The Beyond (1981)

Behind this doorway lie the terrifying and unspeakable secrets of hell.
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The Beyond - Behind this doorway lie the terrifying and unspeakable secrets of hell.

Lucio Fulci has definitely created an Italian zombie movie classic with The Beyond. This movie is much more than your traditional slow moving zombie flick and at this moment in time I would rate it as Fulci's best zombie movie.

The movie begins in Louisiana, 1927, when a group of vigilantes break into the "seven doors hotel" and drag the occupant of room 36 down to the basement and nail him to the wall before throwing acid in his face. Despite being warned by the unfortunate acid victim the mob have crucified him on top of one of the seven gates of hell as foretold in the book of Eibon. Whoops!

The plot then jumps forward to 1981 when Liza Merril (Catrionia McCall) has recently inherited an old hotel from a deceased uncle and decides to move in. Unaware of its history she is in fact restoring the "seven doors hotel" and there's something not right in the basement... the 1927 murder victim is not as dead as he should be. Joe the plumber is the first to discover the undead in the basement, he goes down to fix a leak and ends up the victim of an eye-gougingly gruesome death after accidentally opening the doorway to hell.

Despite warnings about the hotel from the blind girl down the road, Liza perseveres with her attempts to renovate the building. The mysterious happenings continue to happen and it is not until Liza's new found doctor friend finds the Book of Eibon and the mystery is unravelled, but it seems to be too late as the zombie madness has spread throughout the hospital where the victims were taken. The blind girl seems to be the only person who knows what is going on but a zombie attack renders her guide dog undead and he ceases to be mans best friend. Soon hell is everywhere and... I won't say anymore as I don't want to ruin a classic Italian horror movie ending.

The Beyond is a beautiful production with masses of gory deaths and lashings of blood. The storyline can be a bit inconsistent but this seems to be quite common in Italian horror. Fulci seems to have a fixation with eye-gore and this is very apparent in this movie, which is definitely a bonus.

This is a must for gore hounds and fans of Italian horror. Go and watch it now!
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