Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Spaghetti Zombie Jambalaya, or Thoughts on Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond

If Dario Argento is the Italian Alfred Hitchcock and Sergio Leone is the Italian Howard Hawks, then Lucio Fulci has to be the Italian George A. Romero, with The Beyond (1981), or E tu vivrai nel terrore! L'aldilà serving as a classic example of his surreal mix of gore, torture and beautiful women in jeopardy.  British actor Catriona MacCall from Lucio Fulci’s City of the Living Dead (1980) stars as Liza Merril, former Manhattan model who inherits a run-down New Orleans hotel that just happens to be built over one of the Seven Doorways to Hell.  It doesn’t take long before she finds the Lovecraftian Book of Eibon (cited in The Haunter of the Dark, The Dreams of the Witch House, The Horror in the Museum and The Shadow Out of Time, in case you’re interested, and I know you are) behind one of the sealed rooms and the movie goes to hell in both the literal and metaphorical sense.
A spaghetti zombie movie, I wouldn’t call it a giallo in because director Lucio Fulci actually filmed in Louisiana; like Sergio Leone, this is his vision of the US.  There are numerous scenes set in the French Quarter and  Metrarie Cemetary, in between all the face eating spiders, disturbingly attractive blind ladies who may be ghosts and the zombies in the basement.  His most famous movie is Zombi 2 (1979), which featured the world’s first and to my knowledge only underwater zombie vs. shark scene.

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