Review Date: November 5, 1999
Released by: EC Entertainment
Release date: 1999
Region 0, NTSC
Widescreen 2.35:1 | 16x9: No
Lucio Fulci's Italian gore films have a huge cult following. The famous Italian director directed over 60 films and worked on over 120 scripts in his lifetime. The Beyond is certainly his most popular film. There have even been comic books created on it, with more comics in the works that revolve around The Beyond. There are even t-shirts available. Lets take a look at the DVD release of The Beyond from EC Entertainment.
In 1927 a group of townsfolk gather in New Orleans, Louisiana and storm a hotel where a warlock named Sweick is living. The warlock is finishing is painting called "The Beyond". The townsfolk crucify the warlock and kill him by throwing acid on him. Before dying the warlock warns them that the hotel is one of the seven gateways to hell and only he can protect them from it.
54 years into the future (1981) a woman by the name of Lisa (Catriona MacColl) inherits the hotel to hell. She decides to restore the hotel and reopen it for business. During the restoration process a number of bizarre events occur; first a painter is injured after falling from the second story from where he was painting, next a plumber is found dead in the basement. A blind woman by the name of Emily (Sarah Keller) warns Lisa that she must leave the hotel immediately as she is in great danger.
Lisa teams up with Dr. John McCabe (David Warbeck) and begins to investigate these strange events. They soon discover that the door to hell has been open and the dead are walking the earth. Now they must escape the walking dead and avoid the entrance to hell at all costs.
When I first saw The Beyond I wasn't too impressed with it. It may have had something to do with the fact that I had spend $65.00 on the laserdisc and I was sort of expecting the holy grail of all horror movies. I was expecting this mainly because of so many people hyping the movie on the Internet. After my second viewing of The Beyond, which happened to be for this DVD I'm reviewing now, I've warmed up to it a bit more. My expectations obviously weren't as high this time around...actually, they were quite low. But what I got was good film that was fairly creepy thanks to a wonderful score, great effects, and wonderful cinematography. Fulci's visions of hell definitely gave me some chills this time around - the darkness, the vast openness of it all, the bodies lying about, the music, the effects on the characters eyes after viewing it all.
No doubt Fulci is the man for gore lovers. This guy loves his gore. He seems to be obsessed with gouging out eye balls one way or the other throughout all of his films. The excessive gore in his films turn off some but it also attracts many others. Fulci films seems to be an acquired taste. I remember when I first saw Zombie I didn't like it too much. I eventually purchased the Zombie Special Edition LD only because I heard it was becoming rare (which wasn't actually true) and that the DVD of Zombie wasn't very good in terms of quality (which is true). After my second viewing of Zombie I liked it much more than the first time around - same thing happend for The Beyond.
Everyone is going to have their own opinion on The Beyond. Just taking a look at some of the user comments on The Beyond over at Internet Movie Database proves that quite well. Some people love it while others hate it. Regardless, all horror fans have to see this film at least twice and decide from there whether they like it or not. Just make sure you wait a month or two before watching it the second time around.
The Beyond is presented in it's original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1. It is not 16:9 enhanced for widescreen TVs. The transfer is quite good; it's the same transfer used on the laserdisc released not too long ago. According to the DVD jacket it's "digitally remastered from original 35mm negatives in 1996". Few scratches or speckles appeared throughout the film. The colors were generally well balanced throughout the entire film. Some scenes did seem overly bright but I only noticed that during 1 or 2 scenes total. The entire film seems to have slightly faded colors but I suspect it's that way even on the original theatrical print. Most likely it's just due to the age of the film and the fact that it was a low budget film. Still a great transfer, however. It'll be interesting to compare it to the Grindhouse release (assuming it ever comes out). Main complaint would be lack of 16:9 enhancement.
The Beyond is presented in stereo sound. Dialogue and musical score sounded terrific. No hisses or pops heard.
Trailers for The Beyond and Eaten Alive. Eaten Alive sure is a strange looking film. I'd consider putting the trailer on-line but I may have the government knocking down my door if I do. Also included are a Lucio Fulci filmography and biography that outline his career and list all of the films he's been involved with.
If you've seen the movie and like this film then I highly recommend this DVD. The quality is terrific. It's lacking in the extras department but given that it's an import DVD and doesn't even have a US release yet there's not much sense in complaining (UPDATE: Grindhouse / Anchor Bay have released their own special edition DVD of The Beyond - be sure to read our full review). Image quality is the most important thing and this DVD delivers. Even if Grindhouse releases a special edition someday I personally don't think spending $25.00 now is going to hurt too many people. If you haven't seen the film find someone who can dub you a copy (no, not me) of the DVD or laserdisc so you can see this film as it was meant to be seen - uncut and in widescreen.
: EC Entertainment released Region 2 and a Region 0 DVD for The Beyond. Be sure you verify what you're buying is the Region 0 unless you have a region free player, then it doesn't really matter.
Movie - B+
Image Quality - B+
Sound - B+
Supplements - C
- Running Time - 1 hour 24 minutes
- Not Rated
- 1 Disc
- Chapter Stops
- Stereo sound
- English Subtitles
- Theatrical trailers - The Beyond, Eaten Alive
- Lucio Fulci filmography
- Lucio Fulci biography