Pub Date: 7/10/98 If ever a film was made-to-order for the midnight crowd, it's "The Beyond," which opens tonight at the Charles.
This is not a movie for the squeamish, the easily nauseated or the weak of heart. It's also not a film for people whose morbid fascination causes them to slow down to look at car wrecks on the highway.
This is a film for people who park their cars, get out their cameras and unpack a picnic lunch. It's gore as entertainment, and as such, it's pretty darn entertaining.
Liza (Catriona/Katherine MacColl) has inherited an old Louisiana hotel that just happens to sit atop one of the seven gateways to hell.
John (David Warbeck) is the local doctor who takes a shining to her but thinks she's overdoing the hell stuff a bit. And Emily (Sarah Keller) is the blind woman who sees what others can't or don't want to.
Director Lucio Fulci, who's made a career of these things ("The Beyond" was actually made in 1980), is in top form here. The film has atmosphere to burn, and anyone familiar with his other films (including 1979's "Zombie," with its memorable tag line, "We are going to eat you") knows his penchant for pointy objects and eyeballs.
Most remarkable about Fulci's style, however, is his refusal to cut away from a scene, no matter how grisly. Most movies, a guy has acid splash on his face, the camera cuts away after the initial scream. But not Fulci, who films every sequence as though he's watching a flower bloom. There's a perverse purity in his approach that's almost admirable; it's certainly compelling, the sort of thing where you cover your eyes but separate your fingers a crack so you can still see out.