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Ain't The Beyond, but tries to be
on December 1, 2003
House by the Cemetery (Lucio Fulci, 1981)
One wonders, idly, why it is that Fulci felt the need to make (essentially) the same movie twice in one year. While House by the Cemetery is set in Boston, the family configuration is different, and the long-leggetie beastie is a different sort of thing, House by the Cemetery might as well have been outtakes from the superior The Beyond. Just to add to the similarity, Fulci cast Catriona MacColl as the female lead in both.
Just in case you've never seen The Beyond, the story: family (in this case, family has kid) moves into eerie house. Strange things start happening, most of which involve a lot of blood. Family members uncover long-buried secret that is the key to understanding the nastiness, but by that time, it's pretty much too late for the knowledge to actually help anyone, and we end up with a long, bloody climax.
I can't quite put my finger on why, of the two films, The Beyond seems like the superior product. The acting quality is about equal, the set decoration is similar, the plot makes all the appropriate twists and turns (and some of them are unpredictable), the cinematography is appropriately dark and brooding where it needs to be without going over the line into David Fincher-like claustrophobia. I guess it's because House by the Cemetery doesn't have the gratuitous spider scene The Beyond has (and let's not forget Maria Marsala's memorable turn in The Beyond, either, a parallel of which House by the Cemetery lacks).
It's good bloody Fulci fun, and a fine way to kill (with a large axe, of course) an hour and a half. But The Beyond edges it on the rewatchability factor. ***