Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 1st, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1981
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writers: Dardano Sacchetti, Giorgio Mariuzzo, Lucio Fulci
Cast: Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale, Antoine Saint-John, Veronica Lazar, Anthony Flees, Giovanni De Nava, Al Cliver, Michele Mirabella, Gianpaolo Saccarola, Maria Pia Marsala, Laura De Marchi
BluRay released: March 14th, 2011
Approximate running times: 88 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian, Dolby Digital Mono English
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £24.99
Synopsis: A woman inherits a hotel that is plagued by mysterious accidents. After the death of her handy man she enlists the help of a reporter. Together the start to uncover the dark past of the hotel that she has inherited.
The Italian language title for The Beyond is “E tu vivrai nel terrore – L’aldilà”, which translates into “And You Will Live in Terror – The Beyond”. The Beyond was released in the U.S. under the cheesy title “Seven Doors of Death”. The Beyond was co-written and directed by Lucio Fulci whose notable films include Beatrice Cenci, Don’t Torture a Duckling, The Eroticist, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, Massacre Time, The Maniacs, My Sister in Law, New York Ripper, Perversion Story, The Psychic and Zombi 2. The Beyond features a brief acting cameo from Lucio Fulci in the role of the town’s clerk. On the production side The Beyond, features many of Lucio Fulci’s key collaborators like composer Fabio Frizzi, Cinematographer Sergio Salvati, Editor Vincenzo Tomassi and Producer Fabrizio De Angelis.
The plot for The Beyond is basic and only serves as the skeleton for the layers of flesh intricately applied on by director Lucio Fulci. The film is filled with many breathtaking and lingering set pieces, most notably the film’s ending is a haunting coda that perfectly brings together all the preceded it. Gore wise this film has plenty of it and the special effects are well done (well except for the spiders). The film’s opening pro-log is the most violent death scene in the film and it sets the tone for all the carnage that follows.
The film’s two leads Catriona MacColl and David Warbeck give strong performances that quickly draw you into their plight. Performance wise the film has many familiar faces in secondary roles like Cinzia Monreale (Beyond the Darkness), Veronica Lazar (Inferno) and Al Cliver. The Beyond is a solid example of what Lucio Fulci could do as a director if given the proper resources to work with. Ultimately The Beyond makes up for its basic plot narrative with a tour de force visual feast for the eyes that ranks among the most atmospheric horror films to ever grace the silver screen.
Note: This review is based on a screener disc and may not be representative of the final street product.
The Beyond comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Colors look nicely saturated and at times vibrant. Black levels look consistently good. With only a very few minor instances where they don’t look as strong as they do for the bulk of this transfer. Details look crisp throughout. There are no problems with compression and DNR varies in degree throughout. It should be noted that the opening prolog is in black and white. And not in its more familiar Sepia Tone.
This issue has been address by Arrow Video who states ‘We are taking this very seriously. The benefit of having PR time with check discs prior to release is it allows us to correct things where possible. They are only check discs that reviewers receive and do not always reflect the final product.
The restoration and colour grading for THE BEYOND took place in Italy by the owner of the film, we then received the HD Master in the UK where we felt that the restoration was not good enough so had additional work on the film carried out using an HD Archangel to fix and stabilise motion, weave, picture flicker, overscan and interpolation as well as MTI technology to remove marks and picture defects. Colour grading was completed in Italy and was not tampered with here, we are investigating the colour of the film from negative to master to disc and hope to have more information soon. Once we have more information we can discuss this with the technical team and ensure the right colour is properly presented on this Arrow Video edition.
Once we have further information we will happily communicate every step of the way what is happening and we hope that our customers will keep their confidence in us to deliver the best product possible come release day.’
This release comes with three audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English, a Dolby Digital mix in Italian and a Dolby Digital Mono mix in English. The strongest of these three audio mixes is the DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English. The audio sounds crystal clear, balanced and robust when its needs to. Range wise this mix does a superb job with this film’s ambient atmospheric soundscapes. The two mono mixes included with this release also fare well as there are no issues with distortion and everything sounds consistently clear throughout. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles that are easy to follow.
Extras on disc one (a BluRay) include a brief introduction before the film and a one on one interview with actress Cinzia Monreale AKA Sarah Keller (25 minutes 4 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles), a Q & A with actress Catriona MacColl (20 minutes 8 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and two audio commentaries, the first audio commentary with Catriona MacColl and David Warbeck and the second audio commentary is with director Lucio Fulci’s daughter Antonella and this audio track is moderated by Calum Waddell. Even though the interview with Cinzia Monreale primairly focuses on her work on The Beyond and other films that she appeared in that were also directed by Lucio Fulci. Some of her other films our touched upon. Most notably Joe D’ Amato’s Beyond the Darkness. The Q & A with Catriona MacColl is a well rounded discussion about the three films that she made with Lucio Fulci. The audio commentary with Catriona MacColl and David Warbeck is carried over from the film’s North American DVD releases via Grindhouse Releasing. This is a solid track that gives a fascinating glimpse into the making of this film via its two stars. The other commentary with Antonella Fulci and Calum Waddell, who discuss The Beyond and her father films in general. Also be on the lookout for a Easter Egg on disc one.
Extras on disc two (a DVD) include the film’s original International Trailer, alternative color pre-credits sequence, four featurette’s “One Step Beyond: Catriona MacColl Remembers a Spaghetti Splatter Classic”, “Beyond Italy – Louis Fuller and the Seven Doors of Death” – interview with US distributor and editor of ‘The Beyond’ Terry Levene, “Butcher, Baker and Zombiemaker – The Living Dead Legacy of special effects wizard Gianetto Di Rossi” and “Fulci Flashbacks” – Dario Argento, Daria Nicolodi, Sergio Stivaletti, Antonella Fulci and others remember The Godfather of Gore. Unfortunately we cannot comment on the extras for disc two. Since that disc was not made available for this review.
Also included with this release is a Four option reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork, double-sided fold-out poster, a collectible booklet with an introduction to the film by Eli Roth, director of “Cabin Fever”, “Hostel” and “Hostel Part II”, “Beyond Bombast” – an interview with Al Cliver by author and critic Calum Waddell; reprints of original lobby cards, stills and behind the scenes photographs from the collection of star David Warbeck.