Beyond the Gates of Hell (2022) Film Review
Is there anything more fulfilling than making a film about something you love? Apparently, for Dustin Ferguson, such love represents enough confidence for him to go against rules and make his own version of a homage in the form of a featurette that will only appeal to his niche of an audience. Beyond the Gates of Hell is a product you will only come to understand and appreciate if you’re aware of the world you’re willing to enter for a couple of minutes. All this to say Ferguson’s work does not resemble that of any other director because he’s not trying to. His film is campy, bombastic, and far from horrific. Just like the films of his idol, Lucio Fulci.
Films of this nature are like business presentations for the wicked, the weird and the uncanny. They’re made with less than decent budgets and they often depend on the director’s and producers’ relatives to finish the film. Should we expect a high-end product? It’s obvious that Beyond the Gates of Hell is not a film that should be compared to its big studio peers, but at least the director has no intention of hiding his true purpose. Does that make his film any better? No. But is it something to be celebrated by accompanying him on the journey? Can’t see why not.
The film tells the classic story of an average couple buying an old house that holds too many secrets. Of course, the real estate lady warns them, but they don’t care much for the horrific events that took place in the past. There’s even a mention of the weird fact that the house has a basement. And which house in California does? One that has a gateway to hell below ground. What follows is a quick glance into the lives of the couple being thrown into the grasp of an ancient demon and his helpers. There’s witches, scared priests and sexy maids. The best thing about is Ferguson is not afraid to throw a little violence our way, making the necessary changes to the tropes so we can see where he’s willing to go with his feature. Or his future ones.
Running at less than an hour, anyone would expect Ferguson to make use of the time exclusively for the storyline. However, he also uses the stage to make his point about the era he’s making a tribute about: a couple of fake trailers are added to make the grindhouse experience even more campy than necessary. Yes, they’re schlocky but enjoyable like this sort of films are.
If you’re into horror and cheesy experiments, then you will enjoy Ferguson’s Beyond the Gates of Hell, a low-budgeted passion project that aims to pay tribute to Fulci’s The Beyond and The Gates of Hell. If we horror fans actually created this genre back in the ’70s with unconditional love, what’s stopping us from supporting the films that could bring something similar to the current world of indie horror.
Oh, and the red eyes for the possessed? Pretty cool detail.