Okay, I’m going to come out and say it right away, these movies are terrible. The acting is terrible, the effects are terrible, the story is terrible, and the overall experience watching these two disasters is terrible. There, I said it. Whew, I feel better. As many already know, I’m a huge fan of cheesy, low budget 80’s movies (in this case 1990 movies,) but watching Metamorphosis and Beyond Darkness took a lot of willpower to get through to the end credits. They are slow films, that plod along with barely a story keeping it together. I felt like I was being tortured, like I did something wrong in a past life and this was my punishment. However, this is all my opinion and I know for a fact there are people out there that like these movies, so I will do my unpaid job and review them one by one, just for the three or four readers that are going to read this review…
RUN-TIME: 96 / 93 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.66:1
AUDIO: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
RATING: R / NR
PRODUCTION DATE: 1990
RELEASE DATE: Aug 25th, 2015
A Double Feature Of Insane Horror Awaits You…
METAMORPHOSIS (1989, Rated R)
First up is the science-fiction/horror of Metamorphosis! When his experiments in genetics are mocked by his colleagues, maverick scientist Dr. Peter Houseman takes extreme measures to prove that his untested anti-aging serum works. Injecting himself with his miracle “cure,” he soon experiences a terrifying change within himself that threatens not only the lives of those around him, but also his own sanity. From cult cinema mainstay George Eastman, Metamorphosis proves that nightmares may change, but fear is forever!
BEYOND DARKNESS (1990, Not Rated)
Next, take a terrifying trip into a world beyond fear, beyond belief… Beyond Darkness. When a man of God and his loving family move into a new house, they think they’ve found the perfect home…until they discover that their new digs were once the location where a coven of witches were burned at the stake! It’s only a matter of time before the radio starts blaring satanic chants and the cutlery takes on a mind of its own. Will the awakened evil in this house have its final revenge, or can a plucky priest fend off what lurks Beyond Darkness? This tale of terror comes from Claudio Fragasso, the director of Troll 2 (so you KNOW it’s good!).
Let’s start off this review with the first movie on the disc, Metamorphosis. It’s all about a chiseled handsome scientist, who wants to live forever. Dr. Peter Houseman, played by Gene Lebrock, who also appears in the next movie on this disc, Beyond Darkness, is being pressured to justify his funding, but his research isn’t ready. I mean, he’s still on the killing monkeys stage, so give the guy a break. Even with a pile of dead monkeys by his side, he still feels he is ready to test it on a human, so who better than himself. He injects the serum into his brain and viola, it works! Kidding! It actually starts mutating him into some sort of weird lizard man, who experiences black outs and likes to beat woman. Yay!
In the meantime, Dr. Houseman is hanging around Sally Donnelly, played by Catherine Baranov, who you might remember from absolutely nothing else. They have fallen in love with each other, even though she is the one that caused this whole budget ruckus in the first place. As Houseman starts changing, Sally starts to wonder whether she might of picked the wrong guy to date. A few cheap special effects, and one too many freeze frames later, Houseman is a dinosaur, or something. I don’t know, the movie sucks.
The biggest problem with Metamorphosis is that it’s a pain to sit through, with a paper thin plot. The acting is stiff from pretty much everyone, and the special effects are laugh inducing. I was pretty invested at first, before the experiment went awry, but after that, the movie doesn’t do anything exciting. It follows Houseman around, as he slowly starts falling apart, and we get random scenes of him thinking he might of hurt someone. Ugh, so boring!
I don’t want to talk about Metamorphosis anymore, so let’s get on with the next movie, Beyond Darkness. A super weird haunted house story that steals ideas from Amityville Horror, The Exorcist and Poltergeist, all movies that are way, way better than this train wreck of a film. Director Claudio Fragasso, who goes by the name Clyde Anderson on this film, will seem familiar to fans of terrible movies, as he is the one that directed the super classic Troll 2. Besides sharing the same director, we also get subjected to Troll 2 “star,” Michael Stephenson in Beyond Darkness. If that isn’t pain enough, the story is a boring, confusing mess, with a run time of a 95 minutes, that feels like 9400 minutes.
Beyond Darkness has Metamorphosis actor Gene Lebrock moving into a home with his family, the same home that was used in the vastly superior film The Beyond, directed by Lucio Fulci. The home is haunted by a bunch of black cloak wearing witches, lead by a bald female killer. After a few incidents involving a possessed radio, a cleaver, a hair drying hole in the closet, a rocking swan, and a sick teddy bear, the family realizes maybe they should get the f out of there. However, little shit Martin gets kidnapped and possessed and we are forced to see Beyond Darkness rip off several vastly superior movies. A girl named Carol getting sucked into a ghostly universe (Poltergeist, check). A kid getting possessed by a demon, tied to a bed, while two Priests pray for minutes on end (The Exorcist, check). A priest, who is well aware of the house being haunted, leaves his family alone, while all sorts of crazy insane shit happens off screen and we are told how awesome it was and how tough the family is (ummm, I guess the movie gets an originality star for that one.) Come the last 20 minutes or so, we give witness to an ending that drags on and on. I swear, I can count on both hands how many times this movie could’ve ended, yet it kept on trucking.
Beyond Darkness is part of a line of Italian films that felt the need to confuse their audience as much as possibly by giving the movie an alternate name known as La Casa 5. If you’ve already read my other review for Ghosthouse / Witchery, you’ll remember that big breakdown of all the La Casa movies, which overseas are considered Evil Dead / House sequels. In reality, they aren’t at all, but you gotta make back your money somehow and what better way than tricking your audience into seeing your shitty film.
I’ll give props to Scream Factory. They are doing a fantastic job at grabbing movies with awesome covers and throwing them onto Double Features. The video and audio however on these releases are pretty below par, but you got to remember, these are two terrible movies, so no one thought to keep a pristine negative lying around. With that said, the video is a little on the soft side for the most part and the audio has the tendency to be low in Beyond Darkness‘ case. Not the best representation of Blu that’s for sure, but take what you can get for these two films I suppose. Only features are two trailers for the included movies.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
Metamorphosis / Beyond Darkness are two movies I wound up being completely bored with. I suffered through until the end and honestly I had a hard time justifying my time spent with them. They are terrible movies. As opinions go though, you might end up loving them, but for me, it felt like a waste of time. Scream Factory does an okay job with this Double Feature, but the movies, with a lackluster transfer and no special features, make this one hard purchase to recommend. Maybe wait for it to be on sale.