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on 28 March 2015
Perhaps one of the greatest of cinematic achievements, Lucio Fulci's "The Beyond" has had a troubled history, maligned by critics, cut or banned around the world by censors, re-edited and mangled on its American theatrical release and lost in copyright limbo there for over a decade the film has had it rough, frankly a work of such art should've been treated better but alas in the wake of DVD the film started getting more attention through many uncut and extra's laden releases worldwide, now in 2015 Grindhouse Releasing present the ultimate edition of this gothic blood drenched classic in an extra packed three disc Blu-ray and CD soundtrack collectors edition with a glow in the dark cover, uncut, remastered in HD, with no audio or video glitches and to those of you who care yes with a colour correct golden yellow tinted opening.

A loose description of the film, I say loose because the plot is a mere skeleton cleverly used to keep the flesh and blood of the film together, a vague structure to attach a brooding doomed atmosphere and dark traditional gothic horror with outlandish surrealism and disjointed nightmares all topped off with excessively violent and very excessively stylish gore. Starting in 1927 at the Seven Doors Hotel Schweik the artist is painting a haunted landscape when a lynch mob comes in, whips him senseless with chains and then drags him into the basement, he tries even in this heavily beaten state to warn the mob that the hotel was built on one of the gateways to hell but to no avail, he is crucified and melted with large dollops of lime in an eight minute opening screened in black and white with a golden yellow tint that is both visually stunning and mysteriously haunting, this scene ending with a young woman (Emily) reading from an old book "Woe be unto him who opens one of the seven gateways to hell because through that gateway evil will invade the world...". Cue 1981 and Liza has inherited the now run down hotel, sadly her attempts at restoring the old place are met with disaster after disaster, the local painter falls from the roof which introduces the doctor John McCabe who becomes the other leading character and a close friend of Liza, as the two get close and weird unexplainable events surround them people seem to come, go and die without any real direction to the film but that itself is the ingenious structure (or lack thereof) of the film. A seemingly structured haunted house story gradually and progressively becomes a confusingly disjointed horror mystery with far more questions than answers leaving much up to individual interpretation as the characters begin to question their sanity and indeed reality. Are Liza and John losing their minds or is hell itself stretching out and swallowing the small town and its residents, are the dead coming back to life or do those haunted victims bodies represent ghosts shuffling through a hell the living are already engulfed in? To give you any more than I already have would be to deprive you the joy of being absorbed by the film and making your own judgements but I will say this, the ending is among the most brilliant I've ever seen and the film as a whole my absolute favourite.

Twelve years ago I had the joy of watching this curious and bizarre little film, made with about $400,000 and carried from its initial release through home video to the uninitiated and potentially the masses purely through the love and dedication of the legion of fans it has spawned these last three and a half decades. What I saw would change me forever, at first I'll admit this teenage boy knew not what to make of the film, it was filmed brilliantly, most shots were visually captivating, the gore on show was unrealistically excessive but so stylish and done with such complete disregard for convention that it stood out and impressed immediately, in contrast to this crude and bold aspect was the atmosphere which generally looked the part of a southern gothic horror and a beautiful one at that, as eerie as it was captivating cinematographer Sergio Salvati and director Lucio Fulci knew what they were doing and made something unique! The atmosphere was intoxicating and further amplified by Fabio Frizzi's wonderfully playful but suitably haunting score, at one point this music, usually playing as part of the soundtrack is actually being played by the blind character Emily which makes me smile, an amusing if subtle attempt to break the barrier between film and reality, clearly Fulci thought that making a film about the gates between hell and earth being broken he wanted to hint that all dimensions and realities are in danger of seeping into one another. Just as realities are in danger of merging and polluting one another so too do film genre's, the violence and shocking spectacle a lurid show of B-movie excess, the gothic style reminiscent of 60's haunted horrors, the playful use and abuse of linear structure coupled with the visually and spiritually captivating moments taken from the surreal end of art-house cinema and the plot a mish-mash of the three and more. The film has gained as many distractors as fans who will hate the film with a vengeance but lets face it any film that provokes such marmite reactions is doing something right, love it or hate it you'll never find another film quite like "The Beyond". Sadly the purely moment to moment nature of the film is its biggest enemy as well as its greatest ally and frankly many a person just can't get their head around the fact that this structure (or seemingly lack of) is deliberate and a good thing, Fulci never wanted to adhere to the rules of mainstream film-making with this project and didn't fail on their standards, instead he created his own rules based on the nightmare logic of H.P.Lovecraft and by those standards which very few have tried to challenge and even fewer have had any success in Fulci reigns supreme, a genius if not of commercial cinema then of fever dream delirium caught on camera!

Having waffled more than long enough on the merits of the film lets get down to this new special edition by US label Grindhouse Releasing, the set has a cool glow in the dark slipover cover which houses a two disc 14mm Blu-ray case with director Fulci's filmography inside the box along with a collectors booklet with a foreword by cult critic Chas Balun and a short piece by Martin Beine who debates influences from films that may have inspired this one, oddly enough the Japanese classic "Jigoku" which I'd always seen as an influence of sorts was absent as were the films of Jose Mojica Marins who I believe had an influence but its an interesting read to say the least. Inside the slipover is a cardboard wallet with the CD soundtrack which will delight fans of the film who love the sounds of Fabio Frizzi, its not just one or two tracks its a good 40 odd minutes worth. The film which is taken from a new master looks better than ever, the only other company to attempt this in HD were Arrow Video who sadly did a so-so transfer with all sorts of glitches and problems so this version is a very welcome and picture perfect edition in that respect, the audio commentary seen in many a previously released version is present with the late David Warbeck and Catriona MacColl along with original mono audio or all new 2.0 and 5.1 remixes which seem faithful to the sound of the film, the option to watch in Italian with English subtitles is also present but as the leads who take up much of the time spoke English I'd stay with the English audio, nice to know the option is there though.

The extra's on disc one feature the full colour opening in both German (as this opening was only originally for the German release) or in English along with several trailers, hidden extra's include 20 odd minutes of other members of the cast and crew talking about Fulci as lifted from the following 4 hour analysis on the man Paura: Lucio Fulci Remembered 1 [DVD] [2008] [US Import] which I won't recommend to the casual fan of his work but to those who love his films with a passion and want a little insight into the man behind the films its a great watch. Other hidden extra's include a stills slide, the edited opening from the US re-cut version "Seven Doors of Death" and possibly more I haven't found.

Disc two is packed with so many extra's I'll have trouble listing them but here goes, an extensive stills gallery including on set stills, actor and director stills, promotional items, previous releases and other titbits. A trailer reel for all Grindhouse Releasing's past releases and some in the works along with disc credits are also present along with a slew of interviews and a few more of those hidden extra's as per disc one including a short then and now look at a few locations. The interviews include one with US production manager Larry Ray, one with the US distributor (the guy who stupidly re-edited the film!) Terry Levine. Of the cast there is an interview with the lead actress Catriona MacColl (Liza) and one with star Cinzia Monreale (Emily). There are two archive interviews with director Lucio Fulci made in 1988 which fans may have seen but are of great interest, two appearances by lead actor David Warbeck at Euro-fest the first in 1994 with Lucio Fulci and another with Catriona MacColl two years later and two separate features on the 1996 Festival of Fantasic Films one focusing on Catriona MacColl the other on David Warbeck. A joint interview with special effects make up men Giannetto De Rossi and Maurizio Tranni is present and a long retrospective documentary with people all across the board polishes off what are over four and a half hours worth of interviews!!! Add to this the hour of extra's on disc one, the hour it took me browsing through the stills and the commentary and you've got yourself an ultimate edition of an awesome film, now what are you waiting for? Stop reading and just buy it!!!
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on 3 November 2012
I was concerned for awhile that my order of The Beyond [Blu-ray] [1981][Region Free] still had the black and white prologue. I emailed Arrow just in case it was, they were very good and prompt at replying to my emails and told me to forward the receipt from amazon for a replacement, but implied that it should be ok as the old version with the black and white prologue is now officially discontinued. Chances are, if people own this version, it may fetch quite a bit on ebay in the future!

Turns out it's just fine, the transfer is easily the best available to date, with heaps of extras and a booklet and poster, this is pretty much THE definitive version of Fulci's gore masterpiece that you're likely to get, and especially for the price, only £9, I'm now tempted to buy a few for some friends who are big fans of very gory movies. And trust me, this one is VERY gory indeed, and one of Fulci's best gore masterpieces (his PROPER masterpieces being Don't Torture A Duckling - Fan Edition [DVD] and Lizard in a Woman's Skin [DVD], which are amongst the greatest Giallo's ever made and really deserve a Hi-Def treatment by Blue Underground or Arrow).

If you've been put off in the past about buying this, don't worry, it's now corrected, and if you're happy enough with it (which you should be, with the huge wealth of extras on a seperate disc), give it a good rating to bump it up so others now feel confident to buy what is easily the best version around of this timeless gore classic!!
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VINE VOICEon 13 March 2005
This is one only for the serious Horror fan not your average 'Scream' fan, but of course if one is a serious Horror fan then you already owns this. Yes? .... No? Why the hell not! Are you crazy, this is the crowning glory of Italian zombie/gore/horror cinema?
Lucio Fulci began his career in film at the Experimental Film Studios where he was accepted by Luchino Visconti himself, and spent many years as an assistant director. During this period he made comedies, musicals and westerns, but it was in the late seventies/early eighties when he made the films that would secure his reputation as the King of Gore/Zombie flicks. Between 1979-1981 he made 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' (1979); 'City Of The Living Dead' (1980); 'House By The Cemetery' (1981) and 'The Beyond' (1981). All four are essential viewing for any Fulci fan. Did anyone see these at the cinema?I can't think of anything cooler than being able to say you saw these on the big screen. I'm sure the majority of people saw these for the first time on video and it's in this format that these films gathered their cult following, that is of course before they got banned and label as video nasties. Yeah sure ban them it'll only add to the legend. Fulci was the natural successor to George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, 1968) when he took the zombie film further by adding the blood and guts splatter of the 'godfather of gore', Herschell Gordon Lewis (Blood Feast, 1963).
'The Beyond' opens in 1927 where the film has monochromatic brown texture and within a couple minute we get our first taste of things to come followed then by the title sequence with it's foreboding music. Sergio Salvati and Fabio Frizzi who work on all four of the above-mentioned films delivered the cinematography and music respectively. Special make effects were by Giannetto De Rossi and Germano Natali, Rossi would eventually go on to work with Bernardo Bertolucci on 'The Last Emperor' (1987). The dubbing can be a bit distracting but that's just the nature of Italian cinema production techniques and no reason to slate the film. The great thing about 'The Beyond' is it's wonderful gothic atmosphere, slow pacing along with its surrealist plot. The key to any horror film is atmosphere and I can't believe the rubbish that Hollywood dishes up as horror nowadays. How many more times am I going to have to hear Blue Oyster Cults 'Don't Fear the Reaper' playing on a soundtrack or watch the beautiful people running away from hyper energetic wire-fu zombies. Oh please, this is the way zombies should behave.... they hardly move.
It would be silly of me to say that this is great cinema when it's not anywhere near the genius of many, many world cinema giants. What is important though is that it is viewed within the context of gore/zombie cinema, a much-maligned subdivision of horror, not art house or even mainstream cinema. If gore/zombie films are what you like then this is for you, if not then that's ok, but within context this is a five star zombie film. Fulci didn't care what the critics thought of his films but rather what the fans wanted. Check out the other three of this zombie quartet all of which are must haves for serious horror collectors.
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on 17 May 2013
ITALIAN BADXPLOITATION
I'm Italian and know very well all italian seventies cinema, once considered trash and then partially (or totally) re-evaluated and reconsidered.
Well, there are definitelty some gems, and there directors who were not enough appreciated as they should.
This does not mean that everything from that era is great just because it looks rough, wild, rude, and completely indifferent to cinematographic rules and standard.
THE FILM
This film, for example, is to me one of Fulci's worst and I would like you to explain me why it should be considered a great film or a great horror, considering how badly they are shot, conceived, directed and scripted.
No problem in loving this amateurish movie-making but, believe me, we give the world far better horror director, like Argento and Mario Bava (also see Pupi Avati seventies films: fantastic!).
To me, considering Fulci a master, at least by watching this film, is totally misleading.
Of course there are some unsettling and well done moments (including the ending) but it seems like a totally improvised film, made on-the-go, with probably little money but even fewer ideas.
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on 20 September 2012
I bought my copy of "The Beyond" from Amazon.co.uk and can now confirm that they are supplying the sepia prologue version.
Originally Arrow made a mistake and used a transfer that had the prologue in black and white and you had to send your disc back for it to be exchanged for the correct version. Thankfully this is no longer the case.
The picture and sound quality of this film is superb on this disc. I have seen this film many times in many different formats and can honestly say this is the best I have seen or heard.
Of course it comes with the usual Arrow package of informative booklet, double sided post, a choice of four covers and a slip case.

The extras on the disc are huge and are spread over 2 discs.

On disc one we get an introduction to the film by Cinzia Monreale, 2 audio commentary tracks, 1 from Antonella Fulci and Calum Waddell, and a second track from David Warbeck and Catriona MacColl. Also included on disc one is Cinzia Monreale remembers 'The Beyond', Catriona MacColl Q&A from Glasgow film theatre and open your eyes easter egg.

On the second disc we get One step Beyond: Catriona MacCall remembers a spaghetti classic
Beyond Italy -Louis Fuller and the Seven Doors of Death
Butcher, Baker, Zombie Maker the legacy of effects wizard Gianetto Di Rossi
Trailers, alternative colour prologue sequence and more.

Highly recommended discs for this cult classic.
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on 14 January 2013
This is a review for the Blu-ray, not the film itself.

The transfer is wonderful and one of the better ones I've seen done with Italian prints of this age. I gained so much more appreciation for the production values and it really made me realize how great the cinematography is in Lucio Fulci's films. Despite the content, this is a very high-quality-looking film and this Blu-ray is a wonderful means of viewing it. Even if you end up hating the film, you'll at least appreciate the transfer. Colors are natural-looking, black levels are nice, and everything looks so lush that one could almost believe the film was shot a few years ago, not in 1981.

I've read the disputes about the prologue's color being altered in the first pressings (is that what they call it when they make Blu-rays?) of this film. All I can say to that is that my copy, ordered in December 2012, has the proper sepia-colored prologue.

As for the sound, it was perfect for me, but then I don't have external speakers anyway. One of the problems I often find with Blu-rays of old Italian horror films is that the background music will be extremely loud while the dialogue will be hard to hear. This often leaves one scrambling to adjust the volume throughout the movie, which is a nuisance when watching any film, to say the least. Here, I was glad to be able to leave the volume set at one level and not have to constantly adjust it.

The packaging, as is typical with all Arrow releases, is a treat in itself. There is also a booklet inside the case that I have yet to read and (I think) a poster, though don't quote me on that.

All in all, this is a stunning transfer that breathes new life into the film. I thank Arrow and all those involved for making these lesser-known Italian horror movies available in such pristine condition.
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on 24 February 2015
A woman Liza inherits a hotel Louisiana, however after a series of death finds out that the hotel stands on one of the 7 gateways to hell where the dead to return to claim there property.

Style rises above substance in one of Lucio Fulci's best films. Like some of his other work The Beyond is a little incoherent at times however Fulci delivers some of his best work in a highly atmospheric stylish horror movie. The film has some great set pieces- a man falls from a ladder can't move ands is clawed to death by spiders, a young girl is being confined by her mothers blood in a mortuary are just 2 in a movie filled with some great sequences. Performances are also a strong point, McColl, Warbeck, Keller are all great but, I think Veronica Lazar is fantastic in a small role as Martha a very strange housekeeper who came with the hotel and she does get a great send off. The only real downside for me is the story it is a little ponderous at times seeming to just go from death scene to death scene but that is only a small negative.

While the film is not for everyone with it's strong gore and violence, fans of Italian and horror films fans will no doubt love this little gem of a film, and one that didn't deserve it's reputation as a video nasty.
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on 9 December 2008
I think we all know the story by now of this Fulci classic, but here it's briefly explained anyway: Catherine MacColl inherits a rundown louisiana hotel that was built on one of the seven gateways to hell (explained in the great intro).When a plumber digs through one of the basement walls he unwittingly opens the gateway..
"The Beyond" features great cinematography from Sergio Salvati(a Fulci regular during his best period) and of course stylish, excellent direction. There is a very gothic look and feel and it's also eerie and highly atmospheric. The great music from Fabio Frizzi is creepy and effective and there's plenty of suspense too and i haven't even mentioned the gore yet. The deaths are some of the best you're ever going to see. These grisly set pieces with FX by Giannetto De Rossi are sublime, very bloody and still look excellent today. Sometimes audiences have been divided on the ending of the film, but personally i consider it a brillaint finale and the films a winner from start to finish.
Now just sit back and enjoy this Fulci classic again.
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on 24 November 2005
I've waited since the last ice age to view this uncut gore-fest of a movie and I can safely say it was well worth the wait. I did manage to aquire the edited version some time ago and there's hardly any gore in it at all. Although I don't find this film as enjoyable as "Flesheaters" it's still a must see for all horror fans - it would be a crime not to have this among your collection. It's typical of Fulci (especially the over the top gore) but as with a lot of Italian video nasties of this era, it's not without flaws...plastic spiders eating the obvious false flesh for instance. A painter falls about 30 feet from scaffolding and lands on his head so a lone doctor turns up, looks at his broken body and says he needs to go to hospital???? Also notice how many rounds the same doctor manages to fire off from a mere revolver and as usual the dubbing is pretty dire too, but shoddiness aside and you have a great horror classic which has been long overdue for an unedited release.
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on 13 September 2005
Its the goriest and most disturbing movie i have ever seen.Zombies(especially joe and one that grabs main female character's head in hospital),possessed dog,tarantula scene,musics,atmosphere are so disturbing.End of movie will leave you with thoughts (but you'll figure it out somehow).
Buy it if you are a horror fan and especially if you want to see gore and violence.
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