This page is dedicated to the memory of David Warbeck
(1941-1997)

 

I can remember the moment as if it were yesterday when I first heard of "The Beyond," or in this case the "Seven Doors of Death.  While scanning through a back issue of Fango (Issue #62, p.33), I stumbled upon a review for a Lucio Fulci film entitled "Seven Doors of Death". The review read like a gore-hound's wet dream: "...the buckets of blood and gore keep you wide awake until the ambiguous and creepy conclusion." Already a huge fan of two other Fulci masterpieces, "Zombie" and "The Gates of Hell" (aka "City of the Living Dead"), I was foaming at the mouth and itching to get my filthy little fingers on this piece of mayhem. You have to remember that these were my pre-internet days and any knowledge I had of the massive bootlegging market that existed in the States was limited to my history lessons of the booze runners of the 1930's.

After reading that short little blurb in Fango, I decided to head on out to my local video store which at the time had a pretty sizeable horror collection. As I entered the store my expectations were pretty low, because what were the chances that an obscure little film released in the mid-eighties would have found its home on the shelves of this establishment? When I entered the horror section, I began scanning the box covers and to my surprise and amazement I found a copy of the "Seven Doors of Death." My heart began beating faster with anticipation, because surely the horror gods had been smiling down on me that day...or were they laughing???

I quickly ran home, ecstatic to see what was certain to be the newest addition to my growing horror collection. As I popped in the VHS tape, what had been joy quickly turned to an overwhelming feeling of sickness. This couldn't be a film by Lucio Fulci, the man, the myth, and the genius behind films like "Zombie" and "City of the Living Dead". This film lacked the trademark Lucio gore, and the soundtrack almost made my ears bleed, but alas it was true, this was a Fulci film...or was it???

Several years later as I entered the magical world of the internet, the truth would finally be revealed. I happened upon an ad in Fangoria for Blackest Heart Media and decided it was time to take a major step back into the world of real horror. When I called Shawn Smith and asked for a few suggestions, the first words out of his mouth were "The Beyond". He went on to say that the film had been originally released here in the States as the "Seven Doors of Death" and I quickly interrupted, stating that I had already seen that load of shit. After a few more minutes of being coaxed and promised that this was in fact Fulci's true vision for the film, I decided to take another chance on it and boy am I glad I did. From that day forward, "The Beyond" quickly found its way into my top-ten horror films of all time.

With the recent release, on video and DVD, of "The Beyond" by Anchor Bay (although true credit for this magnificent addition to any self-respecting horror fan's collection should go to Bob Murawski and Sage Stallone of GRINDHOUSE Releasing), I think a whole new generation will be introduced to what Fulci playfully calls A plotless film, (with) no logic to it, just a succession of images". I, myself, wouldn't sell "The Beyond" that short, because in my opinion its story (see below) gets stronger with each viewing, but I would definitely agree that the imagery does drive the atmosphere necessary for creating a surreal vision of both this world and beyond.  Every time I watch this film, the more magical it gets. I see more and understand to a greater extent the vision Fulci brought to the genre, and thus my admiration for his contribution grows almost daily.

Just as a composer must keep in mind the sound of each individual instrument while composing his symphony, so did Lucio, although on different levels (story, gore, casting, score, etc.), when he was creating his masterpiece "The Beyond". Having already discussed the story and Fulci’s vision above, let's now focus on some of the other ingredients that have helped to propel "The Beyond" into my top-ten horror films of all time. First, let's look at the leads–the charming David Warbeck and beautiful Catriona MacColl. Both actors had worked successfully with the Maestro on separate occasions prior to "The Beyond". David Warbeck's experience with Fulci began with the Poe-inspired "The Black Cat” in 1980. Also a Fulci veteran, Catriona MacColl had starred as Mary Woodhouse in "The City of the Living Dead" and later as Lucy Boyle in "House by the Cemetery". Although the script lacks any in-depth characterization, both Warbeck and MacColl were able to breathe life into John and Liza, making them believable and real.

Second, what would a Fulci film be without over the top gore? The sequences in "The Beyond" that blow me away and rival those in "Zombie" and "City of the Living Dead" include: crucifixion of the wizard, Joe the Plumber's demise, and the exploding-head scene in the hospital. All three of these, along with many others, were top notch scenes and important to the storytelling in this narrative. Many people may be turned off by the gore in this film. My advice to them is to go back and watch "Scream" and leave the real horror for us hardcore fans. Others may be critical of the special effects, calling them amateurish, which they are not, but I for one both cheer and applaud these efforts, not only for their effectiveness, but also for the lack of budget with which they were accomplished. Fulci’s ability to utilize gore in driving the story and creating atmosphere is almost unparalleled in today's movie-making. Is this true of all Fulci's filmmaking??? No, there were many films later in his career where he felt it necessary to exploit gore mainly because the scripts he was shooting were lacking substance, but in the time span from "Don't Torture a Duckling" to "New York Ripper," he was truly the "King of Horror" and gore was partly the foundation for his success.

Finally, the score for "The Beyond" is magnificent. Just as imagery and gore are important to any Fulci film, the score is the final piece that melds them together and helps heighten the effectiveness of the storytelling. Fabio Frizzi's (“The City of the Living Dead,” “Zombie,” and “Manhattan Baby”) score does a wonderful job in creating tension, building suspense, and enhancing the overall atmosphere of the film. It is the final component in Lucio's symphony of fear. The score for "The Beyond" is easily one of my all-time favorites and a prize in my collection.

I hope that this page, as well as the site, will help educate people about Fulci, a man who has done more for horror than most people are willing to give him credit for. Again, anything you can contribute to this site will be greatly appreciated. Go out, find "The Beyond" and enjoy!!!!!!!


The Beyond

Louisiana 1927. As the thunder clashes and the cool summer mist fills the night air, tiny boats can be seen in the distance carrying groups of torch-bearing vigilantes towards the shoreline of the Seven Doors Hotel. When the mob arrives, they quickly make their way through the lobby and up the stairs to Room 36.  As they storm in, fear and ignorance of the unknown force them to brand its occupant  (Antoine Saint-John) a warlock.  Brushing aside the warning of a supposed  madman, the mob drags the poor man down into the basement where he is tortured with quicklime and crucified. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to them, their evil deeds have been performed over one of the seven gates of hell mentioned in the Book of Eibon.

Fast forward to 1981, Liza Merril (Catrionia McCall) has recently inherited an old hotel from a deceased uncle and decides to move in, hoping to change her life. As the renovation begins, strange and bizarre things start happening to the hired help. A painter falls from atop a scaffold when he sees a set of ghostly eyes peering out at him. Later while searching in the basement for the source of a massive leak, Joe "the Plumber" (Giovanni De Nava), pays the ultimate price when he inadvertently cracks open the doorway to hell.

As time goes by, Liza is befriended by a local doctor (David Warbeck) and they both struggle to understand the macabre events going on around them. Moments later, a mysterious blind girl (Sarah Keller), who seems strangely haunted by the past, appears on the scene to warn Liza of the danger, but is she too late???  Only later when John finds the Book of Eibon is the truth finally confirmed. (Woe be unto him who opens one of the seven gateways to hell, because through that gateway evil will invade the world”).  As the film draws to its frightful conclusion, all hell begins to break loose (literally) and John and Liza are left to do battle with hordes of zombies. Will they be able to escape THE BEYOND?????

  • Originally released in the U.S. under the title " Seven Doors of Death".

  • The original U.S. release severely cut some of the gore, and the film featured a completely different soundtrack. Even Lucio's part (find out more below) was cut from the film.

  • Lucio Fulci is credited as Louis Fuller in the original U.S. release.

  • The star of "The Beyond" David Warbeck had written a sequel to the film ("Beyond the Beyond"), but because of his untimely death, never saw it completed. Blackest Heart Media may be translating David's script into a graphic novel sometime in the near future.

  • The film is banned in Germany and Norway.

  • The British release of this film is cut by 1 minute and 39 seconds.

  • The budget for "The Beyond" was $400,000.

  • The film grossed over $1 million since its limited re-release as a midnight movie in 1998 by Rolling Thunder Pictures and Grindhouse Releasing.

  • Most of the film was shot on location in Louisiana, particularly New Orleans.

  • In the beginning og the film, the painter that falls from the scaffold (Anthony Flees) was actually the Film Commissioner of Louisiana

  • Much like Alfred Hitchcock, Lucio Fulci like to put himself in his own films. In The Beyond, Lucio plays the town's librarian.

  • The whole zombie-rampage hospital scene that occurs at the end of the film was only included to please the German distributors because of the zombie craze that was sweeping Germany at the time.

  • Street derelicts were used in the final scene, because the production was running out of money.  One problem that occurred is that these supposed corpses couldn't remain still, so they were placated with booze and which served to keep them occupied.

  • If you watch closely when David Warbeck gets in the elevator with Liza (Catriona MacColl) and Jill (Maria Pia Marsala), he can be seen trying to load his pistol by dropping bullets down the barrel.  

  • The film had a five-week shoot of 12 hour days in Louisiana. 

 

 


Click on box cover for these recommendations
ZombieCity of the Living DeadThe House by the Cementry

Click on image to navigate our other
"The Beyond" pages.

Frightful Facts

Checkout the new House of Horrors t-shirt for sale now which features classic images from Evil Dead, The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Zombie, and Dawn of the Dead.

Buy "The Beyond" (Collector Tin) on DVD at  Amazon.com

Buy the DVD of "Don't Torture a Duckling" at Amazon.com

Buy the video "City of the Living Dead" at Amazon.com

Buy the DVD of "New York Ripper" at Amazon.com

Checkout Chas Balun book, "Beyond the Gates". It takes an in-depth look at the man, Lucio Fulci.


 

Visit Antonella Fulci's tribute to her father, Lucio Fulci.

Coming soon from the creators of the House of Horrors is Fulci.com---focusing on the films of Lucio Fulci.

Visit Chas Balun Official Website. 

 

Previous Film 
                                    Silent Horror     

 The House of Horrors is © by Internet Zombie Productions, 1997-PRESENT, all rights reserved.
All other mentioned entities within this domain belong to their respective copyright owners and will not be infringed upon herein.