Written by Stephen Thrower
Published by FAB Press
Ah, Lucio, we barely knew thee…
Throughout his prolific career as a director in Italy, Lucio Fulci managed to tackle just about every cinematic theme you could come up with, from comedy to sci-fi, from drama to crime, from kids films to erotica…Fulci did it all. But what we all know and love him for is the horror.
Films like The Beyond, City of the Living Dead and Zombie are what come to mind when the name Fulci is mentioned, and I’m sure he’d have it no other way. Steven Thrower, musician and long-time collaborator with Flesh and Blood Press, took it upon himself to sit down with as many Fulci films as he could find (indeed most of the man’s older works exist in Italian only, no subtitles, if they can be found at all) and put together this exhaustive tome known as Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci.
The book is broken up into segments of the director’s career, starting with his early days on comedies and crime dramas, and eventually leading to his more or less disappointing output in the early 90’s. Not content to simply throw out a plot synopsis and move on, Thrower manages to break down and examine the themes at the heart of all the films covered in this book, and does so with the skill and intelligence that only a true student of film could do. This is not some fan book written by a man that thinks gore is cool and Fulci made horror because he loved it, but by a man that has taken the time over the years to know almost every aspect of Fulci’s life, in order to better understand the work the director produced during his career.
Thrower is also not some doe-eyed fanboy that feels if it’s Fulci it means excellence. Quite the contrary, he is able to point out all the fatal flaws of Fulci’s early and later work and can at times be his worst critic. A sad turn of events in Italy in the late 80’s/early 90’s saw Fulci directing projects that he had no vested interest in, just doing it because he needed the work, and most of these are the ones in which Thrower is able to explain just why the films fall on their face, with barely a chance to live up to the glory of his previous work.
“Obsessive” is a great word to describe the details in this book. I have to say this is not for the casual fan of Lucio, but for the horror fanatic that needs to know every thing that can possibly be known about Fulci’s career. I considered myself a fairly well-read fan of the man’s work, by no means an expert but I’d seen enough to know what was good, but now I feel like I was barely a chump walking off the street and asking for The Beyond cause it had a cool title. Analytical and well thought out, Beyond Terror is something you need to read if you ever want to full understand horror and all its intricacies.
Did I mention the artwork yet? Holy Christ, readers, there is some beautiful works in here. Stills and poster reproductions make up the bulk of it, and I’d love to know where Thrower managed to get some of these ultra-rare images. I would almost recommend this book for the images alone, because it could very easily serve as a coffee table book that I’m sure would be a hit at parties. Fabulous color and stark black and white shots jump from the page to assault the readers with the images Fulci wanted the world to see.
Ultimately, this is a book that every horror fan should have in their collection. FAB Press recently began re-printing them due to overwhelming demand from fans, and it’s available from their website for only £19.99. A great deal for a book of this magnitude, let me assure you you won’t be regretting the decision to buy this, which you can do so right here.
Fulci was one of the most misunderstood directors in horror cinema, and even though Beyond Terror very briefly touches on his personal life, you will feel you understand the man and his motivations so much better from reading this book. His career was cut short just when he was ready to make a spectacular comeback, and it’s wonderful to see him finally getting the respect and admiration he so richly deserves.
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