The IPA. If you don't like it, then maybe you should find a different blog. When you drink an IPA for the first time many find it's too powerful, way too powerful. It's a beer you need to warm up to and understand. I think i like it because most people can't handle it. Then try a double IPA and the weak will be dropped from the rolls. It's serious beer business. This weeks hop journey takes us to the Lucio Fulci film The Beyond hand in hand with Bridgeport's Hop Czar. I had almost given up on this movie. I had heard that it was out of print and extremely rare. But there it was in FYE for the cheap used price of $12! I did a little wiki research and found out that after going out of print in the early 80's this movie became a rare and highly sought after horror film. Then gory director extraordinaire Quentin Tarantino acquired the rights to the film and distributed it's uncut version with tons of extras. Thanks Quentin!
The movie opens with 1927 Louisiana. A mob storms this mansion and brutally tortures and murders a "warlock". There's some mention of the seven gates of hell, that once opened, unleash evil (undead) into the world. This movie has enough plot to keep it moving. I actually found myself excited and anxious to see what happened next. "This is a big deal?" you ask. YES! The following is a list of Fulci movies i've seen.
City of the Living Dead
I guess it's not as many as i thought. After looking at a complete list of Fulci films i found out that Zombi 4: Afterlife, and Zombi 5: Killing Birds were actually not Fulci movies. Fooled me! Anyway Zombi 2, Zombi 3, and City of the Living Dead all lag quite a bit in the middle and have less than compelling plots. The Beyond does something that the other three films of his did not achive....suspense. It's done in a way that only classic horror movies achieve. New age horror has to cater to our A.D.D. societal processings. Blam! There's a monster!! Blam!!! People are dead!!! Blam! there's another one!!!! You get what i mean. We're a headline society. Nobody reads through the whole story anymore. That's what makes this film so great. Sure there are a couple of "wham bam" murder scenes, but by an large, the lead up and the visualization of each gory scene is savored for long moments. There are two scenes that make this incredibly clear to me. The first is the woman who is killed in the morgue and the other is the man killed in the library. Both had the high pitched strings letting you know danger was near and both took painfully long to display the exact manner in which each person was bruttally murdered.
Murder #1: This woman is dressing her dead husbands corpse for the funeral when all of the sudden.......she screams! At what you have no idea. The camera shifts to her daughter who was waiting outside. The daughter runs in to find her mother passed out on her back with a tipped over jug of acid slowly pouring out all over her face. Which leads one to wonder why there is a GIANT UNCOVERED glass jar full of ACID on top of a shelf? Seems aufly suspicious to me. The next few minutes are close up shots of this womans face melting, skull breaking, and blood spraying. It's pretty brutal. Frothy blood mixed with acid pours out across the floor and the daughter runs. EPIC.
Murder #2: This guy is climbing up a ladder in a library looking for building plans on the house that supposidly has the "7th gate to hell" in it. As he opens the plans book there is a thunderous boom of "lightning?" he goes falling off the 10 ft ladder. Dead right? Wrong! Here is where it gets awesome. Now a dozzen tarantulas come out of nowhere to cover this guy and eat him alive. They really do! One's pincers rip off part of his lip, another goes into his mouth and slices off his tounge. Yet another goes into his eye socket ripping out his eye. The best part of the scene is that some of the spiders are real and some are fake. The fake ones are obviously on wires or something because instead of creeping they wobble arround. Awesome!
As i search through the piles and piles of DVD's for the best zombie movie, I am also searching for the best IPA. It's packing the most hops you can into a beer while keeping the balance and pushing through something unique. I picked up Bridgeport's Hop Czar. It's the Czar of hops! It must be the best! It's 7.5% ABV and a light copper color with a fluffy off white head. This IPA isn't the american powerhouse that i normally drink. Instead of big citrus blasts this beer has more earthy and grassy with a bit of pepper. There's a malty, sweet vegetable aroma there as well. Given enough sniffs you can get some pine but it's not in your face. What you smell is what you taste with this beer; grassy, earthy, with a bit of bread. It's almost sticky as it finishes but with a substantial astringent hop bite. Medium mouth feel. It's not bad. Not what i'd go hanging my hat on as a brewer. Definitely not a CZAR of any kind. No sir. The sixer was cheap enough to warrant the $8 splurge now and again. Check it out if your bored or really thirsty.
Back to the movie. There's the classic case of "The girl who cried Zombie". This tough guy doctor just is not buying the fact that this woman who owns the hotel is being assaulted by the living dead. He's not a big believer. He's the only guy that figures out only a head shot will kill a zombie but still decides to take body shots just to make sure. "I'm a scientist DAMN IT. I need a logical explanation!" Well i need a logical explanation as to why you would waste bullets trying to make sure it's just head shots instead of dispatching as many undead as you could!!! So the gates of hell open and it doesn't really explain how. Just that it happened.
So our two main characters go into a basement which happens to be the hotel.....which then happens to be hell....where there's nothing really going on........then they're blind! That's it. No resolution, no explanation. I've got an explanation......Fulci is a wine drunk. He was wasted when he decided how to end this one. I still love it.....but just because of how ridicules it is. This one is a must watch but i'm not sure why.