Anthologies are tricky, they’re either embraced or scrutinized. What makes them so tricky is the fact that they can go in either director – viewers can be entertained with several great stories in one movie or viewers can be bored to tears by a series of uneventful short films. When it comes to Beyond the Wall of Fear, unfortunately I’m going to have to go with the latter option, the less positive one. The film has its positives and I think it accomplished whatever it set out to do, however, I was left wanting a lot more and was… bored.
I think what the creators of Beyond the Wall of Fear wanted to do was make a horror anthology flick that payed respects to classic VHS titles of its category from the late 80’s and early 90’s. This means that we get a mix of story-lines; as stated in the film’s description, “strange experiments…mysterious monsters…Lovecraftian horror…telekinetic bloodletting…ravenous insanity… etc.” One of Beyond the Wall of Fear‘s only positives is that it delivers on its promise to be an excellent throwback to a better time in horror history. It feels like a title that could have been on video store shelves twenty or thirty years ago. It feels like an undiscovered gem. Featured appearances from Jackey Neyman Jones (Manos: The Hands of Fate), Tom Griffith (Nightbeast) and George Stover (Blood Massacre) only adds to this effect and gives the movie a little extra oomph in star quality.
Going back to my earlier sentiments, besides being shot and edited like classic independent horror movies and some cool guest appearances, there’s really nothing to keep you scaling Beyond the Wall of Fear. It’s so slow, almost to the point of dragging and the fast forward button became my new best friend. As a writer myself, I hate saying things like this because I know how hard it is to think of a story, love it, shoot it and put it out there only for others to shoot it down. However, I have to be honest with my readers and I can’t allow them to get excited over a movie that they wouldn’t be happy with. The eight shorts that make up Beyond the Wall of Fear are different and had the potential to be interesting, but they never went that extra mile to really kick the fear factor into high gear. Also, the gore factor is basically non-existent until the last handful of shorts.
Now, while Beyond the Wall of Fear is a snoozer and lacks enough blood to nab the scent of gorehounds, I have to say it has a high level of sensuality and camp that also brings on the feeling of older horror movies and anthologies. You can’t go five minutes without a nearly naked woman, breasts spilling out of tops and erotic lesbian action. I mean, that may be enough to keep some viewers entertained, but people looking for an enthralling, old school horror experience are going to need a little more than that to remain on the couch. Beyond the Wall of Fear is nostalgic, old school, sensual and has surprise appearances from former horror stars, but it fails to deliver on every other account. A lot of terrible acting coupled with slow stories means that I have to pass. But, if you’re compelled to check this out for yourself, you can purchase a copy here.
Final Score: 4 out of 10.