Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Movie Review: The Beyond (AKA Seven Doors of Death)
Set in Louisiana, the film opens in 1927 as we witness the brutal murder of an artist named Schewick at the Seven Doors Hotel. Scheweick is whipped, crucified, and melted with some sort of acid by the locals. Years later, Liza Merril (Catriona MacColl) moves from New York to Louisiana after she learns that she has inherited the somewhat run down hotel. Intent on opening the hotel, Liza moves forward with renovations even after two tragic accidents involving a roofer and a plumber. As the renovations continue, stranger and stranger events continue to happen and Liza begins to realize that her inheritance has more problems than a flood basement and faulty wiring. Strange visions, terrible revenants, and a mysterious book called the Book of Eibon (a nice Lovecraft nod) begin to reveal that the hotel itself houses a portal to Hell which has been disturbed.
Prior to watching this film the only Lucio Fulci film I had seen was Zombi 2, but let me say that I now plan to try and watch more of his stuff as I'm impressed by what I've seen so far. While it sounds like I've mostly focusing on the gore, I do want to emphasize that this is a really well rounded horror film. It has a fantastic cast, an excellent soundtrack that is bizarrely wonderful, and an atmosphere that just perfect in contributing to the sense of impending doom that we know is inevitable. Fulci's trademark closeup shots brilliantly capture every stomach churning death, every sinister omen, and every look of intense terror. As you watch the movie, pay attention to how much Fulci focuses on the eyes of the characters. Not only do we see closeups of the characters' eyes to help us understand them, but eyes and sight are a central theme of the film. When characters are attacked, often it is their eyes that are targeted. When we initially introduced to the evil presence lurking in the Seven Doors Hotel, it is a glimpse of eyes. One of the most haunting characters is a young blind woman, an almost prophetic figure who attempts to intervene in the film's tragic events. Watching The Beyond, you'll either find your own eyes intensely glued to the screen or covered by your hands as you turn away from the horrors this film has to offer. Give it a try and see how you fare with your visit to the Seven Doors Hotel.