version of Hell Earth that is brought to life by the filmmakers and I have no problem with that. The acting is great I love Maccoll and Warbeck as the leads, and Monreale as Emily is eerily creepy throughout. The music is one of my fave soundtracks to any horror film, and gives me chills whenever I hear it. The SFX are amazing, my favorite has to be the gunshot blast to the little girl's head that still blows me away. This is an amazing film, that takes you on a trip through the realm of nightmares and does it expertly. This film gets my highest recommendation.
This film gets 5 tongue eating spiders out of 5

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