Sep 9, 2008

The Beyond

I consider myself a fan of one of the Italian auteurs of shock and blood; Fulci being one and Argento being the other. I've chewed through films so fast in the last several years that I constantly jump from genre to genre and never fully expunge the classics and must-see's out of my queue. Finally, I halted the procrastination and have given more attention to the ones that deserve it.

The Beyond (Seven Doors of Death) is Fulci's most critically acclaimed work and it's not hard to see why. It's an intelligent horror film with that dreary oneiric dust that shimmers across the screen. It's visually tempting and an exercise in master lighting and sound progression, but I found myself wanting substance to the body of the film. I did appreciate Fulci's "two cents" on Neurobiology and the attack on the "thought process" by constantly denouncing the hallucinogenic expericences that were occurring all around.

The Beyond is composed of three different sections. Much like most Italian horror, the opening is a flashback to a time of a severely disenchanting land where butchery and crucifixion were carried out. The middle of the film is the "Hey, let's shove a lot of nonsensical gore into a tight space". The body count was entertaining but otherwise useless. I found the "Gate of Hell killing you for finding out its secret" factor quite bothersome after the 3rd random killing.

The ending is a full fledged attack on "happy endings" as it isn't neither a sad or a grand outcome. The result leaves you mystified and in awe. It's part of a void that engulfs everything; a lingering plane of dimension also known as hell. I fancy the way Fulci designed this purgatory. It's barren and littered with mummified bodies (Who are actually hobo's that Fulci bribed with alcohol). I even sniffed out a trace of the same aesthetic used by Lamberto Bava in Demons.

The Beyond is definitely one of his best. It took several attempts for him to create a "masterful" supernatural film with the undead using correct lighting and color filters. The setting is eerie and the gore is in place. The stand alone scenes include a dog ripping out a jugular and a head explosion that has become quite iconic in the gorehound culture. This film was an absolute blast and I think I favor this over Suspiria, albeit the soundtrack was infinitely better.



Anonymous said...

I really, really love "City of the Living Dead". Its always my go-to Fulci work. A real nightmare trapped in reality. I think "the Beyond" gets way too much credit, but it is way better than "Suspiria".

Soiled Sinema said...

Haven't seen that either.
I'm behind.

Yeah, There was definitely something missing from The Beyond.

Anonymous said...

"AND YOU WILL FACE THE SEA OF DARKNESS, AND ALL THERE-IN THAT MAY BE EXPLORED", arguably one of the greatest endings in the history of cinema.

teddy crescendo said...

"The Beyond" is Fulci's supreme masterwork of that there is no question.

Bertram Panzram said...

"City Of The Living Dead" is a total fucking bore after the drill goes through the pervert's head. It's all donwhill from there. It's even more of a letdown than "The Burning's" finishing stretch after the raft/canoe massacre scene.

The only thing COTLD has on "The Beyond" is Fulci's grossest gore gags as in babes literally gagging up intestines.

But "The Beyond" finishes strong from the eerily empty streets to the sea of darkness final shot.

The only way I could see somebody preferring COTLD is if it was their first Fulci when they were 12 from the local video store.

Also The Beyond works a whole hell of a lot better as a straight story than Rob Zombie's latest nonsense Lords Of Salem.