E tu vivrai nel terrore! L'aldilà (lit. And you will live in terror! The afterlife), known in English as The Beyond or 7 Doors of Death, is a 1981 surrealist exploitation horror film directed by Lucio Fulci, loosely based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith.
Set in Louisiana, the film opens in 1927 with a painter named Schweick painting a vision of Hell in the basement of the Seven Doors Hotel when a lynch mob breaks in and murders him with quicklime, believing him to be a warlock. Shifting to the "present day", a young woman from New York named Liza Merril (Catriona Maccoll) has inherited the hotel and is renovating it. The activities of the contractors open the Gate of Hell the hotel is built over. Mysterious deaths and incidents ensue, with Liza and a local doctor encountering a mysterious blind girl who wants them to leave the hotel, a mystic tome called the Book of Eibon that supposedly contains the answers to the nightmare at hand, face-eating tarantulas, Schweick's ghoul, and eventually the rising dead. It ends with the two passing into the afterlife, which is depicted as a blank gray wasteland littered with corpses.
The film is one of four films by Lucio Fulci involving zombies, and the second film in his unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy (the others being City of the Living Dead and The House by the Cemetery). The plot is quite muddled and incoherent, with little explanation offered for anything at the end. Fulci said himself that he did not intend for it to be coherent; it was merely supposed to be a succession of surrealist images.
Though he originally intended it to be a Haunted House film, executives insisted he add zombies to make it more profitable due to zombie movies being the rage at the time. The film has since became a cult classic for its surrealist imagery, and for the Gorn that got it on Britain's infamous Video Nasties list.
This film provides examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: The Blackest Heart Media graphic novel, released in 1999 expands upon the backstories of the characters. In particular, Plumber Joe is a child molester who was also carrying on an affair with Martha. Also, Liza's backstory is explained as well.
- Beware of Vicious Dog: The haunted hotel manages to turn the blind woman's dog against her and rips her throat open.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: There's a sign saying "DO NOT ENTRY."
- B-Movie: Fulci, cheesy acting, zombies, and gore aplenty. Yup, it fits.
- The Big Easy: The haunted hotel was built somewhere in Louisiana.
- Boom, Headshot!: Dr. McCabe manages to get a couple of headshots at some zombies. And then he has to shoot a ghoul that grabbed Liza's face. Dear GOD, the results. Click through with extreme caution...◊
- Bottomless Magazines: Subverted; knowing that people would question his character shooting what appeared to be unlimited ammo from his gun, David Warbeck stealthily did some improv during in one scene (in the elevator of the hospital) where he reloads his gun... by dropping ammunition straight down the barrel (a lateral move, so far as realism goes, but he was doing it as a gag).
- Corpsing: MacColl grins at Warbeck's above mentioned gun joke.
- Cosmic Horror Story: Probably the best way to explain what the heck's going on.
- Downer Ending: The entire town vanishes and is presumed dead. Liza and Richard try to flee the zombies, but they make the mistake of going into the basement, thus entering the Gate, and being trapped in the Beyond forever.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: As the story goes, they were added solely due to Executive Meddling.
- Exploitation Film: The only thing it's missing to be a proper video nasty is some gratuitous nudity for no reason.
- Eye Scream: The film features three eye gouging scenes: a hand coming from a hole on a wall, a victim shoved into an embedded nail that impales her eye, and a tarantula that pulls off the top layer of the eye from somebody's face.
- Facial Horror: Somebody meets her end when corrosive acid falls on her face. In the usual Fulci fashion, it slowly shows off every detail of the acid's damage.
- Gainax Ending: Where exactly the two remaining survivors end up in is hard to say.
- Gorn: It's what's in front of the camera when Lucio Fulci's behind the camera.
- Hell Gate: One is accidentally opened, causing the house to slowly become cursed.
- Lovecraft on Film: Actually, Clark Ashton Smith on Film.
- Mind Screw: Carnivorous spiders, walking ghouls, sudden noises, growing acid pools, a gateway to Hell... what kind of haunted hotel is this!?
- The Nothing After Death: Fulci said the corpse-laden gray wasteland might be how the afterlife would appear to an atheist.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: The main theme has shades of this, but it's actually more like "Ethereal Italian Chanting Vocals That Sound Like Actual Zombies with Driving Guitar and Pan Flute Harmony." And it's incredible.
- The Place: The title refers to the afterlife in this setting.
- Sickening "Crunch!": Numerous, but they all sound like someone crunching potato chips.
- The foley work for the tarantulas deserves special mention- their every step sounds like grinding metal, and it's absolutely unnerving.
- Spiders Are Scary: A bunch of demonic tarantulas appear out of nowhere and proceed to eat an unconscious man's face.
- Surreal Horror: Fulci himself said that he wanted the film to be a series of surreal happenings with little connection.
- The "The" Title
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Book of Eibon.
- Trust Me, I'm a Doctor: Said word-for-word by Dr. John McCabe.
- Video Nasty