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The Beyond

Best known for directing Zombie, the Italian answer to Dawn Of The Dead and the inspiration for numerous Italian horror films, Lucio Fulci has also been cited by Quentin Tarantino as a key influence. Tarantino has always been one to return a favor, and his company, Rolling Thunder, is re-releasing the film some consider to be the late Fulci's best. In most cities, The Beyond is being rolled out late at night in an attempt to revive the midnight-movie tradition essentially killed off by home video, a tradition it nicely if unspectacularly represents. Set in Louisiana, the 1981 film stars Cationa MacColl as the inheritor of a hotel rumored to contain one of the seven gates to hell (shades of the then-recent The Shining and The Amityville Horror). Some convoluted problems ensue involving a possibly imaginary blind woman, flesh-eating spiders, a hapless plumber, a zombie child, a frightening cellar, and ways to injure an eyeball that you've probably never thought of in your worst nightmares. The Beyond's first half-hour or so is extremely entertaining, alternating between genuinely frightening, gory shocks and hilariously awkward, atonal acting. After a while, however, it becomes as dull as its repetitive Italian prog-rock soundtrack, neither good nor bad enough to hold your attention for long. Still, for a crowd with its defenses lowered either by the late hour or other factors, it should be plenty entertaining. If nothing else, The Beyond imparts the important lesson that sometimes signs marked "Do Not Entry" mean business.

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