Due particularly to the special makeup effects by Gianetto de Rossi this is a film of considerable gruesomeness. Like Fulci's ZOMBIE 2 it belongs to a cycle of Italian movies sparked off by the success of George Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD, but also uses a two-part construction - the prologue is set in the 1920's, the main action in the present day - which echoes the different vein of American horror movies represented by HALLOWEEN. As with several other Italian horror films of the same period the action is set in America, in this case Louisiana.
The plot centers on a remote hotel which stands on one of the seven entrances to hell (the notion of a physical doorway to hell echoes of THE SENTINEL) through which, according to a sinister prophecy, the dead will on the appointed day issue forth to walk the earth. At the climax, the woman who has inherited the hotel (MacColl) and her helpmate (Warbeck) fight off a horde of the walking dead only to find themselves incarcerated in hell itself, the landscape of which has been foreshadowed in a painting on which the former manager of the hotel was working when he was seized and crucified as a satanist in the prologue. The intermediate plotting is random, but the setpieces, which include the supernatural manisfestation of a mass of venomous spiders, are handled with undeniable gusto.
- Overlook Film Encyclopedia of Horror, edt Phil Hardy.
"...The critics who howl the loudest at Signor Fulci's oeuvre have quite obviously never witnessed what is perhaps the greatest zombie film you've never seen, THE BEYOND, a towering masterpiece that always makes believers of the faithless. Except for the derivative, plodding and incoherent parts, THE BEYOND almost plays like classic Argento. Oh, there's much, much more to a Fulci film than meets the eyeball."
"...Forget the drawn-and-quarted, exsanguinated US version released theatrically as Seven Doors of Death. Track down the uncut, letterboxed European print. What you'll discover is one of the most compelling, audacious and hyper-gory zombie films of the decade. The prologue itself, shot in soft, dreamy sepia tones, is worth the price of admission."
"...The Beyond becomes a grand slam of gore as eyes are gouged, throats are ripped apart, heads are blown up, and tongues and lips are torn out by armies of possessed tarantulas in the most inspired arachnid attack of this or any other century".
- Chas. Balun in Gorezone, No. 10 (Nov 1989).
all photos from Fangoria, issue 141 (Jan 1996), except the poster at the top. This is from Fantasy Film Memory issue 2, directed by Lucio Fulci, by Pierre Jouis, 1990. Paris, France.
"The most bizarre and interesting of Fulci's horror films, and also the most succesful. Many clever references to Italian classics of the genre, as well as paying homage to the cinema of Hooper and Winner and the literature of Graegorius and Sidney." ...
- Spaghetti Nightmares, edt. Luca Palmerini and Gaetano Mistretta, 1996