Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 18 of the 30 Day Horror Challenge: Beyond the 7 Doors

Day 18 - Your favorite foreign horror film (outside of your country of origin) –

“Woe be unto him who opens one of the seven gateways to Hell, because through that gateway, evil will invade the world”.

Our second entry from Fulci’s classic Gates of Hell Trilogy, The Beyond breaks into our challenge at number 18 (because that’s the number of the question on Big Daddy’s list, yo). Previously I wrote about my love for this movie for a special edition of Italian Horror Week. I loved it from the start although I didn’t know it as The Beyond. My first exposure was a VHS tape in the dollar bin at Strictly Video in beautiful Hackettstown, NJ. The cover looked like something of a William Gaines knock off and went by The 7 Doors of Death. I’m a sucka for cheese ball names and comic art, so this fit my fifteen year old sensibilities just fine.

What a treat.. Simplistic synth score meets a rambling film full of every horror cliché you can imagine. I’m not sure if it terrified me as much as it confused me at first. What was the point of this film? Not even the entries in the Leonard Maltin Big Book of Movies could help me decipher it (they don’t review this picture or any Italian horror overly well)… (also the big book was not called the “Big Book of Movies”. Maltin can suck it with his turkey reviews of movies like Pieces). The movie had spiders, and I’m terrified of spiders. It had zombies; I love zombies. Torture and sadistic murder and I adore sadistic murder and torture :pur: Come to think of it, it’s hard to imagine a teenage boy not falling in love with the Beyond. It is missing the quintessential late 70’s early/ 80’s bush shot plus boobie chaser, but the actual horror goodie bag of tricks makes up for any hormonal imbalances.

If 7 Doors of Death was the penultimate teenage boy dream sans boobies then the non-Americanized Beyond is that same angst-filled teenage boy’s early 20’s fantasy. The music isn’t “Nine Inch Nails on Quaaludes” for starters. The score to this picture is dauntingly frightening and will put any causal horror movie watcher on their ass. Bring on some additional scenes of gore and violence and a DVD full of historical context. The Beyond as it is theatrically intended is refined, confusing and scarier than the other entries in the Gates of Hell trilogy. I still have a hard time fully grasping House by the Cemetery, but it’s only for lack of trying. City of the Living Dead is wonderfully gory and eerie, but doesn’t go nearly as far as The Beyond (thus the title?) City of the Living Dead is a gross out. The Beyond woos you.

If the moral of City of the Living Dead is that everyone dies sooner or later then the moral of The Beyond is that everyone loses sight of what is important when faced with death. Also, blind girls with Seeing Eye dogs that walk in the middle of foggy roads are doomed to have their throats ripped out by their very own dogs. It’s probably a Darwin thing. Also, if you go the library, spiders will eat your face off (especially in the the architectural designs of old houses in Louisiana). Also, don’t go into the basement alone or if you do, don’t let it be with a group of angry villagers who call you warlock and crucify you and cover you in lye. They aren’t your friends, Billy!

Anybody else wonder where they got the symbol of Eibon? I’ve read numerous accounts but none I believe. Anybody who figures this out a can have the luxury of branding it on me (you have to pay for the brand but you can hold the hot iron). I’m either looking for a free branding or a bad day on the farm. Mooo!

Interesting little factoid I picked up while reading the IMDB page about this one: “Errors in geography: This movie is set in the basement of a house in New Orleans, Louisiana. However, New Orleans is below sea level and no houses there have basements.” I thought the same thing (thus the above ground cemeteries). Also, the tag line is as follows “The seven dreaded gateways to hell are concealed in seven cursed places... And from the day the gates of hell are opened, the dead will walk the earth.” Every time I read things like this I question just how little Fulci really was involved with scandal surrounding the unofficial sequel to Dawn of the Dead, Zombi. I mean that tag line sounds awfully familiar doesn’t it kiddies? He probably wasn’t in on that marketing stuff. He was an artist, but I’m sure he clipped his coupons and his catch phrases.

Nothin’ but love for you Fulch!

-Dr. Terror.

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