The Beyond

Technical issues mar this feature-packed celebration of this Italian splatter classic

The Beyond is more than just ‘yet another’ Italian splatter film. It’s the highpoint of Lucio Fulci’s career in the horror genre, a terrifying mix of mysticism and visceral horror that proves even more pessimistic than the director’s earlier City of the Living Dead. Catriona MacColl stars as the inheritor of a rundown New Orleans hotel, whose efforts at getting it up and running again are undermined by an escalating series of inexplicable and extremely violent occurrences.

Picture: Let’s start with the good. The Beyond’s AVC 2.35:1 1080p encode is cleaner and sharper than any previous version, featuring more picture information (thanks to more accurate framing) and improved detail – although this last point is partly down to boosted brightness levels that also flatten the colours somewhat. Which brings us to the bad points – not only does edge enhancement rear its head, but the low bitrate encode has real problem resolving the heavy grain inherent in the image. On top of this, the opening sequence is presented in black-and-white, not sepia as intended.

However, Arrow has responded to these criticisms and is promising that it will be addressing them with a new dual-layer disc with a higher bitrate and correctly tinted opening. However, it was unable to catch the faults prior to sending some of the versions reviewed here to retail, but promises to provide an exchange service for anybody who ends up buying the faulty disc (visit Arrow's website for more info).
Picture rating: 3/5

Audio: This Blu-ray serves up a trio of audio options, including a lossless English-language DTS-HD MA 5.1 track that proves to be fairly effective. However, for most fans it’s the inclusion of dual-mono versions of both the English and Italian language tracks that will be of most interest (despite being lossy presentations), as they’re closer to the original source mix and there’s a surprising amount of difference in the sound design across the two.
Audio rating 3/5

Extras: Spreading the love across the Blu-ray disc and a bonus DVD, Arrow has gone all out with the extras for this splatter classic. Accompanying the film are two commentaries (an old one featuring actors David Warbeck and Catriona MacColl, and a new one featuring the director’s daughter Antonella Fulci), a lengthy interview with actress Cinzi Monreale (she also provides a short video intro to the film) and a Q&A with Catriona MacCall from a screening in Glasgow last year. Over on the DVD you’ll find more interviews (including an excellent piece with US distributor Terry Levene and another where the likes of Dario Argento and Sergio Stivaletti pay tribute to Fulci), a colour version of the pre-credit sequence and a trailer. As always, the set also includes a poster, postcards and choice of sleeve art.
Extras rating: 5/5

We say: Picture problems make this tough to recommend – but that could change with the promised replacement disc.

Arrow Video, All-region BD/R0 DVD, £25 approx, On sale now