Friday, 6 July 2007

Beyond The Beyond


I think I was about 10 when I first saw The Beyond, my brother rented the most gruesome horror film he could find and we watched it together. I thought it was extremely scary and shocking, I really had trouble watching it. But then my mother came home and when she saw what we were watching (we were in the middle of the spider scene) she became extremely mad and we had to turn it off.

Still, the film had made such an impact on me that I never forgot it. I told people about it and searched for reviews in film encyclopaedias. But I only became aware of such a thing as Eurotrash when I first search for this film on the Internet, about 7 or 8 years ago. At that time I was also finally able to watch The Beyond again, and so began my obsession with Italian B films.

It is obvious that on a personal level The Beyond is a very important film for me, but I also think that it is just one of the best films to emerge from Italian genre cinema and also the best film Fulci made. And when I see the film’s poster, I always have to think about that VHS from the Video For Pleasure label that my brother rented.

So for me The Beyond is the single most important and influential Italian genre film, the core of that entire cinema and of my obsession with it.

How about you?


Sylvain L said...


Interesting how these striking images seen at a young age first scare you, and years later keep on fascinating you; a bit as if drops of this poison inoculated as a child was flowing in your veins for ever.

I have a similar relationship with b-movies and Italian horror. It actually started with the posters and titles (as I could not watch the films).

I vividly remember two of them:

"Cannibal Holocaust", which title is so over the top it encapsulates all the horrible images you could think of - it feels like the movie is literally in its title. Two words which combination is both extremely gross and powerful.

And "C.H.U.D", which poster showing a monster coming out of a sewer kept me hypnotised. I would just stand here, a young 7-8 yrs old boy staring at a horror movie poster, imagining what terrible secret images it could contain.

Scary. And endearing at the same time.

Sylvain L.

giles edwards said...

It's all about "Deep Red" for me. Wrong aspect ratio, dubbed into English and on VHS but still an astonishing primer to what would become an obsessional love of Italian horror.

I devoured everything I could find after that -- limited to Bava's mid-70s stuff on the Redemption Video label Argento's backcat, Fulci, Lenzi and smattering of Deodato.

Second only to finding Sam Fuller, it's one of the things that makes me glad I love cinema.

Kathryn said...

I'm dying to see The Beyond, but Film Walrus REFUSES to purchase any of the incomplete versions or dubs. I think he's being ... too much of a stickler.

You're lucky!


brainbug said...

My introduction to Italian horror was another Fulci film: The Gates of Hell.

I watched it with my brother when we were renting every horror movie our local video stores had. We sat there dumbfounded as a drill was used on a man's cranium and maggots rained down from nowhere.

Truly bizarre, but this is how my love for foreign horror was born.

Two summers ago I had a chance to see it on the big screen in Toronto at a midnight screening, and it was one of the best movie experiences I've ever had.

herman said...

myself and james at bloody italiana had a discussion about this film the other day. we were wondering how we could write a review of this film.

The beyond is such an important film that its hard to write anything new about. so weve left it alone.

probably first saw it during its original UK release.

I remember the first time I saw CH for definate, it was the year of its UK release before the censorship laws.

I was about eleven or twelve and sent my brother to rent it. He was maybe 8

When he took the film to the counter he was asked if he was sure it was suitable for him, he said he didnt know cos it was for his brother. So we both got to see CH that day.

sylvain mentions chud above,it seemded that every other video you rented in the 80s had a trailer for chud. didnt the wonderful george kennedy have a bit in that film?

Dan said...

Great question and THE BEYOND, or more accurately SEVEN DOORS OF DEATH, is largely responsible for my own love of Italiano splatter and horror.

I'd already been renting hacked Italian VHS flicks like ASYLUM EROTICA (the re-titled SLAUGHTER HOTEL starring my hero Klaus Kinski) and DEEP RED THE HATCHET MURDERS but I hadn't seen any on the big screen.

Then my freshman year of college in Philly rolled around and everything changed. The Budco Midtown showed horror and trash double bills every week and I would blow off my Wednesday afternoon classes to go catch whatever they were showing.

Over the months I got to see SEVEN DOORS OF DEATH (the hacked version of THE BEYOND), BURIAL GROUND, HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY, GATES OF HELL and more. Even in its heavily edited state I could tell SEVEN DOORS was something special.

When a tape of an uncut, letterboxed Japanese print of THE BEYOND turned up on the grey market I made my first foray into that world. Soon I was tracking down uncut "collector's copies" of Argento flicks, cannibal mayhem and more.

But it was that first encounter with THE BEYOND -- a film I still love unfailingly, defend vehemently and watch frequently -- that pointed me towards the Italian cinema that has brought me so much joy through the years.

Walrus said...

My first Italian horror film was "Suspiria" and at the time I was only mildly fazed, mostly by the visuals. It wasn't until "Deep Red" that I fell in love with gialli.

Another big stepping stone was "The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh" which got me to break free from a purely Argento/Bava diet and try some of the less acclaimed works. Martino got me to love Italian cinema all over again.

K H Brown said...

For me it was Cannibal Holocaust and Zombie Flesh Eaters (i.e. Zombie) when growing up in the early 80s in the UK, prior to the Video Recordings Act. I remember going to the various video libraries that had sprung up locally and which my parents had joined, and seeing the Go Video sleeve for Cannibal Holocaust, while at school some of the kids with more liberal / inattentive parents would discuss Zombie Flesh Eaters "Strong Uncut" version. I never actually saw any of these films until much later - and to be honest I doubt I could have handled them as a child - but the seed was definitely planted.

The first Italian horror films I saw, all circa 1991/2, would be Inferno, City of the Living Dead (minus John Morghen's head drilling), Cannibal Apocalypse (uncut, but a very jumpy picture) and Zombie Flesh Eaters (the ultra-tame one put out by Vipco circa 1992).

I didn't see The Beyond until 2000 or so, via the Rolling Thunder rerelease at a horror festival, around about the same time as DVD and the internet started making lots of stuff available anyway. I must have watched it a couple dozen times by now.


The-Iron-Inspector said...

For me its gotta be Fulci's 'Zombi'. Back in the early 80's my parents bought our first VCR, a bargain at £400! They rented 'When a stranger calls' 'Zombi' and 'I spit on your grave' (which, I was'nt allowed to watch!) Lucio's slow moving, menacing zombies caused many a sleepless night!

As time went on I discovered Bava, Lenzi,Argento,Martino and the late, great Maurizio Merli!

But I guess I owe my love of Italian cinema to Mr.Fulci. Cheers Lucio for giving me the fear!!

Mirko di Wallenberg said...

My movie was "Sette orchidee macchiate di rosso" by Umberto Lenzi! That movie hooked for good on Italian B movies, gialli and especially Marisa Mell! Life was never the same after seeing that movie!