Documentary Beyond and Back was a box office bonanza back in 1978, taking in a whopping 23 million dollars in North America, placing it just shy of the top ten films of the year. This ‘deathsploitation’ flick wasn’t shown in cinemas in urban areas; it was largely seen in the sticks, which is to say rural areas, or the heart of America, if you prefer, where it went over big. Financed by the Sunn Classic label to cash in on public interest in the paranormal, this is a look at life after death, or what happens to us at the moments of expiration when our sell-by date is finally up; bright light, tunnels, angels, you know the drill.
Introduced and narrated in bumptious sub-Wellesian style by Brad Crandall, who specialised in this kind of enterprise, Beyond and Back uses tatty reconstructions and terrible acting to forcefully argue that since we can’t prove what happens to us after death, there must be a God after all QED. That’s the launching pad for all kinds of malarkey, from séances, ghosts, Harry Houdini and anything else which offers 1) free archive footage or could be 2) cheap to re-enact with non-professional actors. Most of the vignettes are about people on death’s doorstep, not all of whom were keen or available to relate their experiences; ‘These people died soon after and so can tell us little,’ explains Crandall with gravitas.
Patients who have survived death provide a happier hunting ground for intel, and Crandall can barely contain his enthusiasm for a subject in which he has so much knowledge. ‘Plato believed, if the soul can exist in the future, it must also exist in the past.’ says Crandall, and he certainly plays his joker on the notion that the soul exists; the ancient, easily discredited 21 Grams experiment is presented here as cold, hard fact. ‘It has been proven that some people can control their mental energy,’ says Crandall .’And there’s proof of it!’ he exclaims pointing at a wooden box with flashing lights. ‘No-one is too young to die,’ he explains as he pivots. ‘But what about the famous?’
Well, what about the famous? It turns out the famous aren’t sticking around to defend themselves, and neither is Plato; director James L Conway found a money fountain by making hokey films like this, and credulity is vital to the overall faux-spiritual effect. ‘Frank called, he was offering to commit suicide in the name of research,’ says Crandall approvingly, and given the appalling quality of the print I just watched, Frank may not be alone. With murky motives and laughable data, Beyond and Back is a genuine museum piece; the practice of exerting control over our mental energy seems to have become a thing of the past, much like this weird little film.
You’re going large on non comedy comedies. Frank Spaghetti! Did he do it in the end?
Frank Spaghetti is pasta joke.
Well I don’t get it.
Sorry for any confusion. The print is terrible and the sound very muffled. I think one of the characters, the man volunteering was called Frank Spaghetti. That could be his name. There’s a man called Ron Pancake.
Is he any relation to Scotty Scone?
‘Frank called, he was offering to commit suicide in the name of research,’
That may be the best quote I’ve ever read. LOL.
I think his name is Frank Spaghetti, which is a cool name to be sure. But this film is full of great quotes. I love ‘but what of the famous?’ As if that was some kind of debate flex. I’m not saying this film is good, but if approached in the right mood, it’s fun.
Yes, I do like the famous line too.
Note I didn’t condemn this with an outright ‘nope’.
I could see it being very entertaining…
I’m tempted to go back for the sequel. This was a mind blowing experience.
I actually have vague memories of this, but they may be from a previous life.
Sigh. At least five hours before I can fix that. Thanks Jetpac!
Thought this would be your type of thing. Can imagine you thrilling to these insights.
I know we’ve talked about this, but you don’t see an “edit” button if you go to “my sites” and then to “posts” using the jp app?
I go to posts and there’s nothing there to edit.
Do you see the post under “published”
I see all my posts and under each is “view”, “edit” and “more”. You don’t have that?
No. The last published post is The First Deadly Sin, which is weeks ago.
Exactly. Thanks for trying, I appreciate it!
It sounds like there is a disconnect between the app and your site.
And indeed the poor readers who try and puzzle out the results…
I WISH I had mental powers. Then I’d get rockstar for life, for free. With great power comes great responsibility after all. And there’s no greater power than drinking rockstar in the morning!
How it that what mental powers provide?
Because then I would mentalize the head of Rockstar and he would send me a case of free rockstar each week.
Is that the limit of your ambitions?
Pretty much. Great Expectations leads to bad things. I thought we all learned that lesson when Dickens wrote his book?
What kind of expectations do you have?
A novel by Charles Bookstooge IV, Esq.
When can I read it? Will it be as good as everyone says?
In the year 2525 is the release date.
It’ll be yuuuge!
I’ll put that in my dairy.
Make sure it’s 2% dairy…
It’s 2% cow.
Funny you should bring up long pork. I just finished a King in Yellow novel where that plays a big part of the story.
Funny I should bring it up since I don’t know what long pork is.
That IS funny actually!
There was a band called the Long Pigs too.
I’m not surprised. Rock n roll people tend towards insanity after all.
Oh, it’s people. Long pork is people!
AND soylent green.
Who knew we were so versatile?
If you’d like to peruse the menu…chef’s specials are long pig, or soylent green with toast.
Can I get a Caesar salad instead?
Made from old Jools himself?
Absolutely! Nothing but the best for me…
I thought long pork was a rudery.
Not this time…
No I kind of figured that, but ruderies shouldn’t be misused like that I think. It can confuse peeps.
I’m confused. Aren’t ruderys just swear words?
Oh no, swear words are just swear words, ruderies are normal words put together to convey a rude thing. I can’t give an example really without making a rudery so you’ll just have to take my word for it, but long pork does fit the bill.
If I said I’ll be busy at the weekend with a long pork, it would be an innuendo to be sure.
Well thanks for sharing.
It sounds like one.