Olaf Ittenbach obtained a little celebrity with his confusing but gory splatter flick ‘Premutos: Lord of the Dead’. With people still debating it as one of the goriest movies ever, Ittenbach is back! Armed with more blood, more guts and a script written on a postcard, his new movie is a much stronger effort, and with a release on Anchor Bay, one you might actually be able to get hold of this time.
Beyond the Limits is a film of two tales, each told by an undertaker to a feisty reporter. The first story is a gangster movie of sorts. When one of the mob has his girlfriend thrown off a building he seeks revenge upon those in the organisation who has betrayed him. He hires assassins to do the job, resulting in a round-the-table massacre in the head honcho’s house. However, the whole setup is motivated by more than simple revenge, an artefact; ‘The Eternal Heart’ appears to be a focus of all the parties involved. With the artefact introduced, the second story takes us back to the time of inquisition and introduces us to the origins of the Heart. Here we see a leading figure of the church attempting to obtain the heart, and along with it immortality, under the guise of a heretic hunt. Thankfully for us, the witch hunter needs human sacrifice to get the heart going.
If you have seen any of Ittenbach’s other work you will know that he makes movies of a very cult nature; this is not for the mainstream. It’s not just the gore which will put people off; every aspect of the movie follows the traditional cult clichés. The acting is pretty bad, particularly in the first story. The script is laughable and the interactions between the characters look like the actors weren’t even in the same room for some of the scenes. Still, even the bad aspects are entertaining enough. Pace is also something which really hampers the genre, something which thankfully is addressed in this movie. By dividing the film into two different stories Ittenbach has avoided those dragging scenes and has made a movie which passes pretty quickly and makes the film a more satisfying experience.
With all this out of the way I feel it is time to promote the movie based on its strongest factor: The gore.
With movies within this genre I never feel any sympathy for people who watch the movie and give negative critique based on the fact that gore sells a movie. This is a gore movie; gore is what these movies are all about. ‘Beyond the Limits’ is no exception. Excessive amounts of gore are frequently shown throughout. This isn’t really a splatter movie and as a result most of the death scenes are more brutal than amusing. This further enhances the gore’s impact.
Whilst some other aspects of the movie are typical of a low budget, the gore effects are not. The blood looks wicked and the prosthetic limbs are generally pretty convincing. There are plenty of kill shots shown in the forms of shooting, stabbing and hacking. Some scenes stand out; one where a guy has an entire clip entered into the top of his head, I thought required a particular mention, as well as an unfortunate woman who is explosively disembowelled by a halberd. As you can tell the gore is varied and it’s clear a lot of thought went into making sure each scene makes its own impact.
Overall, whilst I didn’t really rate ‘Lord of the Dead’ I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Beyond the Limits’. I particularly enjoy these mini anthologies as I think you almost get two films in one, with no time for either story to get boring. With pace not being an issue, the movie blistered past in a visceral flurry of blood, gore and general nastiness. I picked up my copy for around a fiver, I recommend you do the same!