The Beyond - Grindhouse Releasing Collector's Edition (Blu Ray)
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Lucio Fulci's surreal horror masterpiece The Beyond is very special to me for a few reasons. It was my introduction to his film work and it was also my first home video purchase from Grindhouse Releasing. This is definitely the movie that made me a hardcore Fulci addict. From that time on, I began watching all his films from spaghetti westerns like Massacre Time to superb giallo efforts like A Lizard In A Woman's Skin and The Psychic to the ultra gory slash-terpiece The New York Ripper. I think what intrigued me right away about Fulci was his visual style. As can be witnessed in The Beyond, he was a master cinema stylist and made the imagery in all his work highly visceral and intriguing. The staging, set designs, sound and camera movements gave his work an unrelenting, imaginative energy that really set him apart from other filmmakers of his era like Mario Bava, Dario Argento and George A. Romero.
The film quickly ushers us into the macabre madness with a sepia toned flashback to 1927 where a painter named Schweick (Antoine Saint-John) has taken up residence at a bayou side hotel in New Orleans. A lynch mob, believing him to be a warlock, soon arrive and torture him in an extremely violent sequence involving chains and quicklime. Decades later, a woman named Liza (Catriona MacColl) buys the property and begins to renovate it. When a local plumber named Joe is hired to fix the massive flooding in the basement, he accidentally opens a gateway to hell, unleashing the undead forces into the world. From this point on the air is filled with dread as the demonic spirits wash over the Louisiana city wreaking terrifying turmoil.
What makes The Beyond special in the realm of horror films is how instead of creating a story with a standard three act structure, Fulci chose to make a work of pure cinema. This movie plays out like one long nightmare where beautiful and shocking imagery (instead of plot) is used to captivate and repulse us. Cinematographer Sergio Salvati's technical brilliance gave the movie a perfect otherworldly atmosphere for the evil to permeate and strike. The gruesome effects sequences featuring the astounding Italian artistry of Gianetto De Rossi & Maurizio Trani are another main highlight. You'll see victims being melted by acid, tarantula attacks, heads exploding from gunshots, eyeball punctures and many more sights that will rattle your senses.
The Beyond is truly a cinematic experience like no other and one you can never forget after you see it. I think what Fulci was able to do was tap into a place that brings our subconscious and cinema together in a way that simultaneously disturbs and delights our minds. This is the main reason I've always loved the movie. Regardless of some of the more low budget attributes that can be found inside, The Beyond is a genuine treasure of the horror genre that deserves all the recognition it gets from its devoted legion of fans.
Blu Ray Review
PICTURE: Presented in (2:35:1) 1080p High Definition - A sublime transfer makes this the best the horror classic has ever looked. From the haunting pre-credits sequence to the scenes taking place in the daylight of New Orleans' famous French Quarter, fans will be thrilled with the quality of the newly remastered edition.
AUDIO: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound Remix by Academy Award Winner Paul Ottoson - Along with the gorgeous visual restoration, this vibrant new surround sound mix brings all the brilliant audio effects and pulse pounding music by master composer Fabio Frizzi into your home environment with a depth and resonance. The sinister soundscape of The Beyond will keep you in its grip from the intense, chain clinking start to its epically frightening, otherworldly finish!
- AUDIO COMMENTARY with David Warbeck and Catriona MacColl - What a special treat it is to listen to these fine British actors harken back to their time working with their friend Lucio Fulci on this unique cult film. This is easily one of my favorite audio commentaries from my DVD and Blu Ray collection. The humor and wit that the two friends fill their stories with will give a different perspective on what it was like to be an artist in a Fulci film. David Warbeck was actually very ill when he recorded this track, but he did an excellent job conveying his thoughts on acting and the time he spent in the company of Fulci, Catriona and the crew.
- INTERVIEWS with Stars Catriona MacColl (Liza), Cinzia Monreale (Emily) and Giovanni De Nava (Zombie). US Production Manager/Actor Larry Ray (Larry the painter), Make Up Artists Gianetto De Rossi & Maurizio Trani, Cinematographer Sergio Salvati, Writer Dardano Sacchetti, Producer Fabrizio De Angelis, Composer Fabio Frizzi and daughter of Lucio Fulci, Antonella Fulci - This extensive collection of interviews with the cast and crew fills us in on what Lucio Fulci was like to work and create with. There are lots of entertaining stories given about him and the film production. From the creation of the script (which was minimal) to the special effects work that was often created on the spot, the Italian way of moviemaking was something very memorable to all involved. One thing is for sure, Fulci was a very colorful, cantankerous filmmaker that made an impact (for better or worse) on all those that worked with him.
- RARE ARCHIVAL INTERVIEWS with Lucio Fulci and David Warbeck - Featuring a rare audio interview with Director Lucio Fulci along with a final recorded public appearance at EUROFEST with actor David Warbeck.
- LOST GERMAN PRE-CREDIT SEQUENCE IN FULL COLOR
- LINER NOTES By CHAS. BALUN and EUROHORROR Expert Martin Beine
- EXTENSIVE STILL GALLERIES & GRINDHOUSE RELEASING THEATRICAL TRAILERS
- THE FINAL WORD: As it is with all their home video productions, Grindhouse Releasing have done exploitation and horror fans a giant service by bringing this film back to life with an amazing remastered, high definition collector's edition. If you love horror movies you certainly need this gem in your library. Special Thanks to Bob Murawski and everyone at Grindhouse Releasing for letting us rediscover the work of Il Maestro Lucio Fulci and be taken into his grand, gory, glorious vision of THE BEYOND once more!
Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. A Massachusetts native, he is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life. He is currently majoring in Communications and Interactive Media Design.