The Beyond (1981)

the beyond poster 1981 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Gory, creepy movie with good visuals

Plot is all over the place

Movie Info

Movie Name:   The Beyond

Studio:   Fulvio Film

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):   April 29, 1981 (West Germany)/March 11, 1983 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

beyond acid bath face melt

When I want to get rid of unsightly blemishes, I use acid

Liza Merrill (Catriona MacColl) has inherited a country estate outside of Louisiana. With plans to turn it into a hotel, Liza has begun renovations, but the construction has unleashed a horror. The house hides a secret in its foundation and a gateway to Hell has been opened. As the darkness begins to spread, Liza and the local doctor John McCabe (David Warbeck) are out to find the truth…but it could be too late!

Directed by Lucio Fulci (who also contributed to the script with Giorgio Mariuzzo and Dardano Sacchetti), The Beyond (L’aldilà) is a zombie supernatural thriller (which also sometimes goes by the name 7 Doors of Death). The film is considered the second part of Fulci’s loosely tied “Gates of Hell” trilogy following City of the Living Dead in 1980. The film was met with mixed reviews and criticism due to the violence and gore.

the beyond zombie eyes

Cool that Peter Jackson stopped by for a cameo…*sarcasm*.

I had wanted to see The Beyond for a while, but with movies that are controversial, it can sometimes be difficult to find a copy for an affordable price. Having seen City of the Living Dead, I was curious how this film would unfold…and a double pack with The House by the Cemetery was a must buy. I will say it was a worthy investment.

I’m not going to pretend like the script for The Beyond is anything great. It is a rather typical set-up with something being unleashed and an unending creeping horror. The characters almost humorously underestimate the danger and disregard horrible deaths that seem to make no sense. It leads to a weird, eerie story that is almost dreamlike in nature…which leads to an ending that could easily not be satisfying to people.

Another challenge of the film is the acting. The main cast of Catriona MacColl and David Warbeck is pretty weak and the film has a dubbed nature that also subtracts from performances even more. The zombies are pretty uninspired, but I do like the pig-tailed Jill (Maria Pia Marsala) who looks like Wendy’s mascot came alive with Pippi Longstocking in tow.

the beyond seeing eye dog kills owner

Bad dog…bad dog

Italian horror films are all about atmosphere, and The Beyond doesn’t fail. Fulci has a real style with his films and through his style he builds a strange tension that is often common in foreign films. I don’t know if it is the language barrier or something about the differences in culture and “what is scary”, but the Italian horror films use their visuals and music to create a sense of dread that seems darker than most American movies.

The Beyond is an effective horror film. It is mostly gobbledy-gook in its plot, but that doesn’t matter because the movie captures you in its ride. It is loaded with gory action that has you cringing and grossed out (while still somehow lacking realism at points). If you are a fan of horror or zombie movies, it is worth checking out (though it is more of a supernatural movie). Fulci finished his “Gates of Hell” trilogy with House by the Cemetery also released in 1981.

Related Links:

City of the Living Dead (1980)

The House by the Cemetery (1981)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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