- Movie Rating -

Beyond and Back (1978)

| December 26, 1978

If an enterprising internet celebrity wanted to make a killing with videos about bad movies, then he or she could find no greater gold mine than Sunn Classic Pictures.  This late 70s production house specialized as a fast-buck operation that would produce badly made tabloid-style documentaries for the easily led, dealing with everything from The Lincoln Conspiracy to Biblical plot-holes to at least one picture that purports to have evidence that the world is coming to an end.

Yet, one of their most enduring dog piles resides with the laughably bad Beyond and Back, a 90 minute pseudo-documentary that claims to have ‘real evidence’ of people who have apparently departed from their bodies, taken a trip to the undiscovered country and then returned to tell the tale.  Nevermind the fact that none of these people are in the movie.  It comprises mostly of recreations of these events but no real evidence that they really happened.

The film is hosted by former radio announcer Brad Crandall who looks as if he is impersonating Orson Welles and speaks to us from ominous places such as a deserted cemetery and a dusty old library, he takes us through the various reenactments of people who had near-death experiences.  Every episode is framed the same way; the person is on their back about to expire, then the camera rises above them accompanied by bright lights and angelic music.  Next there’s the tunnel (there’s always a tunnel) along with visions of Jesus who tells them that their time is not yet up.  Then they whisk back down to their bodies so they can live again.

I’ve seen several of these Sunn Classic Pictures over the years (it’s hard not to get addicted) and Beyond and Back is a little different for their canon because, due to the nature of its subject matter, it can’t really deal with scientists and conspiracy nuts.  It has only the events to deal with.  In that, the movie is long and repetitive.  The nature of the subject matter and the lack of witnesses makes for an experience that is difficult to sit through.  It’s hard to sit through a long-winded story when the story only has one destination.

[Reviewed October 1, 2020]

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1978) View IMDB Filed in: Documentary