Beyond Evil - Beyond Evil(Blu Ray & DVD) [Vingure Syndrome - 2019]From the early 1980s Beyond Evil is decidedly campy cinematic strew of gothic horror tropes & demonic possession fun- sprinkled with a seasoning OTT often green colored visual effects, lots of synthetic & flared attire, and Omen like death scenes. The film features cult film favorites John Saxon & Linda Day George - with a dramatic-to-eerier score from Pino Donaggi- from Vingure Syndrome here we have a duel Blu Ray/ DVD presentation of the film featuring a new 2k scan, and a few extras.
Beyond Evil was the second film directed by American Herb Freed- it appeared in 1980, just a year before possible his most known film the slasher Graduation Day.The film is set on a Filipino island, where newly married couple Architect Larry Andrews(Saxon) and his wife Barbra(Day George) have gone to live so Larry can work on a new building complex. They move into an old house that is seemingly cursed by the spirit of a witch who lived there a 100 years ago. The whole thing certainly feels more European-than American, or Filipino(save for local cast/ and few locations)- as we have a classic gothic house setting, that wouldn’t feel out of place on ’60s/ 70’s Italian euro gothic horror. This is blended with demonic possession attack- which once again feel decidedly Italian in its over-top-ness & campiness.
Saxon is good enough in his role, playing the unbelieving husband. Day George is at first glamorous & loving, before slowly but surely getting more unbalanced as she becomes more influenced by the powerful witch who lived in the house. Mixed in with this we get- Del a decidedly greasy & sleazy male friend of Saxon, who at one point had a fleeting affair with George. New age medic Dr. Solomon (David Opatoshu) who practices spiritual surgery.
The film starts off a little slow with voodoo-like rituals/ dancing, & the pair arriving on the island not been able to get into their gothic mansion, because it’s not ready. When they do move in things sort warming up fairly quickly- with lots of glowing effects, taking in powerful green hazes, simmer green eyes & Lazer shot eyes. We also get selection very Omen like deaths- that at times are rather ridiculous, for example, a person's car doors fly off one-by-one, then the bonnet pops before it rolls down a bank & explodes. Here and there we get some fleeting touches of atmosphere, but most there’s a rather campy-to- unintentionally silly feel to the film. It certainly feels more late 60’s to the early ’70s in both its look & feel, and as a cheese bound blend of euro gothic & cheapy demonic possession it’s a good just over an hour & half ride.Roger Batty
On the extra front we get two stand-alone interviews- these each run around the thirteen to fifteen-minute mark- the first is with Herb Freed, this sees him first discussing how he went from being a Rabhi- to directing commercials before going onto direct feature-length films. He moves onto talking about how the idea/ concept of Beyond Evil came about, and it’s new-age spiritual edges. The second interview is with the film's producer- and is also interesting/ worthy. We also get an original trailer too. The new 2K scan looks ok, though not as classy & bright as some of VS scans- the best element is the slightly dodgy glow green effects.
On the whole, Beyond Evil is an enjoyable horror romp- that brings together gothic & demonic tropes into a fairly enjoyable whole. Even though the film dates from 1980, it very much feels like a product of the ’70s or 60’s- so I’d say you’ll need to enjoy more campy horror of these periods to get the most out of this.