Beyond The Darkness (1979)

 

Beyond The Darkness (AKA Buio Omega) is Joe D’Amato’s 1979 remake of the 1966 Italian film The Third Eye. However, unlike The Third Eye, Beyond The Darkness is more extreme, brutal and, overall, the film is quite a perverted slice of cinematic nastiness. Over the many years since its release, Beyond The Darkness has come under fire from numerous censors for the film’s graphic depictions of mutilation, torture and implied necrophilia.

The story of Beyond The Darkness is very similar to The Third Eye. The plot revolves around a young taxidermist called Franscesco, the owner of a secluded mansion, who lives with his matriarchal housekeeper Iris. After the death of Francesco’s wife Anna, Francesco finds himself unable to cope, and he becomes deranged, deranged enough to go through with horrific acts of violence and brutality throughout the rest of the film. Francesco’s character, despite his poor grasp on reality, is quite a sympathetic character at heart who is trapped in his current predicament, instead of being a mindless, bloodthirsty maniac. Throughout the film, Francesco’s struggle underneath the weight of Iris, who exploits him throughout the film, is clear to see and makes the character quite empathetic at certain moments throughout the film. The tension between the two characters – Francesco and Iris – is the main focus of Beyond The Darkness, as this relationship is exacerbated and strained by the violent and perverted acts that both characters engage in.

However, despite how good the story may be, scenes of violence, brutality and mutilation are the main spectacle of Beyond the Darkness. Each death scene is more violent than the previous and the film doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to shocking content. The special effects of Beyond The Darkness are very impressive, obviously created by a special effects team with experience at creating stomach churning spectacles of mutilation and torture (although they remain un-credited for their work). However, no matter how impressive the special effects, gore isn’t the main focus of the film. Unlike Anthropophagous and Absurd, Joe D’Amato shows a greater concern for the story of Beyond the Darkness, and as such the violence appears periodically instead of constantly. However, whenever the gore is front and centre onscreen, it’s incredibly shocking and almost sickening. During production, Joe D’Amato stated “We’re making a movie to make people throw up. We must make ’em vomit” and I believed that is what he achieved through these multiple of shocking brutality.

However, not every aspect of Beyond The Darkness is arguably ‘good’. As well written as the characters may be, they’re still blatant stereotypes with very little motivation. The film also looks very bland because Joe D’Amato doesn’t place any emphasis on lighting or cinematography. I guess that Joe D’Amato did this to try and make the film look realistic, but instead, Beyond The Darkness ends up visually uninteresting. Beyond The Darkness also sports a soundtrack from legendary Italian band Goblin, but sadly the soundtrack isn’t as good as the other soundtracks that Goblin have composed before or since. All in all, the film has a lot of issues, but thanks to the film’s interesting story and eye popping special effects, these issues can be overlooked.

Beyond The Darkness is definitely a film that stays in the memory after watching it. The film is not only better written than Joe D’Amato’s more famous ventures, not only is it one of the most violent films to emerge from 1979, but Beyond The Darkness is Joe D’Amato’s greatest contribution to the horror genre, and displays the best that the Italian director could give us if he hadn’t moved to making pornography films later on in his career. Beyond The Darkness is a memorable slice of pure nastiness that is a must see for hardened gore-hounds who like an interesting story with their scenes of shocking violence.

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