Plot: Frank (Kieran Canter) is a skilled taxidermist with plans to wed the beautiful Anna (Cinzia Monreale), but his beloved is struck with a strange illness. As it turns out, Anna’s mysterious condition is thanks to some malicious voodoo, practiced by Frank’s lifelong care giver, Iris (Franca Stoppi). She has looked after Frank since he was a child and in the process, has developed quite an attachment to him and of course, Anna’s presence steals attention from her. Soon Anna succumbs to her unfortunate illness, which leads Iris to comfort Frank with kind words, a warm, touch, and naturally, some breast feeding. But while his Anna is indeed deceased, Frank plans to keep his love alive in a sense, using his taxidermy skills to preserve her corpse. This leads to murder, necrophilia, cannibalism, and disco dance breaks, sending Frank, Iris, and the corpse of Anna down a rabbit hole of insanity from which there might be no return.
Entertainment Value: Also known as Buried Alive and Buio Omega, Beyond the Darkness is a wonderful slice of dysfunctional Italian horror, soaked in gore and topped with a fine layer of sleaze. This is a dark, eerie kind of movie, one that isn’t dense with plot, but keeps you on edge with tension and an ever present atmosphere of dread. I mean, given the kind of madness that unfolds in Beyond the Darkness, it feels like pretty much anything could happen. The relationship between Frank and Iris is a highlight of this one, a twisted, dysfunction bond that only grows more and more grotesque as the plot rolls on. Kieran Canter and Franca Stoppi bring the roles to life well, with the kind of sick, depraved presence you’d want for these kind of weirdos. I don’t know if the acting is good, but it is effective and since you believe them as these twisted souls, I’d say their thespian skills are on point. Genre fans will also have fun seeing Cinzia Monreale as the corpse of the beloved Anna. A lot of movies are hyped as perverse, must see cult films, but Beyond the Darkness is one that earned that reputation. Not just with the rampant sleaze and gore, but with strange, unsettling atmosphere, dark characters, and just a what the fuck general vibe. If you appreciate offbeat, perverse cinema, this one belongs in your collection.
This one has a good amount of nakedness, with several women fully nude, including of course, 70s style epic bush. The sleaze factor kicks in more than usual, given that Frank likes to romance the corpses and at times, feast on internal organs, so erotic value is…uh, questionable. But regardless, the movie provides a steady flow of naked women shown in all their splendor, plus some creepy sexual situations and as I mentioned before, awkward breast feeding. The bloodshed isn’t frequent, but when it hits, buckle up my friends. The embalming scene has turned into legend by this point, as Frank slowly does all kinds of sick, gore soaked things to the corpse of his love. Then we have mutilations, dismemberment, acid baths, a violent brawl, and some other bits and pieces of blood and guts content. The uncut version of the movie is a banquet of bloodshed that has haunted audiences so much, it is still claimed that actual corpses were used in production. I can’t speak to that, but the carnage is sick and a lot of fun to watch, assuming you take pleasure in such displays. The dialogue is passable, but not a lot of big money lines pop in, despite bizarre characters played so…bizarrely. I did appreciate some of the awkward moments of dysfunction, though. But hey, you can’t have it all and the movie compensates in other ways. As for craziness, this one has gross sleaze, a feast of blood, odd characters, awkward situations, dark turns, and bizarre, dysfunctional plot threads, so yeah, this one is pretty fucking insane.
Overall Insanity: 10/10