Monday, October 16, 2017

BEYOND THE DARKNESS (aka BUIO OMEGA) (1979) Blu-ray review

Beyond the Darkness (aka Buio Omega) (1979) d. D’Amato, Joe (Italy) (3rd viewing) 94 min

In this unquestionably gruesome yet surprisingly accomplished and entertaining yarn by D’Amato (Anthropophagus, Ator the Fighting Eagle), reclusive rich young taxidermist Frank (Kieran Canter) steals his recently deceased girlfriend’s body (Cinzia Monreale) from the cemetery so he can embalm her and keep her around. As fate would have it, the out-of-the-way cottage becomes a high traffic route for attractive young female visitors who must meet their grisly end when they poke their noses where they don’t belong.

If the subject matter wasn’t already stomach-churning enough (although, to be fair, Frank never actually has sex with his late lady love; he just likes to look at her and chastely touch her cheek), D’Amato creates a supremely twisted Oedipal relationship – complete with breast suckling and shared disposal of body parts in a tub of acid – between the young protagonist and his much older housekeeper Iris (Franca Stoppi, The Other Hell) who, surprise, surprise, is the one who bumped off Frank’s gal, with the help of a little voodoo spell.

It also bears mentioning that Frank isn’t simply killing these girls off to keep his secret safe – he deliberately brings one victim into the same bed where his pickled precious lies so that she can see the corpse and react in terror before he animalistically tears out her throat. He is a true psychopath and sadist, evidenced by the infamous scene where he rips another victim’s fingernails off one by one before smothering her to death.

Also noteworthy is the fact that the embalming scene, where Monreale’s body is disemboweled and prepared for her eternal non-sleep, reportedly caused such a stir that the director was accused of using real cadavers! Yet, somehow, D’Amato leans so enthusiastically into the curve that we are appropriately shocked without being genuinely repulsed – an impressive feat indeed.

Severin’s outstanding high-definition release features an array of interviews with D’Amato, Stoppi, and Monreale, as well as a unique 2016 concert experience with the rock band Goblin Reborn performing the film's music score live. For even more goodies, true fans can pick up the “The Necro Bundle,” which includes an enamel Beyond the Darkness pin (courtesy of Pseudo Ludo), the soundtrack on CD, an air freshener (haha), t-shirt (courtesy of Pallbearer Press), and a 27 x 39 reproduction of the original poster.

Beyond the Darkness is available now on Blu-ray from Severin Films and can be ordered HERE:

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