Halloween, Horror

Beyond The Darkness (1979)

0 Comments 18 October 2011

Blu Ray cover for Beyond The Darkness

aka Buio Omega (Italian title)Blu Ray cover for Beyond The Darkness
Studio: Shriek Show
Theatrical Release: November 15th, 1979
Blu Ray/DVD Release: May 3rd, 2011
Rating: Unrated!
Review by Craig Sorensen

Frank, a professional taxidermist of some kind (played by Kieran Canter, star of “Erotic Flash”) is in love with Anna (Cinzia Monreale of “The Beyond”).  Anna just happens to be lying in the hospital dying of a mysterious illness, which may or may not be due to voodoo perpetrated by his crazy housekeeper Iris (Franca Stoppi of “The Other Hell”).
Anyway, Frank is in love with Anna.  He’s so in love with her in fact that when she dies he steals her corpse from the cemetery.  Being a professional taxidermist, he stuffs the corpse to preserve it so they can be together forever.  Along the way Frank runs into a few other ladies and murders them, has to dispose of the bodies (in the most disgusting ways possible of course), gets a creepy handjob from Iris, eats some stew, and has to get married to his housekeeper.  There’s also some business with a potential blackmailer from the funeral parlor and out of nowhere Anna’s twin sister Elena shows up.

So, if you’ve seen any of director Joe D’Amato’s (real name Aristide Massaccesi) horror films before you should know what you’re getting into.  If not, well I’ll let you in on the secret, that plot is really just an excuse for a ton of disgusting effects.  We get the main taxidermy scene, with intestines and organs yanked out of Cinzia Monreale’s torso and thrown in a bucket; we get a woman’s fingernails ripped out (I have no idea why); we get a corpse chopped up with a meat cleaver and dumped in a tub of acid and we get a body thrown in an incinerator.  There’s also faces bitten into, eyeballs torn out and someone gets stabbed in the balls.  Character and plot take a back seat to the revulsion.  There are a few atmospheric sequences but for the most part this is a showcase for disgusting effects.  This is pure exploitation.  So don’t go into this expecting something in the long line of atmospheric Italian shockers in the vein of Bava or even Fulci.

I think that Beyond the Darkness looks about as good as it could on Blu Ray.  From what I’ve gathered, this was shot on Super 16mm stock. And it looks like Super 16mm.  There’s a lot of grain here so if you’re one of those nuts who doesn’t like that kind of thing then steer clear.  It also looks like this was shot with a lot of soft focus filters and that certainly doesn’t give you a sharp image.  That’s not to say that I think it looks bad because I certainly don’t think so.  It looks much more film-like than the DVD to me.  It’s just not the film you would want to use to show off your new TV with.  But it looks like a good representation of the film to me.  The mono sound comes through loud and clear.  Dialog sounds fine to me and the Goblin score sounds better than ever.

As far as extras go, there is the original US theatrical trailer, an interview with actress Cinzia Monreale and an audio interview with art director Donatella Donati, all ported over from the DVD.  The case lists an audio commentary with Donati but I haven’t been able to find it.  Both discs only have the main audio track.  Maybe it’s some kind of easter egg.

- who has written 151 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

Craig hails from 'Parts Unknown'.

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