Broke and out of options, Liza (Catriona MacColl) decides to reopen a creepy Louisiana hotel she has recently inherited. Little does she know that it contains one of the seven gates to hell (this explains the structure's history of violence and strange happenings), and Liza and the town doctor (David Warbeck) are soon confronted by a series of hideous mutilation/murders. To judge by this reissue of Lucio Fulci's 1981 film, the director (who died two years ago) had even greater disdain for plot logic than fellow Italian horrormeisters Dario Argento and Riccardo Freda, with whom he collaborated. (The police are never even mentioned, even as the corpses pile up.) While The Beyond has a less striking visual style than Argento's best films, it has far more accomplished gore scenes ... if that's what floats your boat. Since there are numerous sequences here involving eyeballs being plucked out, the dissolving of acid-drenched faces, and giant spiders eating characters' faces, you might want to keep Mom and Pop away from this one. That said, The Beyond isn't merely a catalog of gore effects: It has a genuine creepiness. Some minor technical problems -- looping that sometimes only mimics actual English speech, a hospital sign that says "Do Not Entry" -- only add to the feeling of displacement.
The Beyond begins a run of Friday and Saturday midnight showings Friday, July 3, at the Castro, 429 Castro (at Market). Tickets are $6.50; call 621-6120. The movie will begin a run of Friday midnight showings at the UC Theater in Berkeley July 17.