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Paul Naschy plays a supporting role as a deranged gravedigger in this zombie movie, set in a small highland village in 19th-century Scotland, where a stranger's arrival to claim an inheritance is met with apocalyptic visions and other evil omens. The town unearths a crypt full of horrors, including a devil-worshipping coven and throngs of the living dead. Written by
Paul Naschy had to play a secondary role as Igor the gravedigger because he was acting in another movie being shot at the exact same time. See more »
When confronted by two of the zombies after escaping the catacombs, Serges shoots one of them nine times with his revolver. This was after already discharging it in the catacombs several times, but prior to any reloading. Most revolvers contain only five or six cartridges. See more »
I'd be lying if I said it was good, but it's enjoyably bad in its outlandish little way.
I'm always suspicious of films with many titles. I invariably find myself musing as to why the film can be found under so many guises. Could it be that the film is absolutely awful, so its makers and distributors have re-named it and re-marketed it again and again in the hope of eventually finding an appreciative audience? This is such a film - a Euro horror zombie flick which has more alternative titles than cast members! The version I saw was entitled "Beyond The Living Dead", and most of the cast members were given nondescript pseudonyms on the credits. For instance, hero Stelvio Rosi was billed as Stanley Cooper, and principle female player Dyanik Zurakowska was billed as Vickie Nesbitt. It's not a particularly good film, but to whole-heartedly savage it would be a touch harsh as there are just a few interesting elements which drag it up above "awful" to somewhere in the "slightly-below-average" category.
Serge Checkhov (Stelvio Rosi) arrives in an East European town (Skopje in Macedonia is hinted at) for the reading of his uncle's will. He soon discovers that he is to inherit his uncle's mansion, much to the annoyance of his cruel and ambitious aunt Nadia (Maria Pia Conte). Something creepy seems to be going on in town at the same time - his cousin is found hanged from a tree in the cemetery; necrophiliac grave-digger Igor (Paul Naschy) starts to act more outlandishly than usual; Aunt Nadia seduces and copulates with young Serge; a doctor residing in the house starts to show off his experiments to reanimate dead animals; and uncle's corpse occasionally goes missing as if it's got up and begun walking of its own accord. Gradually, Serge investigates and uncovers a plot that Baron Frankenstein himself would've been mighty proud of.
Mainly the film is underwhelming. The solution to the mystery is revealed in a phony, heavy-handed scene which resembles the unmasking of the villain in a Scooby Doo cartoon. Sometimes the characters say and do such dumb things that you want to scream in despair. The performances are generally amateurish, and the film is thin on real terror. However, as I've indicated already, it escapes total damnation for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Naschy as the necrophiliac grave digger is hilarious and disturbing (at the same time) in all his scenes. Secondly, the location work is quite impressive. Thirdly, there's plenty of needless nudity to please the voyeurs (check out the scene where Zurakowska bares her tits purely for the hell of it.... a free drink for anyone who can justify the need for THAT scene without using the word exploitation!!!) And fourthly, for some reason that I've never been able to figure out, the preposterous story is actually engrossing in a totally inexplicable way. Beyond The Living Dead - or whatever title you know it by - is undoubtedly a bad film, but at least it's ENTERTAININGLY bad.
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