Blu-rays The Beyond Blu-Ray

The Beyond Blu-Ray

The Beyond Blu-Ray
Cat No SHAM214
 
£21.99
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Description

THE BEYOND

Shameless proudly presents Lucio Fulci’s THE BEYOND aka ‘L’Aldila’ from 2K-scanned and restored source.
Format: a special Numbered Limited Edition, Hand-finished collectors Blu-ray (one pressing only), Region B. Also available OnLine

Synopsis: When jaded New Yorker (Catriona MacColl) inherits a New Orleans hotel, she calls on composed local doctor (David Warbeck) to contain the inexplicable and increasingly gory accidents that are plaguing the building and its grounds. But soon the Gates of Hell themselves open under the hotel, rendering their fight futile as the dead emerge to walk the earth in Fulci’s masterpiece of metaphysical horror: The Beyond.

SPECIAL BLURAY FEATURE: for the first time ever THE BEYOND is presented with four different versions of the Prologue, seamlessly branched, enabling the complete and uninterrupted viewing of the film, starting with:

(1) The now accepted standard sepia
(2) The original colour camera footage (restored from a new 2k scan)
(3) The B&W version (also as reference to an ‘infamous' mistake! )
(4) A new 4th-way: presented as an homage to this cult-classic from Maestros Lucio Fulci and DOP Sergio Salvati, a new alternative version is proposed using for the 1st time the colour camera footage as the base on which toning is applied - with reference to Salvati’s known thinking. It results in more vivid visuals where the reds of the gore are strikingly visible and the light of torches & car headlights are much more luminous.

In a way, these four versions of the prologue show the various stages of the postproduction and grading processes: starting with the original colour camera footage we then see the prologue in B&W and finally in the standard sepia version made by the means of the time.

NEW EXTRAS:
• ‘Emily’s Eyes’ – an interview with Cinzia Monreale (with English subtitles).
• ‘Arachnophobia’ – an interview with Michele Mirabella (with English subtitles).
• ‘Murder, They Wrote’ – a unique interview with scriptwriter Giorgio Mariuzzo on working with Lucio Fulci (with English subtitles).
• THE BEYOND ‘prologue four-way comparison’ showing: the Original Colour + the B&W version + the Standard Sepia + the new, fourth-way: a version of toning over colour.

ARCHIVE EXTRAS:
• Sergio Salvati (Director of Photography) feature-length audio commentary dissecting the film - with new English subtitles.
• Catriona McCall and David Warbeck a wonderful lively chatty feature-length audio commentary
• Lucio Fulci banter (short conversation on a film set)


THE BEYOND the metaphysics !

About the 2K scan source: the delay of this release is due to the fact that the original delivery materials were inadequate and we had to wait for of a new (2K) scan and its restoration. The silver-lining there was the discovery of the original colour camera footage of the prologue which was separately scanned in 2K and restored for the 1st time ever.

About the viewing experience: seamless branching technology is used here to enable the viewer to see for the first time ever the film complete and uninterrupted starting with a separate versions of the prologue.

About the new additional alternative toning proposal: We do not profess that our new toning versions are the correct versions intended by director Lucio Fulci or his DOP Salvati. Nor are either the original colour or the B&W versions.

We therefore also and firstly present the film with its now accepted sepia tint prologue version which we of course admire as the filmmakers’ version - made with the film processing means available at the time.

Our initiative to present this alternative was brought by the fortunate discovery of the colour camera footage of the prologue and being able to revive it.

It is seeing the sophisticated cinematography of the restored colour prologue - displaying rich painterly colours infused by a magnificent chiaroscuro - which prompted the wish to investigate an alternative vision which may not have been possible to achieve at the time the film was made:

A toning process was applied digitally (instead of chemically) to the colour image - whilst very much keeping as fundamental reference Salvati’s desired effect of making the sequence looking like an old photograph in order to show the prologue was from the past. And also Salvati’s comments: ‘I opted for the soft yellow, almost golden filter to enhance especially the torches, car lights -and- I discarded the usual sepia, the colour of memories…’

Applying the toning to a colour base creates a very different and striking depth in the visuals never seen before; making the reds of the gore more vivid as well as indeed making the golden light sources like the torches and the car headlights much more luminous. Overall we feel that the picture appears more three-dimensional and less ‘flat’ than the sepia toned version.

Therefore, to sum up:
1)- The film was shot in colour
2)- The director and DOP wanted to create a special visual effect to show the decades-long gap in time between the prologue and the present time in the film
- On one hand the filmmakers wanted the film to look like an old photograph.
- On the other hand Salvati says he wanted to ‘discard the usual sepia’ and opted for ‘the soft yellow, almost golden filter to enhance especially the torches, car lights … and the burnt lime on the painter’s face’
3)- However at the time, the process was very much restricted to applying an overall chemical-bath toning to process the whole celluloid film in one go. And this is indeed what was done then.

There are further more in-depth considerations below (***):


About the Unique transparent packaging of this limited numbered 1st pressing edition:

Similarly the unique packaging was informed by the metaphysical goals, which the filmmakers mention had informed their vision of The Beyond
(Salvati again: ‘What I was trying to recreate was the effect of an old, yellowed photograph, something outside time, establishing a gap between the prologue and the present day as though they were two separate films, divided by an infinite arc of time indicating the Dimension of the Afterwards. I discarded the usual sepia, the colour of memories, since there are no relationships between the characters based on memory; instead, THE BEYOND is a horror which lies outside time and space...'

The package is a hand-finished, limited edition of a transparent case with a transparent inlay printed in most parts yet allowing clear see-though view of the shiny silver surface of the Bluray disc custom-mounted inverted (shiny side up): which not only shows the resulting mirror effect of the printed parts of the transparent inlay reflected onto the disc surface but which also creates shadows onto the disc.

The resulting shadows and reflections - which move depending the viewing axis - create an overall optical effect of depth - the impression being of at least three separate gossamer layers of Hades.. (the floating images reflected on several planes through the mirror surface of the inverted disc creating an illusion of depth many times the real depth of the Bluray case.

The optical effect and the transparent images recall the other-worldly lack of boundaries, the element of water which permeates a lot of the film, and most importantly the metaphysical ’circular’ notion of the film - for example where the protagonists, fleeing the zombie invasion in the hospital, go down some stairs only to find themselves (back) in the exact same basement of the Hotel - which is geographically far from the Hospital and rationally impossible.

The packaging is also informed by - and in turn infers - the apparently ‘enclosed’, circular, yet open-scape vision of hell - of the Beyond - as seen in the final scene with its hellish twilight-grey murky tones; though here on the sleeve artwork, instead of the grey-green, we used the more striking but equally significant rusty blood colour seen in the film and reminiscent of the sepia tone as well.

On the reverse we see the iconic spider here exiting the blind ‘cataract’ eye (seen below the transparent sleeve) of its victim … a soon-to-be Zombie

Further more in-depth considerations (***): Here is the train of thought and the genesis of the new version based on the colour camera negative and the hypotheses made along the way:

- We know from the audio commentary from Salvati (featured on our new release) that the film was shot in colour as was usual practice then. [*Sergio Salvati: ‘We filmed it the usual way, in colour, as you always do, because it's better to start with colour rather than black and white…]

- We know from the same audio commentary from Salvati that, together with Fulci, they decided to do something special at post-production: [*Sergio Salvati: ‘..Then I’d discuss it with Lucio Fulci, who was always looking for something more... it had great atmosphere but we decided to tone it. We did it to enhance the car lights, especially the torches which are in various shots, to make them look a bit unusual…”]

(*Above in Italics are from the audio commentary on the Shameless Bluray release of THE BEYOND, translated in English)

- We further glean from text attributed to Salvati which read: 'We filmed in colour, it had great atmosphere but we decided to tint it… It was mine and Lucio's idea... and graded by Luciano Vittori of Studio Vittori (**). It's such a powerful opening sequence […] I opted for the soft yellow, almost golden filter to enhance especially the torches, car lights … and the burnt lime on the painter’s face. What I was trying to recreate was the effect of an old, yellowed photograph, something outside time, establishing a gap between the prologue and the present day as though they were two separate films, divided by an infinite arc of time indicating the Dimension of the Afterwards. I discarded the usual sepia, the colour of memories, since there are no relationships between the characters based on memory; instead, THE BEYOND is a horror which lies outside time and space...'

(**) We asked the original Italian lab, the above-referred Studio Vittori, but they had no records anymore of the colour grading done at the time. Unfortunately the owner and and then head, Luciano Vittori, has since passed away.

But from speaking with the lab, it is clear that at the time, it would have been incredibly difficult (if not near impossible) and very expensive to do anything else than obtain the sepia tint from an overall chemical process which is how the now accepted usual sepia tint prologue version was created.
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