(aka The Seven Doors Of Death)
This was the one Fulci film that I'd always believed to have been left fairly intact by the Australian censors (apart from one famous 'shot'). But seeing this uncut for the first time really showed me the light. Virtually every single damn gore effect in this movie is now longer, bloodier, and thus, more entertaining. The Beyond easily surpasses the likes of Zombie, The New York Ripper and City Of The Living Dead on the Chunkometer. While I personally prefer City and House By The Cemetery, The Beyond does deserve it's legendary status, being Fulci's most imaginative and original zombie film.
The anamorphic transfer is quite good, but slightly let down by an imperfect source print, which is occasionaly quite grainy, and also seems to have a couple of very, very faint horizontal coloured bars across the image. However, these bars are so faint that they're only noticeable at a few points in the film (the opening shot of Chapter 34 for example). Apart from that, the transfer is great with no noticeable compression problems and an overall sharp image.
While the transfer is generally very good, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track on this disc is an absolute stunner! I can't imagine Fabio Frizzi's brilliant, and at times grandiose, score sounding any better. This is a great disc to play loud and impress (or piss off) the neighbours. Dialogue is very clear, and sound effects are at times incredibly realistic. Dig the thunder in the opening sequence. Dig Warbeck's gunfire towards the end. Dig the 5.1 remix with a surprisingly large amount of split surround activity. Let us all pray that Suspiria will feature a soundtrack this good. Now I was pretty impressed with Grindhouse's Cannibal Ferox when it came to the audio, but this is on a whole new freakin' level. While it doesn't sound as impressive as Fight Club or Saving Private Ryan, I can categorically state that I for one would never have expected a Fulci film to sound this great, and that I seriously can't imagine it sounding any better, ever! If I had a little graphic for it, I'd give The Beyond a special smiley face award for Audio.
Well, once you're done crapping your pants over how good this disc sounds, there's still a heapin' helpin' of supplementary bits and pieces to look through. Firstly, you get a commentary with stars MacColl and Warbeck (who sounds disturbingly like Austin Powers). This is a charmingly delightful little chat between the two stars. Sadly, Warbeck passed away shortly after this was recorded - his poor health mentioned on a couple of occassions. There's a very brief interview with Fulci on the set of Demonia, and if anyone can send me a transcript I'd much appreciate it. Another brief interview with MacColl and Warbeck. More brief footage of Warbeck and Warbeck & Fulci speaking at conventions. There's also a few photo galleries. One of the more interesting, but least watchable exrtras (I only lasted about 20 seconds) is a video of some crappy thrash metal band directed by everone's favourite telephone abuser Jim Van Bebber, which intercuts live footage of the band with various scenes from The Beyond, for which I'm sure Van Bebber of course got permission to use. There's also a colour version of the opening sequence (normally sepia-toned). When you're done checking out these extras, keep searching. There's a couple of other interesting bits and pieces hidden away there.
Frankly, this disc is a must for any self-respecting horror fan. It looks pretty good. It sounds better than I ever would have imagined. And given the age and relative obscurity of the film, it has a fairly decent set of extra features. But do beware - it does contain the worst placed layer change that I have ever seen.
Note : The above review is of the standard release of The Beyond. For those willing to pay a little more, Anchor Bay has also released a Limited Edition version which comes in a nice collectable tin and includes a 48-page booklet.