The Beyond – film, Italy, 1981

British-based Shameless Films has announced that they are releasing The Beyond on Blu-ray with four different versions of the film’s prologue, plus the following additional new extras:

  • ‘Emily’s Eyes’ – an interview with actress Cinzia Monreale with English subtitles.
  • ‘Arachnophobia’ – an interview with actor Michele Mirabella with English subtitles.
  • ‘Murder, They Wrote’ – a unique interview with scriptwriter Giorgio Mariuzzo on working with Lucio Fulci with English subtitles.
  • The Beyond prologue four-way comparison, showing: The Standard Sepia + the Original Colour + the Black and white version + the new fourth-way: the Yellow-toned sepia version.

Archival extras:

  • Sergio Salvati audio commentary with English subtitles
  • Catriona McCall and David Warbeck audio commentary
  • Lucio Fulci banter on set (short)

Shameless Films has explained their rationale for including four different versions of the prologue:

“We do not profess that either the original colour, the black and white version, or new gold-yellow toned sepia versions are the correct versions intended by director Lucio Fulci or his DOP. Instead we have presented the film with the four different prologues so fans of Fulci’s masterpiece can see the original colour it was actually shot on, as never seen before, and to show the various stages of the filmmaking process of this landmark film. We’ve also endeavoured for the first time ever to present a rendering of the yellow coloured sepia, which Salvati has referred to on occasions, so that fans can see this as well. We want to give fans the option to see what this may have been designed to look like, and we hope that the striking new additional alternative visuals may enrich the viewing experience.”

The new Blu-ray edition of The Beyond is scheduled for release mid-May, exact date to be confirmed. Meanwhile, here’s our overview of the movie:

The Beyond is a 1981 Italian supernatural horror feature film directed by Lucio Fulci (The New York Ripper; Zombie Flesh EatersDon’t Torture a Duckling; A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin; et al) from a screenplay co-written with Dardano Sacchetti and Giorgio Mariuzzo, based on Sacchetti’s storyline.

The Fulvia Film was produced by Fabrizio De Angelis and stars Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale, Antoine Saint-John and Veronica Lazar.

The original Italian title is E tu vivrai nel terrore! L’aldilà, which translates as “… And you will live in terror! The afterlife”. The film forms the second part of Lucio Fulci’s so-called ‘Gates of Hell’ that includes City of the Living Dead (1980) and The House by the Cemetery (1981).

Plot:

1927: In Louisiana‘s Seven Doors Hotel, a lynch mob murders an artist named Schweick, whom they believe to be a warlock.

1981: A young woman, Liza Merril (Catriona MacColl), inherits the old hotel in Louisiana. Following a series of supernatural “accidents”, she discovers that the building was built over one of the entrances to Hell

Reviews:

“It is mostly gobbledy-gook in its plot, but that doesn’t matter because the movie captures you in its ride. It is loaded with gory action that has you cringing and grossed out (while still somehow lacking realism at points). If you are a fan of horror or zombie movies, it is worth checking out (though it is more of a supernatural movie).” JP Roscoe, Basement Rejects

“Its dreamlike fluctuations create a unique sense of delirium. City of the Living Dead‘s collage effect has been massaged into a smooth, undulating continuity. Lyrical camerawork sweeps the eye across the feverish imagery for appointments with fascinating bouts of violence. Cinematic space is in total flux, narrative is eluded.” Stephen Thrower, Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci, FAB Press

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“The film’s claustrophobic nightmare ambiance generates an inescapably hopeless feel. It’s a supremely hellish ride through a nightmare where the beyond becomes ever more and more present and threatening and ultimately engulfs all, by the film’s end.” Giovanni Susina, At the Mansion of Madness

“As the tarantulas tear away each morsel, we can clearly see the strands of latex and glue holding it to the model of a corpse’s head […] In a film filled with bad dialogue, it is hard to choose the most quotable line, but I think it may occur in Liza’s conversations with Martin, the architect hired to renovate the hotel. “You have carte blanche,” she tells him, “but not a blank check!” Roger Ebert

“A shamelessly artless horror movie whose senseless story – a girl inherits a spooky, seedy hotel which just happens to have one of the Seven Doors of Hell in its cellar – is merely an excuse for a poorly connected series of sadistic tableaux of torture and gore.” Time Out London 

“Fulci brings his typical violence into the picture, and it’s spread throughout the film enough so that we don’t feel as if it’s the only quality the film has. The spider scene is perhaps a bit overly long and incredibly fake looking, but it’s all in good fun and just adds to the camp factor. Everything else is great though.” Varied Celluloid

Cast and characters:

  • Catriona MacColl … Liza Merril (as Katherine MacColl) – Horsehead; City of the Living Dead
  • David Warbeck … Dr. John McCabe – RatMan; Panic; The Black Cat; Craze; Twins of Evil; Trog
  • Cinzia Monreale … Emily (as Sarah Keller)
  • Antoine Saint-John … Schweick
  • Veronica Lazar … Martha
  • Larry Ray … Larry (as Anthony Flees)
  • Giovanni De Nava … Joe the Plumber (credit only)
  • Al Cliver … Dr. Harris
  • Michele Mirabella … Martin Avery
  • Giampaolo Saccarola … Arthur
  • Maria Pia Marsala … Jill
  • Laura De Marchi … Mary-Ann
  • Calogero Azzaretto … Zombie at Hospital (uncredited)
  • Ottaviano Dell’Acqua … Zombie at Hospital (uncredited)
  • Roberto Dell’Acqua … Glass-Smashing Zombie (uncredited)
  • Lucio Fulci … Town Clerk (uncredited)
  • Gilberto Galimberti … Zombie (uncredited)
  • Tonino Pulci … Joe the Plumber (uncredited)
  • Dardano Sacchetti … Mob Member (uncredited)
  • Amedeo Salamon … Zombie at hospital (uncredited)
  • Sergio Salvati … Mob Member (uncredited)

Cinematographer … Sergio Salvati
Editor … Vincenzo Tomassi
Music … Fabio Frizzi

Filming locations:

Filmed on location in and around New Orleans, as well as the outlying cities of Metairie, Monroe, and Madisonville, in late 1980, additional photography took place at De Paolis Studios in Rome.

Technical credits:

87 minutes | 2.35: 1

Release:

The Beyond was given a North American theatrical release in late 1983 by Aquarius Releasing, who released it as 7 Doors of Death; this version featured an entirely different musical score and ran several minutes shorter.

Trivia:

Bob Murawski of Grindhouse Releasing – who restored the film in 1998 – is a film editor and used a shot from The Beyond in the spider-bite dream sequence in Spider-Man (2002).

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