December 15, 2010

THE BEYOND (Zombie Classic)

On the third day of zombie, my true love gave to me.....

     3 eye gougings
          2-4-5 Trioxin,
          and a Sumatran rat-monkey.

(aka. Beyond the Door; E tu vivrai nel terrore - L'aldilĂ )

Director: Lucio Fulci
Writers: Dardano Sacchetti, Giorgio Mariuzzo, and Lucio Fulci
Stars: Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, and Cinzia Monreale

SYNOPSIS: As part of her inheritance, Liza takes ownership of an old hotel in Louisiana that is built over one of the seven gates to hell. When a corpse is discovered in the flooded basement -- the corpse of an alleged warlock tortured and murdered in the hotel back in 1927 -- the gateway is activated and all manner of tangible and intangible horrors invade the living world, including zombies. Liza and a local doctor become caught up in a living nightmare where reality thinly veils a phantasmagoric madness.

BEST LINE: "And you will face the sea of darkness, and all therein that may be explored."

BEST SCENE: A shootout in a hospital with a small legion of the living dead.

CLASSIC STATUS: Although Lucio Fulci is better known for the genre-defining classic ZOMBI 2 (REVIEW), he explored zombies in at least two other films: City of the Living Dead (1980) and The Beyond (1981). While not a straightforward zombie film, The Beyond is probably Lucio Fulci's most artistic and artfully-crafted movie. It's also a classic zombie film for its use of zombies not as a main threat but a creeping indication of a world where hell is bleeding into the world of the living. The Beyond is dream-like, hallucinatory, and incredibly violent and gory. The zombies are a manifestation of a world turning upside down as the barriers between the natural and unnatural world erode. It's a creepy, atmospheric, but also in-your-face grotesque haunted house story with a solid dose of zombie violence.