Beyond the Darkness – Review (Severin Films Blu-ray)
Vile! Disgusting! Revolting! Down right trash! All of these words have been used to describe Joe D’Amato’s Beyond the Darkness. Words that will certainly pique any horror fan’s interest and pique it did. I went in thinking Beyond the Darkness was going to be this gory, insane film and dammit, the reviews have lied! Beyond the Darkness isn’t vile, it isn’t disgusting, and it certainly isn’t trash. Okay, sure the themes are taboo, but after having seen Nekromantik, A Serbian Film and countless other much more “vile” films, Beyond the Darkness is a tame beast when you objectively compare it. Yes, some moments may cause queasiness in the weakest of stomachs, and some scenes are unusual, but all of this when put together makes a film that is most certainly weird, quirky and confusing, but not vile, disgusting and revolting.
It has been denounced as “revolting” (SplatterDay.com), “stomach-churning” (Classic-Horror.com) and “shower-prompting” (Fandor), while simultaneously acclaimed as “bone-chilling” (Chas Balun), “truly classic” (The Spinning Image) and “a must-see” (Horror.com). Now experience “D’Amato’s masterpiece” (BloodyDisgusting.com) like you’ve never seen or heard it before: CinzIa Monreale (The Beyond) and Franca Stoppi (The Other Hell) star in this psycho-sexual sickie featuring torture, cannibalism, necrophilia, unrequited love and other perversions, totally uncensored and set to a pounding score by Goblin. Severin is proud to present the “ultra-graphic sleaze-fest” (Fright.com) also known as Buried Alive and Buio Omega – for which director Joe D’Amato (Anthropophagus) was infamously accused of using real corpses – restored in HD for the first time ever and packed with exclusive new special features.
The plot if one can call it that, is about Frank, a man who loves his girlfriend so much, that after she dies, he uses his Norman Bates taxidermy abilities to keep her fresh for eternity. His adventure to get the job done causes him a few headaches, such as the man who witnesses Frank messing with the body, a female hitchhiker who walks in on Frank at the wrong time and a female jogger who is looser than a whore on payday. Also causing Frank headaches is his nanny? Babysitter? Lover? Iris, who makes him feel better by breastfeeding him or giving him a handy when he feels down. (Fun note, Iris is played by Franca Stoppi, who you may know as the Lesbian guard in Women’s Prison Massacre and the scowling Nun in The Other Hell. ) Oh, and did I mention Frank and Iris are cannibals?
Beyond the Darkness goes to great lengths to put some gore and violence on screen, but none of it is over the top graphic or disturbing. The disembowelment scene is a bit gnarly, but I wasn’t upchucking my cookies or anything. Maybe I’m just extremely jaded. Ugh, I’m getting to be a bad horror fan ain’t I?
The real saving grace of Beyond the Darkness is the soundtrack by Goblin. If there was only one reason to watch this movie, it would be that and only that.
Severin Films knows people are begging for these films to be released in high definition and fans won’t take kindly to a lacklustre release. Thankfully, we are talking Severin Films here, and lacklustre isn’t in their vocabulary. We get several special features, a CD of Goblin’s score and the video and audio presentation is the best Beyond the Darkness is going to receive. There are moments of degradation, but those scenes are few and far between. I didn’t compare side by side, but after looking the caps for 88 Films, Media Blasters and Umbrella Entertainment’s Blu-ray releases, Severin Films’ release is easily hands down the winner.
Beyond the Darkness wasn’t the gore fest, shock fest that I was expecting thanks to all the hyped up reviews out there. However, I did find it to be enjoyable at times, and the score by Goblin is worth a listen. The Blu-ray, on the other hand, did impress me and D’Amato/Darkness fans can rest easy knowing the flick has found a proper home on HD.
Joe D’Amato: The Horror Experience – Archival interview with D’Amato
The Omega Woman – Interview featurette with Franca Stopp.
Goblin Reformed Perform Buio Omega Live 2016
Sick Love (1080p; 8:47) Interview with actress Cinzia Monreale