*** CONTAINS SPOILERS ***
So here commences with review No 5! Given that I'm the video nasty 'virgin' I'm quite impressed at myself. It's become quite the little distraction when giving Isaac his bottle... good job he's not old enough to know what I'm watching though. So on to the movie..
My first comment has to be... That's more like it! I actually thoroughly enjoyed this movie and will be keen to see more from Lucio Fulci. The die-hard horror fans amongst you will be aghast at that, but no, I haven't actually seen anything by this guy before. I have been a big horror fan since my dad introduced me to the many Stephen King movies (when he was still good) when I was about 7 or 8, but everything I have seen has been post these sort of movies... Sorry I deviated again...
So whats to like about 'The Beyond'? More like what's not to like. This movie has a bit of it all...haunting, spookiness, gore, not too bad acting (we won't get carried away and call it good), great effects, a storyline, creepiness, intrigue... ahh no sex or boobs though - sorry guys!
To start with I really like the opening sequence to the movie which is set in 1927 where a group of villagers murder an artist (quite horribly) that they believe to be a warlock. The cinematography is lovely to watch (even if the subject matter isn't)and is shot in sepia which do the effects the world of good. They look all the more gorey, realistic and creepy. The scene which contains flagellation of the artist by way of something sharp and nasty is genuinely horrid and made me wince. You haven't even been introduced to this first victim, yet you feel genuine empathy and distress for him. This is achieved not just by some quite good acting, but also by fantastic make-up, a great attention to detail with the sound of the movie and great cinematography. Not only does the tearing flesh, pouring blood, nails hammering through flesh and acid melting skin look real and horrific, it also sounds it. Fantastic opening sequence. However 'Ms soundtrack fixation' must point out that a really eerie soundtrack is replaced by the usual bontempi organ later on.... what the hell is going on? You had it spot on guys!!!
As the movie progressed, although I enjoyed it, I did wish I could watch an entire movie with the effects, sepia overtone and mood of the first scene. We did however pop forward to what was the present day when the movie was filmed. Our lead actress Liza (which is almost Lisa if you put your mind to it!) has inherited the building where this atrocity has happened and wants to go into business with it as a hotel. Renovation work on the building seems to resurrect something horrid and all sorts starts to kick off.
Something I'm learning is that a lot of these movies have very ugly children in them and this one is no different.. cue wierd looking ginger child with horrific eyebrows. Her mother and her are called to the hospital where her dads body is laid out in the morgue beside the mummified remains of the poor guy who met his demise in the first scene. The make-up here is fantastic, I don't think modern effects have done anything to improve what's achievable these days. Soooo, the mother goes in, but doesn't look too traumatised by the state her dead husband is in wierdly enough... I think she deserves to meet a nasty end... I wasn't disappointed. You are treated to a scream from outside the room, cue ginger child running in (who thankfully has the nounce to look horrified). Her mother is unconscious on the floor conveniently beneath an overturned jar of acid (I'll let you work out what happens). You're left to wonder why the scream and why she ended up on the floor. The effects and makeup which follow are very impressive. I particularly liked the 'foamy' blood creeping across the floor towards the feet of the child... messy!
There is an odd 'freeze frame' where the child screams here which is very oddly placed and just looked stupid, but hey ho.
Not long after this, we are introduced to Emily, a strange blind girl with an awesome alsation dog called Dicky (snigger) who is the owner of the most awesome contact lenses I have seen in a movie. I want a pair! They looked ace! She has a wierd, echoey voice (like the kind thats usually used in flashbacks) that is the first clue all is not normal with her. I won't give away who she is and why all is not as it seems there, but I did love the revelation as to who she is.
As the movie progresses, the ginger kid gets herself a pair of the cool contact lenses, indicating she is now part of whatever the blind girl is... the only hint at whats going on is the ominous line "The blind see things more clearly".
I won't give away any more of the storyline as its fun to watch but be warned it doesn't all tie together in places and some things don't altogether make sense. There are some scenes where the more astute viewer with a memory would think "huh?" but try not to get too tied up in that. It doesn't really matter that you can't explain everything and that some things don't entirely make sense. It doesn't take away anything from the movie or spoil the enjoyment.
Scenes which do warrant a mention are the body nailed to the wall in the haunted room, a tarantula face eating scene (which is both hilarious for some of the fake spiders whose legs all lift at the same time when they walk, but also very creepy but the sounds as they nibble their way through someones face), Body in the bath scene (this is awesome!!! Watch for the housekeepers death!), Dicky the dog doing what needs to be done (how dare Emily send him in to fight zombies to save her.. zombies which incidentally were fantastic!!!).
A special mention has to go with how the ginger kid is dispatched... fantastic! How the hell did they DO that back then? Awesome in every way. I rewound it several times and it still looked as good after several watches. I can't give it away, you HAVE to watch it.
The scene which is played out as the movie ends again is great. The 2 lead characters find themselves, I suppose in 'The Beyond'. The backdrop.. or however they did it, is awe inspiring. Its a true horror genius that's come up with some of the scenes in this movie and the wasteland they find themselves in is well and truely desolate and immensely depressing... and littered with mummified bodies for good measure.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed this movie. I would heartilly recommend it to anyone. Yes, it did have gore, but not enough to kick up a fuss, just bloody good gore and great effects. The acting is very good for this kind of movie and the movie score is impressive as are the general sound effects used. My favourite part however was the cinematography and general mood Fulci has created with the film. Top Notch!
Makeup - 9/10
Soundtrack - 8/10
Gore - 10/10 (although not wall to wall gore, it was a perfect amount for the movie)
Overall - 8/10
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