Beyond the Constraints of Reality: Time, Space and Metaphysics in Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond

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    Lucio Fulci’s classic The Beyond (1981) contributes to an understanding of abstract horror and an original poetics of the undead in its focus on breaking down the representation of reality. Understanding reality as a naturalistic comprehension of time and space the film slowly crumbles the foundation of reality with special attention to religious metaphors and suspension of disbelief. On the one hand the film applies a common type of hesitation, which means that the film in itself deals with the basic poetics of horror, but on the other hand the film’s center of attention is horizontal time and space. Slowly, a new vertical, divine perception of time is imposed on mainly the two central characters without which survival is impossible, but as they accept the new insight space seems to break down as well. This means that a close analysis of The Beyond conveys a basic conception of the poetics of the horror genre as such, while it also heralds an inspection of the religious and metaphysic appreciation of horror. Consequently, there seems to be – drawing on Noël Carroll’s conceptualizations – a relationship between the emotion of art-horror (“the idea that the undead exists”), the emotion of real horror (the affection on the body) and lastly the emotion of belief (“the idea that God exists”). In that sense, the poetics of horror can as well draw heavily upon the idea of mimetic aspects of fiction and, basically and correspondingly, Lucio Fulci’s cult film The Beyond is a core example of how horror draws upon another implication in the word ‘cult’, namely the religious cult. Both religion and horror deals with going beyond the constraints of reality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2009
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    EventCine Excess III: The Third International Conference on Cult Film Traditions - London, United Kingdom
    Duration: 30 Apr 20092 May 2009


    ConferenceCine Excess III
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    OtherHorror fiction, Lucio Fulci, censorship
    Internet address


    • Horror fiction
    • Lucio Fulci
    • Cult film

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