Saturday, February 18, 2012

Más allá del terror (1980)

... aka: Beyond Terror
... aka: Further Than Fear
... aka: Terror Gang

Directed by:
Tomás Aznar

This seldom-watched Spanish supernatural morality tale is vulgar, pretty sick and more tasteless than most. It's so trashy that the man behind the notorious PIECES (1981), Juan Piquer Simón (who co-wrote and backed the film), opted to hide behind the pseudonym "Alfredo Casado" for his contributions. Things begin with an overlong pre-credits sequence of a young woman getting picked up by an older man. He wants to take her to a hotel. Instead, she insists they go out into the woods to a secluded spot where she proceeds to knife him to death and steal his money. The girl - Lola (Raquel Ramírez) - then meets up with her gang of drugged-out, foul-mouthed thug bikers, which includes handsome and charismatic Chema (Francisco Sánchez Grajera) and her brother Nico (Emilio Siegrist). They spend all of the money she's just acquired on some "Moroccan Gum" (some kind of hashish drugs) and decide they need some more cash, so they hold up a diner. Things get a little out of hand when the police arrive. There's a gunfight where everyone in the diner, two police officers and one of the bikers are killed. Chema, Lola and Nico decide to kidnap a wealthy-looking surviving couple; Jorge (Antonio Jabalera) and Linda (Alexía Loreto), to ensure their getaway.

Forcing Jorge to drive them, Chema doesn't even attempt to hide his attraction for Linda and feels her up in the car in front of her lover while the gang sits in the backseat getting high. We learn that Linda is married, Jorge works for her husband and the two have been carrying on an affair but don't even really like each other. No one else knows it, but before Linda took off her little rendezvous, she cleared out her husband's bank account and has a million dollars worth of cash and jewelry in her bag. They end up wrecking the car during a fight and have to walk; eventually deciding to invade a home where an elderly woman (Andreé Van de Woestyne) lives with a young boy (David Forrest). They kill the dog, smack the old lady around (and kick her while she's on the ground), torch the place and steal their car. Jorge and Linda prove to be just as detestable as their kidnappers by doing absolutely nothing to help. He even watches the little boy burn to death and doesn't lift a finger to help!

Little do any of them realize, but the old lady is a Satanist and she decides to curse them with her last dying breath. The next day while driving along, some supernatural force takes control of the car and (in hyper-fast, head-spinning speed) delivers them to a secluded, crumbling church before deciding to break down. There are other abandoned old buildings surrounding them but no one seems to live around there... That's probably because they've all been delivered directly to hell to receive their just punishment.

Characters have visions of those who have died returning to life, ghosts of the old witch, the little boy and the dog show up to haunt (or attack) them and there's a catacomb littered with mummified corpses (which are eventually brought to life) underneath the abandoned village rumored to contain a treasure. Two of them attempt to leave by foot and walk all day but end up getting nowhere in process. There's a hanging and one guy is burnt alive while trapped inside a car (after attempting to run off with the stolen money). The dog rips someone else apart, the mummies take care of another and for a coup de grace we get an exploding head. There's loads of profane, raunchy dialogue, constant insults being hurled around, a little sex (Linda has no issue screwing her kidnapper, despite the fact he likes to slap her around) and a lot of fighting. It's all rather nasty and nihilistic, and the dynamic between the brother-and-sister characters gets really twisted after awhile. He masturbates in front of her into the fire and she (apparently fed up with being denied some action by the gang leader) decides to give her brother head. Yeah, gross, I know. I already warned you this was pretty sick at times!

As you can probably tell from the screen caps, I wasn't able to acquire a very nice copy of this film. However, it's all very atmospheric, with excellent use made of some eerie shooting locations and a few fairly effective horror sequences toward the end. The premise, though ultimately predictable, maintains a certain level of interest as well. If this were a little better distributed (there's no DVD and it was never released in America), it would probably have its fans.



Anonymous said...

Why do you call it "a mexican tale"? Have you ever seen a visigoth catacomb in Mexico?
This delirant and effective film was made in Spain by Spanish people.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Thanks for pointing that out. I made corrections.

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