Video Nasty 40: The Beyond

I watched Italian zombie film The Beyond (1981) in the hope of some Brexit respite, only to be confronted with the story of a one-dimensional woman (Catriona MacColl) who finds herself hopelessly out of her depth after inheriting an impossible situation (a haunted hotel) from a man with a melty face and refusing to give it up despite horrible things happening every 5 minutes, while people I thought were finished kept coming back. 

“At least we’ll have blue passports.”

The redundant DVD intro in which co-star Cinzia Monreale introduces the picture to “Britannic people” sets the incoherent-yet-oddly-charming tone, before plunging us into the second instalment in Lucio Fulci’s ‘Gates of Hell’ trilogy. The gateway to hell in question is a Louisiana hotel, which McColl is renovating to make it a little more Tripadvisor and a little less Pitadvisor. But not since Your Home in Their Hands has renovation work unleashed so much evil.

The best that can be said for this particular video nasty is that the lack of plot is matched only by the lack of restraint, as Fulci unleashes a Grand Guignol of epic proportions. His gore isn’t beautiful like Dario Argento‘s, but much of it is jaw-dropping, from the striking ‘Sea of Darkness’ scene (pictured above) to the sequence shot from the POV of an immobilised man (Michele Mirabella) whose face is being eaten by tarantulas. Aarachnophobes need not apply.

Otherwise, it’s not really stylish or sustained enough to be all that scary, although the sepia-toned, dust-covered sets have a creaky charm to them. Fulci’s focus is solely on the bloodletting (eye-gouging is his speciality), with zero fleshed-out characters but plenty of flesh-ripped-off ones. And that’s what’s great about this movie: every scene is the face-melting bit from Raiders of the Lost Ark. No Nazis though. So not exactly like Brexit.

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