Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Beyond

 “My idea was to make an absolute film, with all the horrors of the world. It’s a plotless film, there’s no logic to it, just a succession of images.”- Lucio Fulci

Well, congratulations Fulci, you succeeded!

The film in question is The Beyond by Lucio Fulci, the second in his "Gates of Hell" trilogy.  I finished it last night and I have to say at first I hated it.  Really, my first reaction was "fuck this movie, fuck Fulci, I am done."  But now that I have had a chance to sleep on it I have to change my original opinion.  Plus, I have the third and final film in the trilogy, The House by the Cemetery at home now so I just can't give up. 

The Beyond is basically a film without a plot, without logic, without any sense of purpose except to unnerve the viewer.  It begins in Louisiana in 1927 at the "Seven Doors Hotel."  An angry mob storms the hotel and kills an artist, I guess because his work was really awful.  They don't just "kill" him, they melt him but not before nailing him to the bathroom wall and whipping the shit out of him.  This somehow opens one of the "seven gates of hell" that happens to be in the basement.  Oh, there is also a hot blond and a book called "Eibon" which is like the Necronomicon except 100% less awesome.

Jump to the 80s (alright!) and we meet Liza (Catriona Macnoll) who has just inherited an old hotel in Louisiana.  Yeah, you guessed it: the Seven Doors Hotel.  It needs a lot of work and there still is that pesky "doorway to hell" problem to deal with in the basement.  Now to try to continue to describe the plot would be impossible, since I am not quite sure myself what I saw.  I will now resort to my new favorite, lazy writing crutch: the numbered list.

What happens in The Beyond the best I can tell.
  1. The hotel is haunted
  2. The two people who "came" with the place may be ghosts
  3. or they are just weird
  4. Joe the plumber gets his eyeball popped out
  5. This does not seem to concern the cops or the town Doctor
  6. The town Doctor is a stud
  7. The hot blond from 1927 is back and now she is blind!
  8. The hot blond must be a ghost
  9. A blind ghost?
  10. Blind ghosts have their own seeing-eye dogs.
  11. Is the seeing eye dog a ghost?
  12. Some horrible stuff happens in room 36
  13. The stud Doctor does not believe Liza
  14. but decides to help her anyway
  15. A redhead girl (who I think was Joe the Plumber's daughter) watches her mother get killed and then turns into a tiny blind demon.
  16. The hot blond blind ghost gets killed.
  17. by her dog.
  18. Another guy gets killed by tarantulas
  19. Enough tarantulas can tear a grown man's face apart
  20. What tarantulas have to do will the gates of hell I will never know.
  21. Hey, it's that Necronomicon rip-off "Eibon"!
  22. The Doctor and Liza are in the empty hospital
  23. empty except for Zombies!!
  24. who were all deranged white mental patients
  25. except for the redhead girl who gets shot in the head by the Doctor
  26. The doctor really can't figure out you have to shoot the zombies in the head to kill them?
  27. Seriously, he like shoots 10 zombies in the stomach: no effect.  One in the head: dead.
  28. Yet he continues to shoot them in the stomach.
  29. Where did this man go to medical school?
  30. All of a sudden Liza and the Doc are back in the hotel basement.
  31. They look confused as well.
  32. Then they are in Hell, which looks just like the painting that artist from 1927 was painting when he was killed.
  33. They look confused as well.
  34. End film.

The scene in hell is one of the best in the film, and one of the few were there is no eye trauma.  No, wait, they both turn blind.  Eye trauma.  Thanks to for the Fulci quote.  I can't really recommend this film to anyone except Fulci fans.  They say this is his "masterpiece."  I say it is very interesting: just don't expect it to make any sense. 


Cellar Door said...

What a great list.

Will Errickson said...

Fulci is an acquired taste; his stuff are usually best as background filler b/c to try to watch them as linear movies is usually going to result in frustration. THE BEYOND is cool and all, has some great moments; my fave is ZOMBI 2, aka ZOMBIE.

The Book of Eibon has a long history as part of Lovecraft's mythos, first seen in the 1933 Clark Ashton Smith tale "Ubbo-Sathla."