Friday, December 31, 2004

The Beyond (1981)


the past few days I've taken up the habit of watching movies at 3:00-4:00 am when Nicholas has his early morning breakfast. it's downright difficult to read or type while holding a baby in one hand and a bottle in another. so I pop in a disc for me and serve a bottle for the baby.

I watched again this anti-classic from director Lucio Fulci this morning while Nicholas dozed. I've a love/hate relationship with this filmmaker, a lot of his films are real turds, but he did make the odd movie that sticks in the mind's eye that won't go away.

any self-respecting fan of trash cinema will eventually come across Fulci's body of work. what to make of it is another thing entirely. this particular piece of celluloid is about a hotel in Louisiana inherited by a young woman (Catriona MacColl) that is one of the seven gates of hell. and because it is a gateway for the netherworld you know the shit will start to fly.

and it does right away. all of Fulci's films are notable for their gore quotient, and this little stinker ain't no exception. there are zombies amuck, heads blown apart, a painter ripped to shreds because he has the key to hell, etc. etc. the movie, however, is lushly photographed by Sergio Salvatti. I dare say Salvatti makes expert FX guru Gianetto De Rossi's work damn beautiful. it is probably no accident that hack Fulci's best films are good because of Salvatti and De Rossi. without them Fulci made movies that look downright fucking cheap. with this team in place Fulci is almost alright as a moviemaker.

if I've left the plot out it is because there really ain't one to be had. however, any film student interested in postmodern horror would do well to study this film for it's lack of linear plotting, really. it is succesful because it has no narration at all, so it skips pretty well between eras. any traditional storytelling would make this film less than the silly movie it already is.

so I watched it again while Nicholas slept. then both he and I went back to bed while the sun was getting ready to rise. be well and happy new year.