The Beyond (1981)

Everything starts innocently enough when a mob of angry townspeople in the Louisiana bayous way back in 1927 invade The Seven Doors Hotel and brutalize a painter staying in Room 36. There is also a book involved with the title “Eiobon” which is one of those books that some off screen voice always reads from promising gloom and doom for dopes foolish enough to buy the old Seven Doors Hotel.

To the beginning bed and breakfast owner, it sounds a bit like a money pit. The unscrupulous real estate agent in me though is already trying to figure out how to work “every room comes equipped with a luxurious gateway hell and HBO” into the inevitable listing once the new owners get trapped in the zombie-infested basement!

And if that whole “gateway to hell” problem that the hotel comes with wasn’t bad enough, the basement is flooded and a construction worker just took a header off a scaffold. OSHA should probably just set up a field office in the driveway!

Liza is a New York City gal who has inherited the old place from her rich uncle and is determined to reopen it. She encounters one of those creepy movie blind girls (Emily) with strange green eyes who puts ideas into Liza’s head that Room 36 would make a good location for the “1980s Italian gore movie” theme room.

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The doctor who responds to the construction accident is Dr. John McCabe (David Warbeck), a guy who has this perpetual five o’clock shadow and runs around battling zombies while pointlessly determined to find a scientific reason to it all. (Who cares why! Just keep splattering heads, Doc!)

Following another on-the-job injury involving a plumber and a zombie, there’s even more problems with the renovation when the guy in charge of the project goes to the hall of records. This is the place where really old musty books are kept that usually contain lots of damning information about whatever property, marriage, death, or birth is the subject of the movie.

He gets the blueprints for the hotel and is shocked to see that it is a lot bigger than he thought (as is so often the case in movies where we’re just killing time between over-the-top gore scenes, the floor plan is never referred to again) and is so surprised that he falls off a ladder and smack dab into a tarantula attack thus creating yet another opening on the hotel construction crew. (The Seven Doors Hotel renovation project is doing wonders for the county’s unemployment numbers!)

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What little excitement in the movie occurs in the last ten minutes when McCabe and Liza are confronted by an army of zombies at a hospital. McCabe shoots some of them even including a little girl whose eyes turned green at her parents’ funerals. The Hippocratic Oath doesn’t apply to zombies, no matter how cute!

Liza and McCabe go down to the basement of the hospital, but somehow end up back in the basement of the hotel! Dang, it was a lot bigger than anyone thought!

They wander around down there and walk toward a hole in the wall where light is emanating from. Turns out it was emanating from hell its freaking self because the hotel is no where to be found and the desolate landscape is littered with corpses! This remodeling job really got botched! I think we know which way this “love it or list it” is going to go!

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If all of the above wasn’t enough of a recommendation, then there is this to consider: The Beyond is pretty much the same movie as City Of The Living Dead! In both films, some doofus has gone and opened up a door to hell, leaving a couple of people to survive some yucky scenes sometimes involving maggots, sometimes spiders, but always involving eyes getting injured! You’ve got gore, you’ve got bad acting by Catriona MacColl, and as a bonus, a much better finale than in City Of The Living Dead!

Make no mistake, this is a Lucio Fulci zombie movie, and as such, most of it makes no sense. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to what is happening, only that Fulci came up with some good gross out scenes to film.

Who knows why the doors to hell would be found in an old hotel in New Orleans? Who can say what was up with the hospital turning into the hotel? Who has any idea why Fulci made the same movie twice with the same woman? Really, who did he think he was? Bruno Mattei?

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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