The Beyond (1981)


Nastiness Rating:

Directed by: Lucio Fulci
Written by: Dardano Sacchetti/Giorgio Mariuzzo/Lucio Fulci

No matter what I say in this review, keep this in mind: I love this movie. I own it and I pop it in my DVD player occasionally. It’s great in its own way.

But, I’ll go ahead and say it right here for everyone to see, even though I’m sure I’ll get flames from everyone in the horror community who happens by this site:

Lucio Fulci is a horrible director. Maybe not quite Uwe Bohl horrible…but close. There’s a scene in The Beyond where a woman goes into a morgue to dress her dead husband. She turns, sees something out of the camera’s eye and screams bloody, terrible murder. We finally see what she’s screaming at and it’s (SHOCK!!!) a small beaker full of acid boiling over. She screams and screams and screams. By the time her young daughter runs in to see what’s going on, the woman is laying down under the now turned over beaker where gallons upon gallons of acid are pouring onto her head. The little girl stares at it for about 10 minutes before deciding that it’s time to move because the acid (now pink with blood) is coming towards her. Instead of going out the door she came in, which is right behind her, she runs to the opposite side of the room where she will be trapped by the evil, apparently sentient liquid.

This scene makes absolutely no sense at all. It has very little to do with the rest of the movie. The main character hired the dead guy to do some plumbing at the New Orleans hotel she just inherited. (Which, unbeknownst to her, was built on top of one of the seven doors to Hell.) She had never met the guy. Near the end of the movie, she knew his daughter. Knew exactly who she was even though she had never been in a scene with her and didn’t know her father more than 10 minutes before he was squished by a zombie.

The acting in this movie is abysmal. Everything was shot without sound and dubbed later, but it was filmed with English and American actors, so they’re all speaking English. Then they themselves dub it. But it sounds like it was dubbed by the same people who dubbed the Shaw Brothers movies. “I just don’t know…………..what happened at the hotel…………….yesterday.”

But there’s something about this and other Fulci movies (of which there are at least two others on this list) that keeps gore-hounds like myself coming back: the fucking gore! Fulci was nothing if not a complete and utter gore-hound. He loved to poke out eyes (at least three in this movie alone), melt peoples’ faces, blow childrens’ heads off and generally cause total, bloody mayhem. The gore is beyond perfection. It makes even a gore-hound like myself look away occasionally.

And maybe it’s the fact that this story makes absolutely no sense at all that makes the movie a classic of its genre. I saw this movie years ago with a buddy of mine who had seen it before. We went to the Dobie on UT campus to see it with an audience who knew how to watch it: we laughed through the entire thing. When the “hero” kept shooting zombies in the chest even though he KNEW that it wouldn’t kill them, we laughed our asses off. (This time it was just irritating. This guy must be the stupidest man in the universe. He must have killed about 6 zombies with headshots, but he kept on trying shooting their arms and chests…just in case. He was absolutely aiming for their chests.)

So, yeah. Even after all of that complaining, I still love this movie. It was one of the first true gore films I ever saw and was pretty much my introduction to Italian horror. It’s amazing in its awfulness. And, against all better judgment, it made me a Fulci fan for life.