In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

HMG: Beyond The Door II

The next entry in the Guide was Beyond The Door II, however I didn't realize until I looked closer that this film was actually Mario Bava's last effort Shock retitled for American audiences. I'd seen once or twice before back in the 00's when I dove into his back catalogue, but I figured what the hell, if it's Bava and Daria Nicolodi, it's worth a revisit.

Dora (Nicolodi) returns to her house after a brief stay in the loony bin after her husband's suicide. Being left alone with her son Marco (David Colin Jr.) for long stretches by her new beau (John Steiner), she begins to suspect her husband's spirit is still present.

Shock almost immediately brought a smile to my face because I was reminded that circa 2005 I had a roommate named Mark and I culled a sample from this movie for our answering machine message.

Such good times. Marco is such a little shit, but even with the terrible par-for-the-course dubbing, he still manages to do more than you would expect from a six-year-old. I obviously never realized until now that Marco and that pea soup sucking kid in Beyond The Door were one in the same. Wild, man.

Not unusual for Italian thrillers of this time, the score - by prog rock band Libra - is way out front, to the point I was often confused as to whether the music box and piano music was actually part of the environment. In any case, a solid score that I am currently listening to as I type this. 

Daria Nicolodi in Beyond the Door II aka Shock.

Shock bounces back and forth from psychological to supernatural like a metronome, before finally deciding which one it wants to be. This, with the help of his son Lamberto, was Mario's last film and he still had it way into his sixties. Sure, it's not in the upper echelon of his catalogue, but even lesser Bava is still worth watching. 

I'm not gonna lie, this film does drag in parts, especially when it's just Daria wandering around her house, but he still finds ways to engage with his signature visual flourishes, like the razor blade in the piano keys, that close-up shot of Daria in bed that must have been shot on some sort of rotating set and let's not forget it boasts one of the all-time great jump scares;

Shock was a worthy revisit that I am glad the Guide concurred with. I can't say I agree with their knock on the visuals though. I mean sure, it ain't Blood and Black Lace... but what is?

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