FINAL GIRL FILM CLUB- THE BEYOND

Wow, it’s time for another FINAL GIRL FILM CLUB and this time it’s the gorehound fave,  Lucio Fulchi’s THE BEYOND. One of the many cool things about the Film Club is that this is where I get most of my hate mail, which is actually pretty fun.  So , what is there to say about THE BEYOND that that creepy Stallone kid hasn’t already said? I promise not to use the phrase “hallucinatory masterpiece” or the word “surreal”. Have you noticed that the word “surreal” is pretty fucking overused? I came to that realization when I saw a skank on ROCK OF LOVE describe meeting Brett Michaels as “surreal”. I didn’t see a melting clock anywhere. But back to Fulchi. 

So old Lucio has gotten some respect in the last twenty years, what with the “Fulchi Lives” t-shirts and some nice uncut dvd releases. Seems a lot of the time he has been dismissed as a less arty Argento which, depending on the flick, has some truth to it. But he did work in a lot more genres than Dario and in his defense he didn’t direct MOTHER OF TEARS.  I always considered Fulchi to be  the “Olive Garden of Italian Horror” myself, likening his excess to bottomless salad and unlimited breadsticks. Who doesn’t love that?

 

Take the next exit, turn left by the house by the cemetary

Take the next exit, turn left by the house by the cemetery

"I can't get BEYOND these unlimited breadsticks!"

"I can't get BEYOND these unlimited breadsticks!"

 

"WE ARE GOING TO EAT YOU, right after this salad!"

"WE ARE GOING TO EAT YOU, right after this salad!"

 So there’s an old hotel in scenic Mandeville Louisiana that was built on one of the gates to Hell. It’s twenty minutes away from New Orleans, straight across the Pontchartrain. This really doesn’t surprise me as I grew up in New Orleans and it pretty much is a gate to Hell. As the film begins we see a an artist painting what could best be described as a very bleak Roger Dean piece. Perhaps it was for the darkest YES album imaginable, possibly about a drunk Rick Wakeman murdering Jon Anderson with a hatchet in Pompeii.

 

"I need the cape or the mellotron won't work"

"I need the cape or the mellotron won't work"

 

 

 Liza( Catriona MacColl) inherits the charming property and sets out to start a B & B. People die horribly, including Joe the Plumber. Liza gets advice from a creepy blind chick with a German shepherd. There’s a rule in Italian Horror that German shepherds ALWAYS kill their blind human masters. I can actually only think of two other times this has happened (SUSPIRIA and WILD BEASTS) but that’s enough isn’t it?

 

"what, me worry?"

"what, me worry?"

Hey remember when tarantulas were still scary and you couldn’t buy them at the mall? Back when you needed tough guys like “Rack ” Hanson to topple their kingdoms? Fucking Animal Planet has de-mystified all the killer animals. The tarantulas in THE BEYOND are pretty cool though, especially the fake biting, squeaky ones. Who knew the Chilean Rose Hair was Satan’s number one arachnid? 

 

"Hey, can we hurry this up? I got a date with Tiffany Bolling"

"Hey, can we hurry this up? I got a date with Tiffany Bolling"

 

I love the oozy dripping dead guy tormenting the blind chick but wasn’t she already a ghost? Was her dog a ghost too?  It doesn’t matter I guess.

Always, always,  always put your acids on the top shelf, the rickety top shelf. And always hook up putrified corpses to oscilloscopes just for a laugh.

This movie has some cool set pieces and atmosphere, lots of waterlogged, moldy nastiness. Pretty much like New Orleans itself.

I didn’t like the walking dead as much as the ones in ZOMBIE but they’re still pretty cool. They didn’t seem as hungry but there were lots of them and they shuffle like Tim Conway playing the really old guy on The Carol Burnett Show. So a lot or most of the flick doesn’t make sense but it does convey a sense of dread and decay that is genuine and which is totally lacking in similar “gate to hell” flicks like THE SENTINEL.

 

FULCHI LIVES! Bob Fulchi that is, in Murderrock, Ok.

FULCHI LIVES! Bob Fulchi that is, in Murderrock, Ok.

So THE BEYOND. Good flick. Watch it, you’ll like it if you even have the slightest idea who Lucio Fulchi is.I would say it’s Fulchi’s SUSPIRIA or at least his INFERNO. Hey, if you like crime pictures check out Fulchi’s CONTRABAND. It might appeal to you gorehounds too. And pick up Stephen Thrower’s book BEYOND TERROR: The Films of Lucio Fulchi. Last but not least, thanks to FINAL GIRL.

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Final Girl Film Club-The Antichrist

Leave it to the Italians to jump on the POSSESSION OF JOEL DELANEY band wagon and come up with this lurid family melodrama. I love those guys. So Hipolita is sorta paralyzed , has daddy issues and is generally mopey and annoying. She goes to see a mannequin of Jebus’s mom which is holding the six daggers you need to get from that guy Booginhagen before you can kill Damien.  There’s a lot of fucked up people attempting to get cured, people having fits, holding snakes, drooling and moaning. But Jebus doesn’t fix her and now she’s even more bitter. She’s actually the anti-Geri Jewell.  Hippolita has a brother, a sort of Richard Carpenter like brother that hangs around doing very little but being wispy. Her dad is screwing some hot broad which is driving devil girl batshit.  For some reason Hipolita reminded me of Carol the receptionist from the Bob Newhart Show. It takes awhile but she gets possessed by an evil ancestor witch during some progressive hypnosis therapy.  She starts being rude at parties and seducing dopey looking german kids. I kept expecting a blind guy to be killed by a dog like in every other italian horror movie.  I was sedated by Niquil when I watched this so I’m a bit hazy but I got the gist of it. 

"Jebus save Minnie Driver!"

“Jebus save Minnie Driver!”

 

Hipolita then regresses to a really cool party where her ancestor eats a toad head and rims a goat. She really goes for it with an excellent simulated performance. 

vlcsnap-53509031So that’s where Cousin It’s anus is?

 

Try getting some actress like Gwyneth Paltrow to give a simulated goat rim job for a movie. Not gonna happen. As she becomes more possessed Hipolita begins to resemble a really down on her luck transexual Annie Lennox impersonator. After the group sex in the ferns goat orgy it’s all down hill sadly.  There’s some colorful vomiting and some “your mother chokes gophers in hell” demon voice stuff. The music was cool. It just seemed a bit tame, even with the goat.

FINAL GIRL FILM CLUB:Strait-Jacket

William Castle’s STRAIT-JACKET reminds me of a combo platter of PSYCHO and Douglas Sirk melodrama, sort of a WRITTEN WITH AN AXE or DECAPITATION OF LIFE.  I suppose today’s audience sees it as  “camp” ( according to Susan Sontag:  Camp sees everything in quotation marks. It’s not a lamp, but a “lamp”; not a woman, but a “woman.”) but I doubt William Castle meant it as anything other than a way to make some money off of  PSYCHO. Joan Crawford really sells the picture with the creepiest scene being her man-handling of her daughter’s deer in the headlights boyfriend. George Kennedy is also great as the anti- Rock Hudson handyman. I wondered why nobody ever noticed that daughter Carol (Diane Baker) was crafting extremely well made “Crazy Axe Murderin’ Lucy” masks. It’s too bad she couldn’t just order one off the back of  FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. I also liked the knitting scene which for some reason reminded me of Martha Stewart and her famous “I just wanna concentrate on my salad” moment. It also seems like somebody might’ve warned the handyman to hide the axes and maybe be a little more discreet with the animal slaughtering, but I guess that was the point.

                                 “I hope I wasn’t too hard on Trog today”  

 

 Except for SHANKS, William Castle always seemed fairly flat to me but STRAIT-JACKET was a little better due to Joan. It’s no TROG but it has its moments. The ending wrap up explanation seemed to be the lamest part. Thanks again to Final Girl.

Bwana Reviews THE CAR-Final Girl Film Club