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Beyond, The (UK Blu-ray)

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The Beyond UK Blu-rayReviewed by Gareth Jones

Directed by Lucio Fulci

Starring Catriona Maccoll, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale

Distributed by Arrow Video


If you’ve ever heard the name Lucio Fulci or exposed yourself in any form to Italian classics of exploitation, then you’ve likely seen The Beyond. Widely regarded as the masterpiece of Fulci’s career, the film itself needs very little introduction so, to keep it short:

Liza (Catriona Maccoll) takes over the running of the Seven Doors Hotel in New Orleans, hoping to have it reopened and running as soon as possible. Almost immediately, however, things get weird as horrific images, accidents, and disappearances plague the building. Of course, from the prologue the audience is aware of the hotel’s horrific past: An accused Warlock was lynched, chain-whipped and eventually melted alive with quicklime on the site… which also happens to be atop one of the seven gateways to hell. A gateway that has accidentally been opened.

Before long, Fulci is pounding out some of the most vicious assaults on the human body in his entire repertoire with eyes graphically gouged and stabbed out (natch); throats torn out in a torrent of gushing arterial gore; gruesome, growling, shambling zombies; mutilation (and eye removal) by spider and much, much more. An hallucinatory nightmare, The Beyond throws logical curve balls at you constantly that demand, as with many a Fulci flick, any expectation of complete narrative cohesiveness be abandoned in favour of just going along with the inexplicable supernatural events it conveys. Atmosphere is key here, and The Beyond bursts with creepy imagery, brutal violence and some genuinely horrific occurrences. The final act is amongst the finest the director has ever crafted, and the ending a piece of gothic perfection. Put simply, The Beyond is considered classic for a reason and not, under any circumstances, one to be missed.

Whilst obviously not having the best quality source materials available, Arrow have come up trumps with the high-definition transfer of The Beyond. The image is more consistently stable and punchier than any previous DVD release, but it’s not quite the same home run quality of their previous updates to Day of the Dead and City of the Living Dead. Some images retain high levels of grain, and flesh tones in particular tend to appear slightly washed out or waxy. Just when you think the hi-def choice may not be all that for The Beyond, though, up comes a scene that just looks phenomenally good – the discovery of Plumber Joe’s corpse, for example, throwing fine detail at you with absolute abandon amidst rock solid blacks. No other release has presented the film this well – especially considering we’re also treated to an English 5.1 DTS-HD MA track that is just excellent, allowing you to experience Fabio Frizzi’s astounding gothic score in amazing clarity. For the purists out there, Italian and English mono tracks are also available, with the relevant subtitles to match.

First up we have an interview with actress Cinzia Monreale, who played Emily, the blind girl, in the film. Here, she briefly recalls working with Joe D’Amato on Beyond the Darkness, before going into detail on her work with Fulci, and her experience in the role with The Beyond. At around 23 minutes, it’s a lengthy enough interview that succeeds in never being boring or repetitive.

Q&A footage with Catriona Maccoll follows. Taken at the Glasgow Film Theatre in March 2010 and moderated by UK critic/journalist Calum Waddell, this is again a lengthy but consistently interesting addition. Catriona is always lovely to listen to, and she lets no-one down with her frank and in-depth answers to various queries thrown at her by a sold-out audience at a screening of The Beyond.

An Easter Egg sees Sudden Fury filmmaker Darren Ward speaking fondly of his experiences with the much loved, and much missed, late David Warbeck.

The first of two commentaries comes courtesy of Maccoll and the David Warbeck. This is the same commentary found on the US release via Grindhouse Releasing so most fans will already know how that one fares. In short: very well indeed. The second commentary is an all-new offering with Antonella Fulci (Lucio’s daughter) discussing The Beyond, and her father’s work in general, moderated again by Waddell. Digging ever deeper, Waddell manages to pry quite a lot of information from the rather forceful (to say the least!) Fulci. What starts off a little rocky soon falls into good conversational rhythm and makes this well worth a listen.

If you check out the list below, you’ll notice that there are also a shitload more extras. In the final retail release, those not mentioned above will be provided on a second disc in the set. Unfortunately this was not provided in the press pack, but I don’t think it takes much of a mental leap to predict the score that this one’s getting for the special features!

Bottom line right here: Like Fulci’s City of the Living Dead and Romero’s Dawn and Day of the Dead before it, Arrow have loved the living shit out of The Beyond. This is the best we have ever seen or heard this film, and the number of extras not only on the disc, but simply inside the packaging is absolutely mind blowing. If you’re a fan of the masterpiece itself, Fulci in general, or indeed haven’t even seen it before, then don’t waste another second before clicking that link below and getting this puppy ordered. It’s also region free, so you US punters should also have it spinning just fine in your choice of player across the pond.

Special Features:

  • Four artwork options via reversible sleeve
  • Double-sided fold out poster
  • Collector’s booklet featuring an introduction to the film by Eli Roth
  • 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
  • Introduction by star Cinzia Monreale
  • AKA Sarah Keller: Cinzia Monreale Remembers The Beyond
  • The Beyond Q&A with Catriona Maccoll
  • David Warbeck & Catriona Maccoll Commentary
  • Antonella Fulci & Calum Waddell Commentary
  • Easter Egg: Darren Ward Remembers David Warbeck
  • 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 Zombie Maker – The Living Dead Legacy of special effects wizard Gianetto Di Rossi
  • Fulci Flashbacks – Dario Argento, Daria Nicolodi, Sergio Stivaletti, Antonella Fulci and others remember The Godfather of Gore
  • Alternative colour pre-credits sequence
  • Original International Trailer

    Film

    4 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features

    5 out of 5

    Discuss The Beyond in the comments section below!

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    Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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    We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

    In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

    Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

    If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

    The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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    Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

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    Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

    Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


    Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

    17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

    What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

    • Film
    2.0

    Summary

    Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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    IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor

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    Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.

    On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.

    The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.

    While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.

    What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.

    While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.

    • Alive in New Light
    5.0

    Summary

    IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.

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    User Rating 5 (2 votes)
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