Monday, February 29, 2016

Obscure Italian Horror: Beyond Darkness

Hey gang! Yeah I'm back for more Obscure Italian Horror movies. Say, what is more odd than a Lucio Fulchi movie? Well anything created solely by writer/director Claudio Fragasso (Monster Dog, Zombi 3, Strike Commando 2, After Death, Troll 2 and The Squad). Claudio is responsible for several Bruno Mattei films via "writing". Bringing such goofiness as Hell of the Living Dead, Guardian of Hell, Women's Prison Massacre, Rats: Night of Terror, Strike Commando, Double Target, Robowar, Cop Game, Zombi 3 and Shocking Dark has been most of the knock offs that Horror, Action and Sci-fi has flooded the market for more than 30 years.

Our odd creation today is deemed an unofficial sequel due to mass distribution of a series of every five years to having translation errors that often occur. With the titles of Ghosthouse 2, Evil Dead 5, House 5 and Horror House II, it actually is no wonder most people cannot find this even at Wal-Mart. The most common official title of our movie is found in Amazon so by God let's go with that.  This is Beyond Darkness.

Kids, stop playing with dark forces and go take your baths.

First off, IMDB's synopsis is crap as our minister turns out to be a priest so already huge separation between Catholic and Protestant faith. Secondly, since when does a priest have a family?? Yup I was a trifle baffled at this. Father George (David Brandon of She, Cave Dwellers a.k.a. The Blade Master, The Lost City, Warrior Queen, Eleven Days, Eleven Nights and The Maharaja's Daughter) gives the last rites to a serial child killer and attends her execution. She claims to have devoured their souls and thus giving her power over the world. Her wacky Satanic bible apparently effects the father making him (ALL TOGETHER NOW) question his faith.

Father Peter (Gene Lebrock of Santa Barbara, Fortress of Amerikkka: The Mercenaries, Metamorphosis, Night of the Beast and Fatal Choice) moves his family into a less than savory house. Less all white exterior like say Amityville Horror but a house that definitely defies logic and registers at least a 8 on the Weird Crap 'O Meter.

The good father and his wife Annie (Barbara Bingham of The Octagon, Splitz, Death Mask, The Colbys, Real Men, Knots Landing, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan and Cop Target) start to notice odd sounds and sights and begin to wonder if they got this house under other reasons. With a little background investigation (GOOGLE IT DAMMIT!!) we find out that the house was built on the same land when twenty witches lost their britches because all went up in flames via witch hunt and trials. 
Witch wardrobe brought to you by Glad bags.

It is almost as Father George's faith was the only thing keeping these maleficent spirits at bay as they are tormenting the family of which one of the children is none other than Michael Stephenson of Troll 2 and The Paper Brigade. Ahh Troll 2...what dog flop. George combines his forces with Peter and they are MEGA PRIEST!!! Actually they engage the spirits in the rites of exorcism but Mega Priest sounded cooler. Would have settled for Captain Catholic too. Can the padres duo banish the spirits?? Will their faith waiver?? Will Pazuzu of Exorcist II: The Heretic make an appearance?

Let's break it down. The practical appliances and effects aren't bad, just dated. A lot of dry ice and back lighting was used so you know there wasn't a huge budget and everyone is written like a one dimensional stereotype. Our pace is dragging so much that snails begin to lap us, the intentions and ideas behind this film clearly feel like they have been lifted from both Poltergeist and The Exorcist but poorly executed. It was said at one point, Fragasso's people tried to get Linda Blair into the project but she shot that down toot sweet. B- for effort, fellas but the lady can do more than spit pea soup. As far as DVD releases this seems to be only found as a double feature for George Eastman's Metamorphosis on Blu-ray. Yea not even a DVD release. 

Confessions of a Priest...The Behind Bars Edition!