Director – Joe D’Amato (The Devil’s Wedding Night, Sexy Night of the Living Dead)
Starring – Kieran Canter (Deep Thoughts, The Lonely Lady)m, Cinzia Monreale (The Beyond, The Sweet House of Horrors), and Franca Stoppi (The Other Hell, Caged Woman)
Release Date – 1979
Rating – 4/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Way back when I was in high school a friend of mine introduced me to Italian horror flicks. He showed me the works of Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, and after several years and many failed attempts we were able to finally watch Cemetery Man all the way through. I enjoyed most of the films I watched but I did notice that I didn’t care for the cannibal films or for a lot of the giallo flicks. I enjoyed Argento’s giallos but the others were not as entertaining or great to look at.
One film we talked about watching but never got around to it was Beyond the Darkness by Joe D’Amato. This was one I had heard about when I frequented different horror forums but never actually watched. Not long ago Severin Films released the flick on bluray. I was able to reach out to them and get a review copy. Thanks guys!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a young man who is madly in love but his wife falls victim to a sick voodoo spell that his caretaker placed on her because she secretly loves him. When she dies he loses his sanity and steals her corpse. He embalms her and keeps her in his room while he searches for someone to love as much as he loved her but failed relationships and nosey people lead to bloodshed and carnage.**Spoiler Alert**
I had heard about this nasty little Italian film for years after I openly admitted that I love the work of Fulci in several horror forums. Some came at me and praised the film’s story but most were so hung up on the gore that they didn’t mention anything else. I was afraid that the gore would over take the story but I was wrong. The film is able to blend some solid gore with a great story.
The acting in this one is in the middle of the road. The film stars Frank Wyler (Canter) who does a great job at making his unhinged character feel genuine and authentic. He truly looks the part and puts a lot of energy into his character. Sadly, his co-star, Franca Stoppi, just doesn’t feel that real. Her character is very forced and just doesn’t feel natural. In some scenes she is able to deliver that cold stare like there is ice in her veins but in others she is trying way too hard.
The story for this one blends an unconventional love story with that of an Italian slasher film like House by the Cemetery. You never know exactly which way the story will take you. The film makes you think it is going to be a Frankenstein type film but quickly takes a bloodier turn and flows almost like a slasher except we know who is doing the killing. It was fun and added a great deal of uncertainty for the viewer.
Finally, this film is bloody enough for even the most hardcore gore hounds. I don’t really care for the bright red blood but the effects are spectacular. The kills are absolutely brutal and the gore is top notch. If anyone mentions Italian gore without throwing this title out there does not know what they are talking about. Overall, Beyond the Darkness is a must for any horror fan. If you love great stories and gore then you will enjoy this one. Check it out.
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