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From legendary Italian horror master Lucio Fulci come the ultimate classic of supernatural horror. A remote and cursed hotel, built over one of the seven gateways, becomes a yawning malevolent abyss that begins devouring both the bodies and the souls of all who enter in a graphic frenzy of gory crucifictions, chunkblowing chain-whippings, eyeball impalements, sulphuric acid meltdowns, flesh-eating tarantulas, throat-shredding demon dogs and ravenous bloodthirsty zombies. The Beyond is a towering achievement in hair-raising, mind-bending cinematic terror!
For more about The Beyond and the The Beyond Blu-ray release, see the The Beyond Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on March 4, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writers: Dardano Sacchetti, Giorgio Mariuzzo, Lucio Fulci
Starring: Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale, Antoine Saint-John, Veronica Lazar (I), Anthony Flees
» See full cast & crew
The Beyond Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, March 4, 2011
Lucio Fulci's "E tu vivrai nel terrore - L'aldilà" a.k.a. "The Beyond" (1981) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Arrow Films. The supplemental features on the disc include Q&A session with actress Catriona MacColl; video interview with Italian actress Cinzia Monreale; audio commentary by Catriona MacColl and David Warbeck; and another audio commentary by Antonella Fulci, daughter of director Lucio Fulci. The disc also arrives with four-option reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork; double-sided fold-out poster; collector's booklet featuring an introduction to the film by director Eli Roth and an interview with Al Cliver by author and critic Calum Waddell; reprints of original lobby cards, stills, and behind the scenes photographs from the collection of star David Warbeck. In English, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
A rundown hotel, Louisiana, 1927. A painter named Schweick (Antoine Saint-John, Mad Enough to Kill, Ginger and Fred) is captured and crucified by a group of angry men with torches. He dies and the men pour quicklime on his body. After they leave, one of seven doors connecting the world of the dead with the world of the living is opened.
Present days. A young and beautiful woman from New York City named Liza (Catriona MacColl, City of the Living Dead, The House by the Cemetery) inherits the hotel. She decides to fix what time has damaged and reopen it for business. While working in the hotel's flooded basement Joe the Plumber (Giovanni de Nava, The House by the Cemetery) accidentally unleashes something evil.
Meanwhile, Liza encounters a blind girl (Cinzia Monreale, They Died with Their Boots On), who may or may not know where the evil that has been unleashed comes from. She also befriends a local doctor (David Warbeck, The Ark of the Sun God), who turns out to be the only man in town who understands what is happening.
The films of Italian director Lucio Fulci are an acquired taste. If one does not find atmospheric schlock and gore utterly exciting, one should not waste his time with them. They don't get better with multiple viewings. The older they get, the less refined they look.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because some truly dreadful films could look quite charming if one approaches them with the right set of expectations. Occasionally a terrible script, cheesy special effects and some really bizarre dialog could be mixed into something rather special. Remember Bruno Mattei's Rats: Night of Terror and Lamberto Bava's Demons?
Fulci's The Beyond falls short of being that kind of a special film, but oozes enthusiasm that is rather impossible not to admire. Its story is quite weak, special effects ambitious but ultimately underwhelming, and most of the cast completely out of touch with the film's reality. Naturally, the visuals are notably bizarre, reminding about vivid hallucinations.
And they are not easy to forget. The atmosphere is amongst the wackiest witnessed in Italian horror films, and the fractured narrative amongst the most incomprehensible ever assembled. The film is more or less a moody trip, a ruthless exercise in style that has absolutely no use of substance. If one begins applying logic to it in an attempt to figure out the narrative, one would almost certainly be underwhelmed, more than likely also enormously frustrated.
The narrative is comprised of various episodes that are united by the presence of the evil, which appears in different forms and shapes. It hardly matters where it comes from, however, so long as the there are enough sadistic killings on display. This is Fulci's world, bizarre and twisted, and one isn't supposed to question it, one is supposed to embrace it.
There is something to be said about the music in The Beyond as well. Fabio Frizzi's score is dark, intense, and genuinely creepy. A long piano leitmotif is repeatedly used to enhance some of the most atmospheric scenes in the film. Various sound effects are also added.
Note: This Blu-ray disc contains the film's uncut 87-minute version.
The Beyond Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Lucio Fulci's The Beyond arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Arrow Films.
Note: My screener has the incorrect B&W prologue. The market version of this Blu-ray release, however, will be corrected.
The high-definition transfer has been struck from a dated source, but detail and clarity are fairly good. Color reproduction is somewhat inconsistent, with some of the indoor scenes looking slightly desaturated. The grays, browns, and especially the greens occasionally look a bit fuzzy. Edge-enhancement is not a serious issue of concern, but occasionally can be seen creeping in (see screencapture #10). Film grain is present, but from start to finish there is a light layer of machine noise on top of it, some of which has also been reduced. Detail is not affected dramatically, but it is quite obvious that the final result could have been a lot more satisfying without these corrections. I also noticed various tiny specks popping up here and there. However, there are no large damage marks, cuts, or stains. Finally, there are no serious stability issues to report in this review either. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu).
The Beyond Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are three audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS 2.0 and Italian DTS 2.0. For the record, Arrow Films have provided optional English subtitles for the English and Italian audio versions of the film.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track has a surprisingly strong dynamic amplitude. I did a number of different tests with the English DTS 2.0 track and the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track easily wins in every important category, from depth and fluidity to clarity and surround efficiency. And the improvements are not marginal, they give the film an entirely new vibe. The dialog is crisp, clean, stable, and exceptionally easy to follow. There are no balance issues with Fabio Frizzi's score either. Lastly, I did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, or hissings to report in this review.
The Beyond Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Beyond Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Lucio Fulci's The Beyond is a strange hybrid of a film. Its narrative is quite weak, but the atmosphere it builds is indeed very unusual. Apparently, the Blu-ray screener I was sent will not be identical to the market version Arrow Films have prepared. Therefore, I would want to see one of these final versions before I recommend The Beyond.
The Beyond: Other Editions
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The Beyond Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Beyond SteelBook - June 24, 2013
British distributors Arrow Video have announced that they will release a Limited SteelBook Edition of Italian director Lucio Fulci's cult horror film The Beyond (1981), starring Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia and Monreale. The SteelBook will be available ...
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