|Plot Outline: Liza Merril just recently had a large hotel willed to her, but as soon as the renovations begin, strange things start happening. A painter falls off a scaffold, she is contacted by a blind woman who seems to predict bad things will happen, and Joe the plumber who was last seen in the basement has went missing. Liza soon meets up with the local doctor John Mccabe, and the two of them discover her new home contains the book of Eibon and one of the seven gateways to hell that has now been opened by Joe the plumber.|
The Review: Now, I can’t sit here and pretend to be some Fulci aficionado, but I believe I’ve seen enough of his films to judge that this is his greatest accomplishment. Contrary to what some people tend to think, I believe Fulci was a brilliant visual storyteller. The only thing he tended to miss on was the story it’s self. I mean, he had the eye, he just never had the script. That’s what makes The Beyond his magnum opus. He was able to put all of his greatest attributes into a fairly stable script. I mean, it’s not mammet, tarantino, or even a good carpenter, but at the least it makes sense unlike many of his films (see; City of the Living Dead).
You can look at the majority of Fulci’s work and call him a sensationalist hack if you want, but if you compare Fulci’s films with similar exploitation films of the era, you’ll soon realize there was a whole deal more to his films than just blood and guts. When you compare Zombie with something like Zombi Holocaust you should be able to tell there was a bit more to fulci other than the gore. Sure, both films are almost completely inane when it comes to plot, but Fulci’s was just more fun, more original, and fulci was always able to entertain with his inventive visuals and great cinematography. Even though visuals aren’t everything, and Fulci seemed to make films without ever even reading the script, I still give the man credit for trying to be original.
Thankfully Fulci was able to leave behind this classic before he passed away, and classic The Beyond is. As I mentioned, The Beyond is Fulci’s best scripted film but it’s also generally better in every other area as well. 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. The film is paced better than any of Fulci’s other films and everything just comes off without a hitch. The ending to the film is also accompanied by one of my favorite shots in any horror film. I won’t ruin it of course, but if you’ve read into the film without seeing it you’ve most likely seen pictures of it. If you’re wanting to get into Italian horror films but don’t know where to start, The Beyond is the perfect place. Chances are if you don’t like this film, you’ll hate anything else Fulci ever made. If you’re just getting into the Italian horror scene, perhaps a night of The Beyond and something like Suspiria or Tenebre would be nice.