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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Beyond The Darkness (Blu-ray)
Beyond The Darkness (Blu-ray)
Severin // Unrated // July 25, 2017 // Region A
List Price: $34.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted November 15, 2017 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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Beyond The Darkness:

Beyond The Darkness is directed by Joe D'Amato. That's the pseudonym of Aristide Massaccesi, the director whom, if I understood one of the supplemental features correctly, directed only one feature he felt proud enough of to put his real name on. For the schlock we like, that's a pretty high batting average. Yet D'Amato (no stranger to unwatchable trash) out-does himself with Beyond The Darkness, (AKA Buried Alive etc.) a movie that's really hard to like, but nonetheless compels cultish repeat-viewings.

The upshot is that hot sleazebag taxidermist Frank (Kieran Canter) freaks out when his bride-to-be Anna (Cinzia Monreale) dies, so he starts sucking his creepy housekeeper's breasts (Franca Stoppi as Iris in a searingly weird role) and prepping his bride's corpse for hanging over the mantelpiece, so to speak. The (living) pair also kills a few nosy neighbors, gleefully chopping, burning, and soaking the corpses in acid. It's a Period Piece, which D'Amato cleverly jump-starts by wasting 15 minutes following the stud leisurely driving around in his taxidermy-mobile.

If you're looking for old-school intestine fondling, Beyond has you covered as Frank removes his bride's guts. If you want to barf, dig those hi-def shots of the woman's brains squirting out of the old 'vacuum-the-brains-out-of-the-skull' tubes. If you want stuff that's even worse, due to an over-infusion of psycho-sexual homicidal fury, D'Amato will dole that out for you as well.

Also! If you want D'Amato's time-killing ineptitude and lackadaisical attitude, you could do worse than Beyond The Darkness. (Porno Holocaust and Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead leap immediately to mind.) Monreale as Anna does a remarkable job with her role as a nude corpse. It's pretty clear she's breathing much of the time, but since her job consists of appearing inanimate while someone shoves a giant metal syringe up her nose, she's allowed the lapse. (Only Weekend At Bernie's takes the role of Lead Corpse further.) Meanwhile, Canter as the lovelorn sickie is quite remarkably bland. With feathered hair and a vacuous mien, he's the perfect serial killer; just simple and likable enough to seem trustworthy, while deep inside one discovers there's nothing there but an ego untroubled by killing to get its way.

Beyond The Darkness is one of those notorious shockers, once whispered about near back-alley video merchants. Nowadays anyone who wants to see it already has, but until recently they haven't seen it in this lovely Blu-ray version, with a fantastic career-retrospective interview with director Massaccesi. Somehow Massaccesi makes the gut-fondling, limb-chopping, face-melting fun seem not only competent, but entertaining, which is high praise considering the director's horror output. Score this up for your Video Nasties library. Highly Recommended.

The DVD

Video:
Beyond The Darkness has been kicking around in various VHS, DVD and at least one Blu-ray edition (Shriek Show) for many years. So you freaks who haven't seen it yet ought to be ashamed of yourselves! Severin Films brings us this 'uncut, uncensored, and restored in HD' AVC encoded 1080p transfer in a 1.67:1 ratio. I've slogged through the Shriek Show DVD as well as Thriller Video's Big Box VHS edition, and let me tell you, this looks better. Does it look a lot better? Or a hell-of-a-lot better? Shot on Super 16 millimeter film, Beyond's image is often grainy, mushy and soft. Damage and speckling appear here and there as well. If you're looking for reference quality, keep moving, but those who remember fighting with that Big Box will understand this is as good as the movie has looked. Colors are naturalistic and nicely saturated, and image details maintain their integrity fairly well throughout.

Sound:
Audio is dubbed in English for the DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo track, while the Italian language track comes in Dolby Digital 2.0. Both tracks are fairly unremarkable, with dynamic placement up to the task but none-too exciting. The Italian track sounds a mite thin, but elements on both tracks are mixed appropriately, with dialog clear and distortion and damage not evident.

Extras:
Severin lavishes some attention on extras, including a 70-minute Interview with Joe D'Amato (1999) that spans the gent's career, while finding him funny, humble, profane and more! A 15-minute Interview with Franca Stoppi is also pretty revealing, while humanizing her inhuman character. Actress Cinzia Monreale gets and 8-minute interview as well. Meanwhile you get a 4-minute Live Music Video of Italian prog-rock-shockers Goblin performing a selection from the film's soundtrack, plus 20-minutes of aimless footage of the Italian countryside, representing Locations Revisited. Is it scenic? Yes. Interesting? Save it for when you're too intoxicated and/or demoralized by the movie to do anything more than sit and stare.

In addition to the usual Theatrical Trailer, Severin tosses in a really nice extra, a Soundtrack CD from those groovy ghouls, Goblin (billed as The Goblins for the movie). It's an interesting mix of atmospheric stuff with Goblin's patented brand of pulsing, ominous progressive rock and it sounds great.

Final Thoughts:
Beyond The Darkness is one of those notorious shockers, once whispered about near back-alley video merchants. Nowadays anyone who wants to see it already has, but until recently they haven't seen it in this lovely Blu-ray version, highlighting in skuzzy fashion all the fun, entertaining, and most importantly relatively competent (for sleaze-meister D'Amato anyway) psycho-sexual gut-fondling, limb-chopping, and face-melting. With some nice extras including a Soundtrack CD, score this up for your Video Nasties library. Highly Recommended.

- Kurt Dahlke

~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com

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