Beyond the Darkness (1979)
Now here's a grisly little number. A lot of films have the title of "most sickening film ever made". Some even aspire to it. Try as they might, though, few directors were willing to cross barriers a violate taboos the way Joe D'Amato (aka Aristide Massaccesi) would. His first, and arguably, his best, horror film was been restored and remastered by Media Blaster's Shriek Show label. Buio Omega (Aka Beyond the Darkness, Buried Alive, Blue Holocaust, etc.) is a film not to be missed by fans of graphic, intense horror.
Beyond the Darkness tells a simple story, one of love, devotion, and taxidermy. When young Franco's (Kieran Canter) girlfriend (the beautiful Cinzia Monreale) dies, he is determined to keep her forever close to himself. To this end, he applies his skills as a taxidermist to her remains, and keeps her at his estate. With the help of his bizarre housekeeper, Iris (Franca Stoppi), he goes to murderous length to protect his ugly secret.
Beyond the Darkness's simple plot is told through a savagely unblinking eye. The details of Franco's action, from autopsy. To torture, to dismemberment, are graphically depicted as clearly as latex and pig entrails will allow. When released in 1979, D'amato was accused of using real cadavers to achieve his grisly effects. The charges were disproved in court, but that will make little difference to the audience. Real or not, it's is some sick stuff.
Of course, the irony here is that the film itself might have worked even without its stomach-churning visual. It is well made, attractively photographed, and well acted. While the audience will invest little sympathy in Franco or his lifestyle, there is still a perverse desire to see how far he is willing to go to protect his life style.
Fans of graphic euro-horror have reason to rejoice. Buio Omega has finally gotten a release worthy of its reputation. Long available in a grainy, washed out video transfer from Thriller Video under the title Buried Alive, it is refreshing to see the films rich vibrant colors and excellent camera work as it was meant to be. Beyond the Darkness is well-made, tightly written, well acted, and entertaining. It’s also one of the most sickening movies ever made.