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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 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 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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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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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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Greetings from accross the pond. I pre-ordered this title as soon as it became available on Amazon.uk. "The Beyond" is my favorite Fulci film for many reasons. The film does lack a coherent plot, but that is part of the charm. You never quite know what to expect aorund the next corner. There is a palpable sense of unease and dread that permeates this film from start to finish. This is due to Fulci's direction, the excellent cinematography, and the great locations in Louisiana where they did the location work.

This film more than any other seems to reflect Fulci's outlook on this life and the next. He feels like we are living through this life, filled with pain, suffering, and torment, waiting for the inevitable void (or perhaps unending suffering)that lies in wait for us all at the end of our lives. When viewed through this construct the movie carries an even heavier sense of dread - a feeling like you're being buried alive with the characters.

The actors in this film do an admiarble job with the material they are given. I can only imaging them saying "What in God's name did we get ourselves into" every day when they received their scripts. I'm sure they figured it wouldn't matter in a few years because these films would vanish into obscurity in a few years. Fortunately for us (and them) they didn't vanish. In fact people slowly began to realize that Fulci's films were worthy of study and repeat viewing. Fans and critics began to see just how talented Fulci, his cast, and crew were. Looking at these films it is amazing to me that they came together as well as they did, especially considering they were shot with miniscule budgets, on very short location and studio shoots, and were shot on poor quality 35mm or sometimes 16mm film stock. Not to mention the fact that some of Fulci's location shoots here in America were done illegally with no film permits. In some cases they had to shoot very quickly and hit the road before the police arrived.

And lest we forget, these films live and die by the astounding Italian special effects artists. And they are indeed artists. They worked with very little and created some of the most stunning and visually disturbing scenes every committed to film. Even to this day the effect shots still hold up very well considering what they had to work with. I'll take these type of effect shots any day over the modern CG rubbish that litters horror films these days. No matter how many times I view Fulci and Argento films, I'm still amazed all over again by the shots the SFX technicians were able to create.

So for the film itself FIVE STARS ACCROSS THE BOARD......

NOW FOR THE BAD NEWS.....

Arrow really screwed up BIG TIME on this release. First of all who is the moron who didn't realize the prologue to this film should have been in sepia? Anyone who knows anything about this film knows this, so how did this escape Arrows attention??? Arrow originally said the B&W opening was on screening copies only. Then they said it affected "a limited amount of retail copies." Turns out they were lying. ALL of the released discs had the incorrect opening. In additon, the discs were on a 25gb Blu-ray disc, despite the packaging that stated it was a 50gb disc.

The PQ on the intial release was terrible. Fine object detail was very poor, DNR was clearly evident, and the brightness of the film was blown way out. I wanted to poke my eyes out and bang my head on the coffee table while watching the Arrow version of "The Beyond." I was indeed "living in terror." I was completely disappointed and frustrated.

I found out by chance that Arrow was offering a replacement program to people who wanted a corrected disc. I sent all my info to Arrow and received a prompt reply. It took awhile to get my disc after being put off for over a month. The corrected disc is a significant improvement over the initial disc. Fine object detail was significantly better, as was color. The brightness had been thankfully been dialed down. I can still see DNR, but it's not as bad as on the Arrow "City of the Living Dead" and "Inferno" releases. This version of "The Beyond" is the best the film has looked on video, but there is room for improvement. I understand that Grindhouse Releasing has the rights here in the U.S., and that they're in the process of prepping it for release. Hopefully they will do a better job.

The bottom line? Arrow was dishonest from the beginning about this release. Yes, they did offer a corrected disc to those of us who frequent select online horror sites. But what about all the other buyers who know nothing about the replacement? Arrow should have admitted they messed up, pushed back the release date, and corrected the issue BEFORE the blu-ray was released. That is unforgivable.

And shame on Amazon, a site I highly respect. Amazon should pull this out of circulation until they receive corrected copies. Amazon usually does this, so I'm stumped as to why they have not in this case.

Now Arrow is doing even worse with the upcoming "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage." Don't even get me started on that! "We couldn't screen the film until after we signed the contract" What utter rubbish! Arrow you are putting the nails in your own coffin, and shoveling the dirt into your own grave by releasing these bastardized films. Good thing we have Blue Underground and Bill Lustig to get it right!!!
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on 6 February 2014
Out of "The Big Four" horror movies that Lucio Fulci directed I would say the choice is tough, "Zombie Flesh Eaters", "City Of The Living Dead" and "House By The Cemetery" are the others in the running and each one a classic in its own right, but for me "The Beyond" is the the most interesting and best made of the selection.
At times I found the plot rather confusing and sometimes not making much sense at all but the style and the atmosphere of this haunted hotel / zombie movie come together to make this Lucio Fulci's finest moment.
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on 6 March 2001
At last, the B.B.F.C is seeing the light and this early eighties horror classic is the best of the spate of films which caused the censor problems during the 'video nasties' scare of 1984. It has gotten through uncut which is amazing! This film has a great creepy and disturbing atmosphere plus horrific special effects which made it very memorable. The tarantula scene or the little girl getting shot are tooo cool. David Warbeck and Katherine MacColl are terrific also fairing as well as the similar Ian McCullough and Tisa Farrow teamup in Fulci's other masterpiece-Zombie Flesh Eaters Hopefully more of these classics of gore cinema will be rereleased in their original form.
p.s. I don't have much hope for Cannibal Holocaust getting through unscathed though!
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on 18 November 2002
The Beyond
Beneath a run-down New Orleans hotel lies a dark, evil secret. The entrance to the underworld is waiting to be opened, and when the new residents of the hotel move in...the evil is awakened. Demonic forces of all shapes and sizes are rising up and violently attacking the living one by one. Can the text of an ancient book save the tenants from a horrible death? Will mankind prevail over the demonic forces, or will it perish in a bleak wasteland conquered by legions of the undead?
I found this movie to be a fun watch. It starts out kind of slow but picks up once the zombies start to arrive. On the cover of the DVD it said "WARNING: The SHOCKING and VIOLENT nature of this film may be too intense for some viewers." Well I didn't find this movie to be as violent as I was expecting from reading that. Instead I found that it was an interesting zombie tale from the 80's that was very stylish. Lucio Fulci loves the doing something to the eyes when someone gets killed. I really liked the part in the beginning of the film when a zombie reaches its hand through a hole and pokes the guys eyes out. Another memorable scene is when a zombie grabs a lady and shoves the back of her head onto a nail which makes her eye poke out. Plus the ending was a big surprise to me. The only reason this gets an 8 star rating is because of how slow the movie moves in the beginning and because I didn't think the music in the film fit the scenes. You get this music that reminds me of the kind of music you would find on the show "Love Boat." It does have a good bit of gore, and if anyone wants to get started on Lucio Fulci's movies, I suggest starting on this masterpiece.
This is a great DVD. The picture and sound quality are great. I would have liked it better though if you could have put the German Color Pre-Credit Sequence into the movie instead of just watching it in the special features. It really adds to the film to see it that way. Seeing it in its widescreen format really is a great way to watch it too, and best of all the DVD is the Uncut version of the film. There are two hidden features on this DVD. One is a very graphic trailer for the Lucio Fulci film called "Cat in the Brain" and the other is for the opening scene from "Seven Doors of Death" which is another title for The Beyond. To access the "Cat in the Brain" trailer, go to Images from The Beyond, highlight the menu button on the screen and then press the left arrow key on your remote control and you will highlight the Eibon symbol. Press Enter and you will get to see the "Cat in the Brain" Trailer. For the other hidden feature go to the Audio Setup area and highlight "Resume." Press the left arrow and you'll highlight the Eibon symbol. Click that and you can view the other title sequence from "Seven Doors of Death." For all the collectors I recommend you getting the Limited Edition version, that is if you can still find it. Though it has nothing more then the regular version Anchor Bay released except it has a few more posters. If you can't find that one then you should get the regular one, they are pretty much the same. I recommend this DVD to any DVD collector.
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on 26 May 2014
I have all 3 of these limited edition sleeved and reversible cover Blu-Ray films from the unofficial The Gates Of Hell Trilogy.
The first one City Of The Living Dead was amazing but I found The Beyond to be a bit of a let down.
The story is pretty good, the acting is not quite so good and some of the make up on the Zombies looks a bit rubbish. I get this whole classic horror thing and I understand Lucio Fulci is one of the greats. For me though this film didn't quite cut it,
The sound due to the poor ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) and Foley (Footsteps, doors closing and so on) work looks quite out of sync. This is not a fault of the authoring house it is just a case of bad post production. I had a listen to all 3 audio streams. The new 5.1 DTS HD-MASTER, the English Mono (original audio) and the Italian mono dub. I did this trying to figure out what was the original audio because I wasn't sure at first. It is definitely the English.
There are some classic moments and maybe for die hard horror fans this is one of the greats.
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