LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS The Beyond - Blu-ray review
By James Whittington, Monday 13th January 2020 The Beyond Shameless Certificate 18
There are some movies that horror fans have multiple copies of, for me it's The Evil Dead, Halloween and Zombie Flesh Eaters. I have loads of editions in my loft on tape, laserdisc, DVDs, and now lovely Blu-rays and, where I can, 4K editions. Lucio Fulci's The Beyond (1981) is one movie that could also take up a shelf for all the different editions and versions I own as for some reason I'm drawn to it whenever I see a new release, even if it's just for a new cover!
This time around though Shameless have something rather cool and a bit different for fans of this Fulci classic but more on this later. For those new to this title, The Beyond is classed as the second movie in Lucio Fulci's Gates of Hell trilogy which is made up of City of the Living Dead (1980) and The House by the Cemetery (1981). For me, The Beyond is the strongest of the trio being a sublime mix of horror, gore and time-travel!
When jaded New Yorker (Catriona MacColl) inherits a New Orleans hotel, she calls on composed local doctor (David Warbeck) to contain the inexplicable and increasingly gory accidents that are plaguing the building and its grounds. But soon the Gates of Hell themselves open under the hotel, rendering their fight futile as the dead emerge to walk the earth.
Surreal and vivid, The Beyond is a prime example of Fulci at his creative best. The story gallops along, splattered by nightmarish images and brutal happenings. Eyes are plucked out, faces melted, zombie-like cadavers rise and the soundtrack contains overly loud effects that bolster the nightmarish and sometimes, inconsistent happenings. People become possessed, inexplicable "accidents" occur and a stranger with a dog holds the key to the secret of room 36.
Shot in tones which juxtapose throughout yet all return to the misty grey of the deranged painting seen in the prologue, this vivid feature is packed with scenes that show what a great director Fulci could be; the unforgettable spiders sequence, the meandering dead who slowly make their way through a hospital, the way the plot is designed to be circular and the score from Fabio Frizzi is one of his finest.
One of the key extras here is that you can view the prologue to the movie in four different colour hues; the accepted standard sepia, the original colour camera footage (restored from a new 2k scan), the B and W version (which is a clever reference to an 'infamous' mistake!) and a new fourth-way: presented as an homage to this cult-classic from Maestros Lucio Fulci and DOP Sergio Salvati, a new alternative version is proposed using for the first time the colour camera footage as the base on which toning is applied - with reference to Salvati's known thinking. This results in very vivid visuals where the reds of the gore are strikingly visible and the light from the torches and car headlights are much more luminous. All four are branched so you can watch the movie seamlessly enabling you to view and comparisons can be seen in the extras section of the disc.
Other new extras include an interview with Cinzia Monreale (with English subtitles), an interview with Michele Mirabella (with English subtitles) a unique interview with scriptwriter Giorgio Mariuzzo on working with Lucio Fulci (with English subtitles), Prologue four-way comparison showing the original colour, B and W, standard sepia and the new, fourth-way, a golden version of toning over colour.
The archive extras include Sergio Salvati (Director of Photography) feature-length audio commentary dissecting the film - with new English subtitles, a feature-length audio commentary from stars Catriona McCall and David Warbeck and Lucio Fulci speaks (short conversation on a film set).
The transfer itself is stunning and brings to life the gruesome effects which still pretty much stand up some forty years on. Fulci delivers close up upon close up of each gory moment. The soundtrack too is nice and sharp delivering the dull droning of the score to maximum effect.
Shameless have taken a classic and given it the five star release it deserves and will make any Fulci fan very, very happy, and me looking to buy more shelves.
MORE REVIEWS The Grudge (2020) - Blu-ray review
Posted on Monday 1st June 2020 The Grudge Certificate 15 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
One of the most famous films of the last couple of decades or so, Japanese shocker Ju-On: The Grudge from director Takashi Shimizu was an expertly crafted journey into the paranormal. A few sequels and remake later and we arrive at a new version of the idea, this time the horror has never been more violent.
When someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage, a curse is born. It gathers in the place of death but cannot be contained. Once you encounter it...it will never let go.
Written and directed by Nicolas Pesce, the movie really does get under the skin of the viewer with an atmosphere that contains ...SHARE: READ MORE Revenge - Blu-ray review
Posted on Sunday 3rd May 2020 Revenge Second Sight Films Certificate 18
Over the years there have been many "revenge" themed movies, a lot of which used uncomfortable and challenging set-ups to grasp their audiences. One only must think of the grindhouse films such as I Spit on Your Grave (1978), Last House on the Left (1972) and Death Wish (1974) to see what I am getting at here. There is a fine line between art and exploitation, and these challenged the censor to the limits.
Revenge, which is just about to hit Blu-ray contains a similar premise, assault is the major plot point here as a young girl is brutally attacked and victimised, but the stylish way it is filmed and played, you see it rise above the...SHARE: READ MORE Knives and Skin - Original Soundtrack
Posted on Thursday 30th January 2020 Knives and Skin - Original Soundtrack Nick Zinner Lakeshore Records
Knives and Skin from director Jennifer Reeder was one of the strongest and most original movies from FrightFest 2019. Its hypnotic and sometimes surreal plot contained some superb set-pieces of nerve tightening drama. To make the film even more memorable it had a score which added a delicate beauty to the whole experience.
Part suburban nightmare, part neon-soaked teenage fever dream, this tantalizing mystery traces the wave of fear and distrust that spreads across a small Midwestern town in the wake of a high school girl's mysterious disappearance. As the loneliness and darkness lurking beneath the ve...SHARE: READ MORE Edge of the Axe - Blu-ray review
Posted on Sunday 26th January 2020 Edge of the Axe Arrow Video Certificate 18
I must admit, Edge of the Axe is one of those late 80s slashers that passed me by when it was originally released. Maybe because I was tired of the genre by then, maybe because the concept of it being a Euro/American horror just didn't appeal to me, or just maybe there was something better to rent out that week! Anyway, this cut on its original release in 1989 due to the amount of axe on show but thanks to Arrow video we can now view uncut with all chopper moments intact!
The rural community of Paddock County is being rocked by the crazed exploits of an axe-wielding psychopath, who stalks the night in a black trenchcoat and mask. A...SHARE: READ MORE Vault of Horror presents The Gates of Hell Trilogy (Coloured Vinyl)
Posted on Thursday 19th December 2019 Vault of Horror presents The Gates of Hell Trilogy Demon Records
Following the success of the first two Vault of Horror vinyl releases, Demon Records have pulled out all the stops to deliver another sublime piece of audio that should form part of everyone's Christmas list this year.
Lucio Fulci's Gates of Hell trilogy of movies delivered some of the most controversial pieces of horror cinema at a time when horror was entering the "video nasties" period and the genre, as a whole, was frowned upon. Fulci grabbed this chance to push the envelope further with movies which celebrated the limits horror could go to and by doing so opened the doors - ...SHARE: READ MORE Anna and the Apocalypse - Blu-ray review
Posted on Monday 9th December 2019 Anna and the Apocalypse Blu-ray Second Sight Films Certificate 15
Musical horror movies aren't a new thing. In fact, there's been far more than you first think such as Stage Fright (2014), Cannibal: The Musical (1993) and Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008) and all became smallish cult hits. The problem with most is that sometimes the storyline suffers from trying to force as many songs in as possible. There's no such issue with Anna and the Apocalypse.
This wonderfully wacky piece of seasonal cinema has all that you'd want and more from a rom-zom-sing-a-long-com!
It's Christmas, is under threat from a zombie apocalypse, forcing Anna (Ella Hunt) and her friends to fight, slas...SHARE: READ MORE Judy and Punch - Film review
Posted on Wednesday 20th November 2019 Judy and Punch Picturehouse Entertainment Certificate 15 Release 22nd November
If you're tired of sequels, predictable plots and unimaginative situations then writer/director Mirrah Foulkes has something really special for you! By turning the traditional story of Punch and Judy totally on its head, she has delivered a directorial debut that is bold, brash and bloody good fun.
In the outlandish town of Seaside, located nowhere near the coast, puppeteers Judy (Mia Wasikowska) and Punch (Damon Herriman) are trying to resurrect their marionette show. The show is a hit due to Judy's superior puppeteering, but Punch's driving ambition and penchant for a drink lead to an ill-fat...SHARE: READ MORE Ghostland - Music from the Motion Picture
Posted on Friday 18th October 2019 Ghostland - Music from the Motion Picture Georges Boukoff, Anthony d'Amario and Ed Rig The Omega Productions Records
Pascal Laugier's Ghostland (known in the UK as Incident in a Ghostland) was one of the highlights of FrightFest 2018 and proved once and for all that this director was a master of the sinister and murky.
Produced ten years after Martyrs, the movie was more considered in its tension building and was in its strange way a contained a classic fairy tale structure.
The movie concerns the aftermath of a brutal home invasion experienced by Beth along with mother and sister Vera. Forward a few years and Beth is now a horror novelist and has found solace in her w...SHARE: READ MORE Halloween: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Expanded Edition)
Posted on Thursday 17th October 2019
Halloween: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Expanded Edition) Sacred Bones Double Vinyl
Halloween 2018 was a box-office hit and gave the franchise a much-needed tension injection. It saw the return of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode and that of original director John Carpenter though he wasn't in the driving seat for this one. Instead he, alongside his son and godson, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies created the score and delivered an atmospheric piece which retained whispers to the past without drowning in them.
The soundtrack album was a hit as much as the movie was debuting at #12 on the Billboard Albums chart and #2 on the vinyl chart, o...SHARE: READ MORE Asylum - Blu-ray review
Posted on Saturday 13th July 2019 Asylum Second Sight Films Certificate 15
When you read that a film has the writer Robert Bloch (Psycho) and been directed by Roy Ward Baker your interest will be pricked. When you also learn it's from Amicus the you know it's a "must have" purchase. This is exactly what Asylum is, a cracker of an anthology movie which has been given the special HD treatment thanks to those lovely people at Second Sight Films.
Asylum boasts an all-star cast including Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, Herbert Lom, Robert Powell, Patrick Magee, Barry Morse and Charlotte Rampling each who play this bizarre but entertaining movie perfectly straight. This was the fifth portmanteau film from Amicus and is a fine and beaut...SHARE: READ MORE The House that Dripped Blood - Blu-ray review
Posted on Saturday 13th July 2019 The House that Dripped Blood Second Sight Films Certificate 15
Amicus was famous for its anthology movies, and The House that Dripped Blood was one of their most famous ones. It contains a few good scares, as well as more than its fair share of in-jokes and homages to horror cinema's past. Written by Psycho author Robert Block and directed by newcomer Peter Duffell, the film boasts the usual Amicus star line-up coupled with some great set designs and an over enthusiastic score. Oh, a spoiler here, there's no blood!
Scotland Yard's Inspector Holloway (John Bennett) investigates a mysterious mansion with a ghoulish history and a chilling fate for its occupants in four tales...SHARE: READ MORE Black Moon Rising - Blu-ray review
Posted on Monday 22nd April 2019 Black Moon Rising Arrow Video Cetificate 15
Most Sci-Fi thrillers from the 80s often suffered from lack of budget and lack of imagination as they tried to bring visions of tomorrow to an audience weaned on a diet of Star Wars and other such fodder. Black Moon Rising was different, it kept its hopes high but kept itself in the here and now and viewing some thirty plus years after its initial release only fashion and the odd dodgy piece of SFX lets its age be known.
Tommy Lee Jones stars as Sam Quint, a master thief working for the government who hides a computer disc loaded with evidence of corporate crime in a prototype supercar, the Black Moon...SHARE: READ MORE Reviews Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 PICK OF THE WEEK
Sunday 7th June
Friday 12th June
Thursday 4th June