B-Movie Corner: The Beyond
First Posted: 1/28/2015
Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond was originally released in European theaters in 1981 and was not released in the United States until 1983. The film was also heavily censored and initially released under the name Seven Doors of Death and was released in underground grindhouse theaters where it developed a strong cult following that has only grown in recent years.
The film is filled to the brim with over the top gore and violence although upon its initial release much of this violence was removed from the film and even with this it was banned in the UK and placed on the video nasty list until 1987 and still not released fully uncut until 2001.
The Beyond opens in Louisiana’s Seven Doors Hotel in 1927, a lynch mob murders an artist named Schweick, whom they believe to be a warlock in a horrific manner dousing him with lye melting away his flesh. This opens one of the Seven Doors of Death, which allow the dead to cross into the world of the living.
Several decades later, Liza, a young woman from New York, inherits the hotel and plans to re-open it. Her renovation work activates the hell portal, and soon she and a local doctor contend with strange incidents Liza encounters a sinister blind woman named Emily, who warns her that she has made a huge mistake moving into the hotel.
Liza tries to discover the hotels ominous past and unleashes a whirlwind of grotesque disasters as she furthers her pursuit.
The plot can be tough to follow at times due to the darting in and out of characters, and killing off of characters as well. The drive of much of this film seems to be setting up the kill scenes, but if you watch closely there is coherence in this picture that comes into full light at the end of the film or leaves your scratching your head in confusion.
Many of the kills in this film are far beyond what one would imagine and goes into much darker territory. If you are a fan of slasher films and have not seen something outside that kind of violence then The Beyond may be too much for you to handle.
Characters are killed by having acid poured on their face, glass to the head, and even eaten to death by tarantulas in slow, blood filled manners. Again this is not a film for the squeamish.
Lucio Fulci is highly regarded in the horror community and was ahead of his time in many ways and truly pushed the boundaries of what horror films could accomplish.
The Beyond is viewed by many as his masterpiece. This is simply a film that must be seen to be believed and is a perfect film to curl up with on a cold winter evening. The Italians really knew how to make great horror films!
Final Verdict: Lucio Fulci has been nicknamed the Godfather of Gore due to his heavy handed use of it. While the argument can certainly be made that he relied too heavily on violence and gore at the sacrifice of a coherent plot, his films are still a joy to watch today. His films also still push the violence envelope even by today’s standards. The Beyond is one of his most coherent films with a flurry of gross out scenes as well and it is a film that must be seen by all horror movie fans.