Blu-ray Movie Review – Beyond the Darkness (1979)

Beyond the Darkness
Directed by Joe D’Amato
Courtesy of Severin Films & CAV Distribution
Original Year of Release: 1979
Blu-ray Release Date: July 25, 2017

Italian horror is rife with iconic films, however a handful were accompanied by gratuitous media coverage shortly after their release. This was primarily due to their controversial content, although some were overhyped in that sense. And while several of these scandalous titles wound up on the Video Nasties list, a few, like BEYOND THE DARKNESS, are still banned in certain countries today.

BEYOND THE DARKNESS is a gem of a horror flick, and it boasts some of the most gut-churning effects I’ve ever seen. Granted, the plot is a bit loose, but that is very forgivable when you have such wondrous special effects to ogle. BEYOND THE DARKNESS is a heck of a film, and it’s one every horror fan should experience…even if only once.

If you are not familiar with BEYOND THE DARKNESS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of

It has been denounced as “revolting” (SplatterDay.com), “stomach-churning” (Classic-Horror.com) and “shower-prompting” (Fandor), while simultaneously acclaimed as “bone-chilling” (Chas Balun), “truly classic” (The Spinning Image) and “a must-see” (Horror.com). Now experience “D’Amato’s masterpiece” (BloodyDisgusting.com) like you’ve never seen or heard it before: CinzIa Monreale (THE BEYOND) and Franca Stoppi (THE OTHER HELL) star in this psycho sickie – set to a pounding score by Goblin.

Severin is proud to present this sleaze-fest also known as BURIED ALIVE and BUIO OMEGA from director Joe D’Amato (ANTHROPOPHAGUS), restored and packed with exclusive new Special Features.

BEYOND THE DARKNESS is shot fairly well and, despite a grainy opening sequence, looks good onscreen. I mention the graininess that occurs during the opening credits because it’s pretty bad. Thankfully, it only lasts a minute or so, and then the picture clears up nicely. The HD transfer from that point on looks great, and I’m assuming the poor quality of the opening scenes is due to the original film stock.

The acting is not too shabby overall. Kieran Canter does a fine job as the main character, Frank. He is accompanied by Franca Stoppi, who gives a downright chilling performance as Iris, the “nanny” who has a thing for Frank. I’m especially impressed with Cinzia Monreale, who plays both Anna and her sister, Elena; Monreale is “dead” for most of the film, and it is stunning to see how still she can keep her body, despite everything that is happening to it. I had no problem believing she was deceased. The rest of the cast is so-so, but the characters are never fleshed out, and therefore it’s hard to judge their performances.

As mentioned, the special effects are the winner here. I actually cringed a couple of times when Frank is prepping Anna for embalming, specifically when he is removing her brain. The visuals are beyond realistic, and I have to commend the effects team for how convincing they made this. The rest of the gore is just as good.

BEYOND THE DARKNESS is a win for me, and it’s a film I recommend checking out. Just make sure you do so on an empty stomach…or have a bowl nearby. The Blu-ray also boasts some nice Special Features, including:

• Joe D’Amato: The Horror Experience
• The Omega Woman: Interview With Actress Franca Stoppi (17 Minutes)
• Goblin Reborn Perform Buio Omega Live 2016
• Locations Revisited
• Sick Love – An Interview With Actress Cinzia Monreale
• Trailer
• CD Soundtrack (Blu-ray exclusive)

The film is available now.

One thought on “Blu-ray Movie Review – Beyond the Darkness (1979)

  1. Almost every film will be damaged at the beginning of each reel. It is the version most exposed to light and most exposed to air, dirt, finger prints, etc. It doesn’t help that the film was shot on Super 16. Blowing it up to 35mm enlarges the film grain and creates a fuzzy image. Despite even this, the film is remarkably sharp.

    What I think stands out the most is the color timing. All previous versions have had mediocre or incorrect color timing, resulting in a less-than-perfect image. Severin either has someone on staff who is an expert on this particular film or, understood the notes (if there were any).

    I remember watching this on VHS as “Buried Alive.” The guts were a light shade of pink, almost grey. Seeing it on this Bluray, it’s now vivid dark pink with strands of red blood. It is hard to say which is worse. Having your brain fill in the details lost in the transfer, or having the details handed to you on a silver platter and a magnifying glass. 🙂

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