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(aka "L'Aldila - E Tu Vivrai Nel Terrore" or "7 Doors of Death" or "Über dem Jenseits" or "Die Geisterstadt der Zombies" )

 

directed by Lucio Fulci
Italy 1981

 

Liza (Catriona MacColl, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD) inherits the Seven Doors Hotel outside New Orleans. Little does she know that it was built upon one of the seven gateways to hell. Fifty-years before, locals had crucified eccentric painter Schweik (Antoine Saint-John, THE KILLER MUST KILL AGAIN) as a warlock and the discovery of his walled-up body (and the eye-gouging death of a Joe the plumber [Giovanni De Nava, HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY's Dr. Freudstein]; if only that had been the fate of last election's "Joe the Plumber") has opened the gates. Mysterious blind girl Emily (Sarah Keller, aka Cinzea Monreale of Joe D'Amato's BUIO OMEGA/BEYOND THE DARKNESS) - who lives in the old house by the train tracks where Louis Malle's PRETTY BABY was shot - warns Liza to leave the hotel, but she is determined to turn it into a success with the help of creepy mother and son housekeepers Martha (Veronica Lazar, INFERNO) and Arthur (Gianpaolo Saccarola, TENEBRE). Meanwhile, the corpses of Joe the plumber and Schweik (whose mummified corpse has inexplicably been hooked up to a brainwave monitor) start to cause mayhem at the local morgue. Visions of Schweik's crucified corpse haunt Liza and people around her start suffering protracted and gory deaths (usually involving fatal injuries to the eye). Liza and rugged Dr. John McCabe (David Warbeck, THE BLACK CAT) meet cute over the ailing body of another of the hotel's victims. John spends most of the film looking for a logical explanation until the beyond has to spit forth a shuffling army of the living dead for Liza and John to take the hint that there's no more room left in hell.

After a memorable quartet of giallo film (PERVERSION STORY, A LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN, DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING, and THE PSYCHIC), Lucio Fulci hit international gold with ZOMBI 2, an in-name-only sequel to George Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD (released in Italy as ZOMBI). He followed ZOMBI 2 with a trio of Lovecraftian Gothic horror films - with zombies usually lurking on the periphery -
CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE BEYOND, and HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY. While CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD had a dusty Savannah, Georgia substituting for the fictional New England town of Dunwich and was shot in 1.85:1, THE BEYOND saw the return of Fulci's ZOMBI 2 producer Fabrizio de Angelis and make-up effects man Giannetto de Rossi (HIGH TENSION). Combined with other Fulci mainstays cinematographer Sergio Salvati (THE BLACK CAT) and composer Fabio Frizzi (CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD), THE BEYOND was a more sumptuous looking and adventurous production with beautiful locations - and De Paolis sets - stand-out gore set-pieces and a number of wonderful atmospheric sequences culminating in a pessimistic-yet-eerily-beautiful vision of the titular beyond. It marked the second of three Fulci collaborations with MacColl and the first of two with Warbeck, who share a nice chemistry in underwritten roles (their chemistry extended to one of the most amusing horror movie commentary tracks prior to Warbeck's early death). The supporting cast and the crew featured a handful of Fulci regulars (Fulci himself has a speaking part as a librarian). Salvati's scope framing and lighting combined with Frizzi's choral/orchestral/electronic score, Studio Sound's typically exaggerated sound effects (including screeching tarantulas), and De Rossi's prosthetics form the apex of Fulci's horror work (with HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY and THE BLACK CAT equally atmospheric but less gory and not-quite-so apocalyptic). Fulci's mid-to-late eighties and early nineties suffered from TV-style production values (and gauzy photography) and halfhearted rehashes of his gore set-pieces, while illogical elements of the narratives felt more like lazy scripting than metaphysical haze.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 29 April 1981 (Italy)

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DVD Comparison:

Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Arrow Video

Region 0 - PAL

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:23:48 (4% PAL speedup) 1:27:30
Video

2.34:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.16 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.31:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.75 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Video

 

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay Entertainment

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround; English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Subtitles English (for Italian audio), English (For English audio), none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.34:1

Edition Details:
• DISC 1:
• Audio Commentary by actors Catriona MacColl and David Warbeck
• Audio Commentary by Antonella Fulci, moderated by Callum Waddell
• AKA Sarah Keller: Interview with Cinzea Monreale (16:9; 24:02)
• THE BEYOND Q&A Session with Catriona MacColl (16:9; 19:18)
• Easter Egg: Cinzea Monreale Greeting in English
• DISC 2:
• Beyond Italy: interview with US distributor Terry Levene (16:9; )
• Butcher, Baker and Zombiemaker: interview with effects man Gianetto Di Rossi (16:9; 30:23)
• Fulci Flashbacks (16:9; 25:08)
• One Step Beyond: interview with Catriona MacColl (16:9; 29:09)
• Alternate Color Pre-Credits Sequence (16:9; 16:02)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 3:15)

DVD Release Date: March 14th, 2011
4-panel Digipack in Slipcase

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.31:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by actors Catriona MacColl and David Warbeck
• Images from the Beyond (4:3; 16:18)
• U.S. Re-Release Trailer (16:9; 1:24)
• International Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 3:23)
• German Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 3:17)
• German Color Pre-Credit Sequence [in English or German] (16:9; 8:20)
• Necrophagia Music Video (4:3; 5:17)
• Easter Egg 1: Title Sequence from US version 7 DOORS OF DEATH (4:3; 1:31)
• Easter Egg 2: CAT IN THE BRAIN U.S. Trailer (4:3; 1:56)

 

DVD Release Date: 10 October 2000
Amaray

Chapters 53

 

Comments

NOTE: OFFICIAL RETURNS POLICY FOR ARROW VIDEO’S THE BEYOND BLU-RAY and DVD

When your copy of The Beyond (
Blu-ray or DVD) arrives, check it to see if it has the monochrome opening. If it does and you want a replacement all you need to do is drop an e-mail to: info@arrowfilms.co.uk but go through the checklist below to make sure you send the right information:

1. Attach a scan or a good quality photo of your shipping slip or store receipt. If your e-tailer doesn’t send paper-based shipping slips please forward the shipping e-mail you receive (please note this is only for e-tailers that don’t issue paper slips).
2. Include in the e-mail your full title, name and postal address with post/zip code.
3. Please also confirm in your e-mail the retailer name where the disc was purchased from.
4. Send to info@arrowfilms.co.uk
5. Please allow up to 21 days for processing – where possible Arrow will ship as soon as they can.

Once that is done, please be patient whilst Arrow process and arrange a replacement disc. Please use the checklist before you e-mail Arrow Video to make sure you have provided all the necessary information so that your replacement disc order can be speedily expedited.

This is the same policy for DVDs and Blu-ray Discs and for Arrow Video costumers from all around the world, not just in the UK.

Arrow Video would like to thank customers for their patience and hope that the final discs will bring The Beyond to life like never before.

***

Early reviews of Arrow's check discs of THE BEYOND revealed that the new transfer featured the pre-credits sequence in black and white (the sequence was shot in color and processed with a yellowish tint, as it has appeared on all previous releases save for the German prints which used the full color version). Arrow has officially responded with this:

"The restoration and colour grading for THE BEYOND took place in Italy by the owner of the film, we then received the HD Master in the UK where we felt that the restoration was not good enough so had additional work on the film carried out using an HD Archangel to fix and stabilise motion, weave, picture flicker, overscan and interpolation as well as MTI technology to remove marks and picture defects. Colour grading was completed in Italy and was not tampered with here, we are investigating the colour of the film from negative to master to disc and hope to have more information soon. Once we have more information we can discuss this with the technical team and ensure the right colour is properly presented on this Arrow Video edition."

The new HD-mastered transfer on the Arrow disc seems a bit too bright in places, washing out Salvati's lighting (see capture 4) and the textures and colors of De Rossi's prosthetic make-up, although detail is better and there is more image information on all four sides of the frame (we'll see if the rest of the picture is reassessed when Arrow revisits the pre-credits sequence). English subtitles have been provided for both the English dub and the Italian dub tracks (both in original mono). The 5.1 English remix seems to be the same as (or similar to) the one prepared for the Anchor Bay edition.

Besides the entertaining MacColl/Warbeck commentary that premiered on the Anchor Bay DVD (although it was recorded for the aborted Miramax laserdisc), Arrow's DVD features a new audio commentary with Fulci's daughter Antonella. The track is not really focused, but it adds to a more dimensional perception of Fulci's sense of humor and volatile temper. Perhaps the most entertaining interview is with Terry Levene, who distributed and edited the US version 7 DOORS OF DEATH. He explains the philosophy behind the title changes of his exploitation pick-ups (which also included ZOMBI HOLOCAUST and CANNIBAL FEROX) and examples of his 42nd street promotions (although Levene fails to mention the rescoring or the non-existent Dolby Stereo track advertised on the poster art). It would have been nice to see the 7 DOORS OF DEATH trailer in full, instead of excerpted throughout the featurette. MacColl also appears in an interview. There is some overlap with the commentary, but she also mentions her reactions to being a scream queen and having three films that were caught up in the Video Nasties debacle (she also confirms that she was cast in SAINT ANGE/HOUSE OF VOICES because of the director's love of THE BEYOND and Lucio Fulci). MacColl also appears in a Q&A and has her comments upstaged by an audience member munching crisps near the microphone.

Giannetto de Rossi's interview encompasses all of his zombie work, including a humorous discussion of Jorge Grau's LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE. Monreale's interview includes mention of her more notable cult role in BEYOND THE DARKNESS, her earlier Fulci appearance in SILVER SADDLE, and her later appearance in Argento's THE STENDHAL SYNDROME, but mainly focuses on her recollections of the shooting of THE BEYOND on location in Louisiana and on sound stages in Rome. "Fulci Flashbacks" is a collection of reflections on working with Fulci by cameraman Roberto Forges Davanzati (D.P. Sergio Salvati is absent from the discussion, although he recorded a commentary for the Italian DVD of THE BEYOND), Daria Nicolodi, Antonella Fulci, Dario Argento, Giannetto de Rossi, and Sergio Stivaletti. All of the featurettes are a tad clip-heavy and the introductions are still rather long, but Arrow has made their start-up promo reel skippable (it was not on VAMP). The international trailer and the alternate color pre-credits sequence round out the extras; however, while the Anchor Bay DVD presented it with the option of viewing it in either English or German, the Arrow DVD presents the sequence twice: first in English, then in German (hence the sixteen minute running time vs the Anchor Bay's eight minutes).

Extras exclusive to the Anchor Bay disc include the Grindhouse Releasing trailer, the German trailer, "Images from The Beyond" (snippets of convention footage and behind the scenes stills), Necrophagia music video "And You Shall Live in Terror," as well as the 7 DOORS OF DEATH title sequence and CAT IN THE BRAIN trailer as Easter Eggs. Grindhouse Releasing's reissue featured the same transfer, but added some more interviews.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(
Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

(waiting to see Arrow revisions)

Sound:

Draw

Extras: Arrow
Menu: Arrow

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Arrow Video

Region 0 - PAL

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Region 1 - NTSC

 

 


 




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