Fabio Frizzi on the “Mystical Experience” of Lucio Fulci’s ‘The Beyond: The Composer’s Cut’ [Interview]

It’s not uncommon for the Director’s Cut of a movie to be released, but Fabio Frizzi has been afforded the unique opportunity to create a Composer’s Cut for Lucio’s Fulci’s The Beyond.

I opened the gates of Hell with the influential Italian maestro to discuss the project, which is playing in select theaters throughout the month, along with honoring Lucio Fulci, his next Composer’s Cut, and more. Read on for my complete interview with Fabio Frizzi!

Bloody Disgusting: You have been paying tribute to Lucio Fulci with Frizzi 2 Fulci since 2013. Tell me how that started.

Fabio Frizzi: I have always known that my collaboration with Lucio had been an important part of my career and my professional growth. Then, when the internet became a communication system between people all over the world, I realized that my friend and director Fulci had left, with his films, a trail of interest and admiration practically everywhere in the world. And this aura of esteem and enthusiasm had also involved me, as his collaborator in many films that were now cult. This artistic legacy pushed me to create a tribute to him, a show in which Lucio Fulci was told through my music written for him, a show full of affection and a lot of emotion. In 2011 I created a working group, then I chose the best musicians, and on Halloween 2013 we debuted at Union Chapel London. Frizzi 2 Fulci, one of the strongest experiences of my life.

BD: Did Frizzi 2 Fulci lead to The Beyond: The Composer’s Cut?

Frizzi: Exactly. Back on my first American tour in 2015, it was buzzing in my head to bring the soundtrack of a Lucio film to the stage, as my friends Goblin had been doing for years with Profondo Rosso by Dario Argento. I thought about The Beyond, saw the film again and realized that there wasn’t that much in the final mix of music. I imagined myself on stage with the band, but there would be too many moments of pause between one musical intervention and another. One of my collaborators pointed out to me that I was the composer, and that I could authoritatively pick up the project and write a 2.0 version of my original score, so to speak.

BD: What was it like to revisit material you had written 40 years ago?

Frizzi: Well, it wasn’t easy. All the work done in recent years on the music written back then has been demanding, not only on a technical level but also for the strong responsibility that operations like these make weigh on one’s conscience. But I have always sought Fulci’s spiritual approval, respecting the artistic spirit that we had all breathed at the time, and I think the final result of The Beyond: The Composer’s Cut proves it fully.

BD: Did you compose and record the new score yourself, or did you collaborate with your band?

Frizzi: I wrote a real score, as if it were intended for a symphony orchestra. Then in the studio I entrusted the parts to my Frizzi 2 Fulci band, a string orchestra, a flutist, and a choir of eight people — four females and four males — like in the original recording. While on stage, in the countless live performances, the usual musicians were always with me: Federico Tacchia on drums, Roberto Fasciano on bass, Riccardo Rocchi and Alessandro Errichetti on guitars — the latter alternated by Francesco Saguto from 2018 — and Alessio Contorni on keyboards.

BD: What can fans expect from the new score?

Frizzi: The Beyond: The Composer’s Cut is a soundtrack that essentially incorporates all the old themes of the original film with the addition of a new theme, which links many situations in the film, often integrating with the old, popular themes. An important thing that has revolutionized the reading of the whole film is the placement of the music, often different and denser than in the original. For example, in the famous scene of the spiders devouring the unfortunate architect where there was practically no music, now there is a new version of one of the old themes, loud and pressing, which describes the whole scene, from start to finish, fueling the audience’s emotions in a breathless crescendo.

BD: Were you concerned that people who were familiar with the original soundtrack would be distracted by or even dislike the new music?

Frizzi: Operations like this often carry that risk with them, but I’ve always been clear on one point: this is an energetic and affectionate reinterpretation of a great classic. The Beyond, the original one, always remains the starting point, to which we are all fond of. But I must tell you that the comments from friends and fans, after the concerts and even after the release of the album, were unanimously flattering; including that of Antonella Fulci [Lucio’s daughter], who gratified me with wonderful enthusiasm.

BD: What was your favorite scene to compose?

Frizzi: I was telling you about the spider scene earlier, which was quite a challenge, but I could also mention the ending of the film with the scene of the passage to the afterlife of the two protagonists. In short, it’s a new score that I love very much.

BD: You’re currently working on a Composer’s Cut of Zombie. Tell me about that.

Frizzi: Yes, I just finished mixing the album in my studio in Rome and the master at Abbey Road in London. Like The Beyond: The Composer’s Cut album, in this case too the label will be Cadabra Records. It is a very different operation from the previous one, because in this case I could not work on the film without the original music. In the case of The Beyond, I had a copy of the film with only dialogue and effects from Grindhouse Releasing. So my choice was to write a new soundtrack leaning on the old music. It seems impossible — it seemed to me too, at first — but the result is a bomb. Coming in the second half of 2023. I can’t wait!

BD: What other movies would you like to create a Composer’s Cut for?

Frizzi: I think everyone expects me to re-do the City of the Living Dead score. Who knows?

BD: Would you ever consider re-scoring another composer’s soundtrack? Since you did City of the Living Dead and The Beyond, I would love to hear your take on House by the Cemetery to complete the trilogy.

Frizzi: You won’t believe it, but it was proposed to me by a European TV production. But the original publisher was not entirely in agreement, perhaps to protect the composer who had written the score, Walter Rizzati. It certainly didn’t want to be — and it wouldn’t be — a confrontation with that music. Just a funny hypothesis, like a scene in Back to the Future.

BD: Why would you recommend that fans see The Beyond: The Composer’s Cut?

Frizzi: I am extremely proud that Bob Murawski, the head of Grindhouse Releasing who has always owned the U.S. rights to the film, not only asked me to use my new version of the soundtrack for his new restored 4K version of The Beyond, but that he even included my name with his production group above the title.

I think seeing The Beyond: The Composer’s Cut is a mystical experience: the restoration carried out on the original negative of the film has returned a quality of color and depth that fans of Fulci and of this film in particular will appreciate very much. The magic of Sergio Salvati’s lights remains unchanged, but it is as if we had the opportunity to get a little closer to the scene, to the protagonists, to a stage action that we relive as if it were the first time. And then, without having to come to one of my concerts, the new soundtrack on the film!

Catch The Beyond: Composer’s Cut in a theater near you:

11/5 – Coolidge Corner Theatre, Boston
11/5 – National Grid Exploradome, Syracuse, NY (with PIECES)
11/8 – Majestic Tempe 7, Tempe, AZ
11/8 – Alamo Drafthouse Crystal City, Arlington, VA
11/8 – Alamo Drafthouse Bryant Street, Washington, DC
11/8 – Alamo Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
11/8 – Alamo Woodbridge, Woodbridge, VA
11/8 – Alamo Winchester, Winchester, VA
11/16 – Alamo Littleton, Denver, CO
11/17 – Plaza Theatre, Atlanta, GA
11/18 – Alamo LaCenterra, Katy, TX
11/18 – Alamo Drafthouse Lubbock, Lubbock, TX
11/18 – Alamo Drafthouse Montecillo, El Paso, TX
11/18 & 19 – Marcus Des Peres Theatre, St. Louis, MO
11/18 & 19 – Alamo Springfield, Springfield, MO
11/19 – Alamo Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, TX
11/19 – Alamo Drafthouse East El Paso, El Paso, TX
11/19 & 22 – Alamo Drafthouse Laredo, Laredo, TX
11/22 – Alamo New Mission 5, San Francisco, CA
11/22 – Alamo Brooklyn 7, Brooklyn, NY
11/23 – Alamo Drafthouse Richardson, Richardson TX
11/26 & 27 – Hollywood Theatre, Portland, OR
11/28 – Alamo Drafthouse Downtown LA, Los Angeles, CA
11/30 – Music Box Theatre, Chicago, IL
12/ 9 – Mayfair Theatre, Ottawa, ON

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