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Beyond [Blu-ray] [Import anglais]
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A young woman from New York named Liza (Katherine MacColl) inherits a Louisiana motel that has been unoccupied for nearly 60 years. While restoring the old building, many of the workers meet mysterious and untimely deaths, each more ill-fated than the next. Furthermore, Liza is visited by a blind specter named Emily (Sarah Keller) who lectures from a 4,000-year-old book of collected prophecies that explains the motel is situated above one of seven portals to hell. As her sanity dwindles, Liza finds some much-needed stability in a local doctor named John McCabe (David Warbeck), who is determined to find a rational explanation for the recent state of affairs. Nevertheless, the protagonists are led through a maze of bizarre confrontations with beings beyond the realm of the living, and into an apocalyptic world of unknown horrors. THE BEYOND is at once the quintessential Lucio Fulci film and a staple in the overall Italian horror genre. The director's epic masterpiece is a blend of atmospheric surrealism and nightmarish visions (a grisly tarantula attack, flesh-melting acid spills, a softball-sized gun blast through the skull of a young zombified girl, and an eyeball impaling or two) that are definitely unsuitable for those with weak stomachs.
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That being said, the transfer to Blu-Ray is AWESOME. The picture is STUNNINGLY great! The sound quality is equaly as good. Seeing some of said features, while they didn't need said Blu-Ray treatment, are also equally well done. And having the Movie score/soundtrack, while not necessarily a feature I usually go for with most collections, was very neat to have. I wound up driving to work listening to it. Overall I give this 3 Disc Collectors Edition an A + (Amazon Rating of 5 Stars)
The only reason, and I mean the ONLY reason, I am giving this Film a 4 Star Rating is the simple fact that I don't find this film as good as his other work. Like "Zombie 2" or "House By The Cemetary". But please don't take the 4 Star rating as a reason NOT to buy this Edition. By all means, I truely feel this Editon of Grindhouse's "The Beyond" is EXCELLENT. And is well worth the money to purchase it. If you like Fulci & enjoy is work (or just simply enjoy Italian Horror Genre Films), than by all means, this Edition by Grindhouse is one of the supior editions I have bought. I personally am glad that I bought it & am enjoying it.
Many people hail Lucio Fulci's The Beyond his masterpiece though I would have to disagree with that and go with Don't Torture a Duckling, but The Beyond was a solid flick in the career of Lucio Fulci, which is best remembered for the crazy amount of gore, which believe me this film has plenty of. While I did enjoy The Beyond as I've gone back and watched some of Lucio Fulci's movies from the 70s I've sort of lost patience with his splatter flicks. While I still enjoy The Beyond and some of his other movies from the splatter era, but when compared to such movies as Don't Torture a Duckling, The Psychic and even Zombie his later work fails a bit in my opinion. But with that said The Beyond is still a solid movie by Fulci.
The new DVD released by Grindhouse Releasing is the same released a few years ago by Anchor Bay. Anchor Bay released two versions on DVD. They released a standard DVD with very little in the way of extras and they released a limited edition tin chock full of extra features. Grindhouse Releasing has re-released the limited edition tin (without the tin case) and normally I would give a negative review due to it being the same exact disc. But the reason I'm giving this DVD release such praise for one reason; the Limited Edition is now long out of print (same for the standard DVD).
Getting yourself a copy of The Beyond isn't easy to do that goes for both the Tin and standard DVD and if you are lucky enough to come across either you'll have to shell out a lot of money. While it would be nice if The Beyond had some new extras it's really not a very big deal since the DVD is very hard to come by now. For those of you out there that have the Limited Edition Tin there is no reason to buy the new DVD as long as the DVD you own is in good condition. All you are getting here is new cover art and that's it; for those with the regular DVD if you liked the movie a lot than I would recommend buying the new disc.
Some features include Images of The Beyond, which is a collection of stills from the movie as well as stills from the making of the movie, the score plays over the photos. There are also brief interviews with David Warbeck, Catriona MacColl and Lucio Fulci. Than we have Voices of the Beyond, which features interviews with several members of the cast and crew.
Voices of the Beyond is highly enjoyable, but truth is you won't learn anything new on Lucio Fulci. This seems to have been done at a horror convention and sections of this also appear on the Media-Blasters DVD for Zombi 2 (though they the interviews are different, but in both they pretty much say the same thing about Fulci). I suppose those who know nothing of Lucio Fulci will enjoy this more, but even we fans who already know about him will still find this enjoyable even if again nothing new is learned. There is also an audio commentary by David Warbeck and Catriona MacColl, which was on both Anchor Bay DVDs, but anyways, the commentary track is one of the very best out there. You learn a lot about the film and it's actually quite funny at times.
The DVD list an onset interview with Lucio Fulci, but the interview is actually from the set of Demonia. We also get the lost German pre-credit sequence, which can also be viewed in English. All the extras on the DVD are excellent and a must have for fans. The only new feature is a brief introduction before the movie with star Catriona MacColl.
As for the picture and sound I believe it's the same as the Anchor Bay release. I previously owned the Anchor Bay VHS so I cannot compare the Grindhouse DVD to the Anchor Bay DVD, but I do believe it's the same exact transfer. Overall this is an excellent DVD and once again Grindhouse Releasing proves why they are the very best for horror films. The Beyond DVD is a must own for all fans, but like I said if you have the Tin and it's in good condition there's no reason to buy this. Despite the Grindhouse Releasing being the same I'll cut them some slack since the DVD from Anchor Bay was very tough to come by these days.
The Beyond (Lucio Fulci, 1981)
Many hardcore fans of Italian horror cinema consider The Beyond to be Lucio Fulci's best film; more than one will likely opine, if you ask, that The Beyond is the finest Italian horror film ever made. While that's probably stretching the case more than a little (I still prefer Fulci's raw, almost unbearably campy Zombie), there's a whole lot to be said for The Beyond as loads of fun. Without doubt, it is one of Fulci's brightest moments. (Note that all description below is from the uncut version on the Anchor Bay limited edition DVD, and as I've never seen the cut version released to theaters, some of what is described below may not sound familiar to those who have already seen the movie, which had a theatrical re-releases in 1998 as Seven Doors of Death.)
The Beyond takes place in the Louisiana bayou country. It opens with a scene in 1927 detailing the brutal lynching of Sweik, an eastern European of some sort who the natives believe has placed a curse on the town. During his lynching, Sweik protests that, in fact, he's the only person keeping the town from falling under the curse. Needless to say, they mob doesn't listen to him, or a very short film we'd have. We then skip to 1981, as our heroine, Liza (Fulci regular Catriona MacColl, seen most recently in the well-received 1998 film A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries), inherits the hotel where Sweik was staying at the time of his unfortunate demise. The place is haunted, especially Room 36, Sweik's room. As well, the basement is constantly flooded, and no one can figure out why. A plumber is dispatched to find the source of the water, and in his attempt he instead finds the source of the hauntings. Complications, as they say, ensue.
The Beyond works in no small part for the same reason that John Carpenter's contemporary film The Fog works--the events are presented with absolutely no context. The filmmaker hands up a plate of hot, steaming horror and raises no questions as to why any of this is happening. This is an important distinction; whether the film itself raises unanswered questions is often the difference between the success and the failure of a venture like this one. Fulci doesn't raise the questions, and The Beyond works. Argento doesn't raise the questions, and Suspiria works. (Argento tried to raise the questions in Inferno, and boy, did it ever not work.) Fulci throws us an extra bone, however, in
allowing one character to raise one question that no one in the film is capable of answering. Very nice touch, that.
Beyond (no pun intended) the film itself, the DVD release falls apart a bit, which is somewhat surprising in any Anchor Bay release, and is especially troubling in such an expensive, limited disc. Most of the extras that come with the release are either soundless (which is quite annoying when the extra is, for example, an interview!) or have a harsh soundtrack overlaid onto them. Might have been nice to use Fabio Frizzi's score for the film, which is up to the usual Frizzi standard and even surpasses it in places.
The film itself is definitely worth watching, both for fans of Italian horror specifically and the more general horror-fan population alike. However, you may want to wait for a non- limited release from Anchor Bay or Elite before picking it up on DVD. **** for the film, ** ½ for this particular release of it, so we'll compromise and say ***.