'The Beyond' (1981) Review

The Beyond 1981by Chris Wright, MoreHorror.com

"And you will face the sea of darkness, and all therein may be explored.” Lucio Fulci certainly does not fail to be epic in this masterpiece called “The Beyond.” Granted I have not seen every Fulci movie but he has not failed to impress with the horror movies I have seen so far. I have yet to see any of his earlier Giallo movies. To many, “The Beyond” is part of Fulci’s “Gates of Hell” trilogy along with “City of the Living Dead” and “House by the Cemetery.” Out of the three, “The Beyond” I found to be the scariest with a solid story to back it up. You don’t see much of this movie as far as being released on formats. It was released by Anchor Bay in Widescreen 2:35:1 about a decade ago. It received a DVD release much later.

The story is about the seven gates of hell and the Book of Eibon. We first see details as to what is going on in this hotel in Louisiana that is falling apart by showing what happened in the 1920s. A man named Schweik has gone insane in the hotel after finding out the hotel is on one of the seven gateways to hell. He finds himself going crazy drawing a painting of a deserted plain littered with corpses of the dead. The town grows weary of him and nails him to the wall and throws hot wax on his face. It’s much more gruesome to watch than to write. Then the present day story is in 1981 where a recent inheritor of the hotel Liza is trying to fix the problems at the hotel in New Orleans but strange events start to occur.

Words can’t describe how hauntingly nightmarish this movie is. It “feels” realistic as every Fulci horror film I have seen thus far. The character Liza is realistic and plays her role well. Dr. John McCabe is the typical skeptic of what is going on until the zombies are literally in his face! The spooky blind girl trying to warn Liza is Emily, who does a great acting job. The “Book of Eibon” which is a staple of this movie is a fiction book in real life and talks of demons and parallel universes. Despite the book itself being fiction, Eibon was a devil-like god that is real in very early civilizations.

The gore is amazingly real. From a zombie pushing a person’s eyeball out to a little girl having her entire face blasted right off, this movie certainly keeps you on your toes! From the time one of the painters of the hotel dies, it’s as if Liza and Dr. McCabe slowly shift from the reality they once knew to “The Beyond” fashioned with darkness, misery, and despair. Strange events happen everywhere they go in this nightmarish dream even at the local hospital where acid falls on a woman boiling her face off slowly. Even the blind girl Emily dies at the fate of her dog turning on her and biting huge chunks out of her neck after the zombies hurt the dog.

People of the 21st century! I strongly advise to check out this movie and any other Fulci horror movie. When I see amazing gore like this and dark horror stories like this, I seriously question what has happened to the horror genre in general! Even the very end of this movie leaves you depressed but it was amazingly well done. Fulci’s prominent camera zoom is fully present in making you cringe through these scenes up close and personal.

Is this movie perfect? Nope. The scene where a man in a library falls from the ladder and spiders come to attack him looks extremely fake. But the scene is effective as they tear into his face! I ask myself, since this movie seems like a haunting nightmare, are our nightmares really supposed to be fully coherent? The dubbing is well done and the atmosphere in this gloomy Louisiana town is perfect. It’s difficult to cherry pick a flaw in this movie when it creeps you out. “The Beyond” has a respectable 6.8/10 on IMDB. I am encouraged to check out some of his earlier movies. I just wish more channels showed his movies.

“The Beyond” (1981)
Directed By: Lucio Fulci
Written By: Dardano Sacchetti, Giorgio Mariuzzo, and Lucio Fulci

Starring: Catriona MacColl (Liza Merril), David Warbeck (Dr. John McCabe), Cinzia Monreale (Emily), Antoine Saint-John (Schweick)


Submitted by Michael S (not verified) on Thu, 09/29/2011 - 11:22

Michael S's picture

Definitely one of Fulci's best films. Very surreal and atmospheric.

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