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 14, 2023

HMG: Beyond The Door

The next entry in the Guide was Ovidio G. Assonitis' 1974 flick Beyond The Door. I obviously knew the coverbox from way back, but didn't really know what I was in for.

Jessica (Juliet Mills) has a lot on her plate, not only being possessed by a demon, but also apparently carrying the devil's child. Levitation, regurgitation and desecration ensues.

It's funny to me that I just watched Beyond Evil, a film with similar themes to Beyond The Door, but couldn't be more different. Evil attempts to tell a coherent story - it fails, but at least tries - whereas Door has no such allusions. This is textbook Italian replication at work here. Mix together a large helping of The Exorcist (which came out the year previous) with some Rosemary's Baby, add some weirdo badly dubbed children and sprinkle a Euro-funkadelic score on top and voila; you've got Beyond The Door!

I have so many questions, chief among them, why is the son obsessed with pea soup, to the point he drinks it from the fucking can? Is it some sort of in-joke about Pazuzu vomit? Both these kids talk like they're from outer space. Man, onscreen children that call their parents by their first names always irk me. But I digress. Whatever the deal was with those kids was irrelevant anyway because they are mercifully shuffled away in the third act, save for the nonsensical final freeze frame.

Like, what the fuck dude?

Beyond The Door is just so perplexing. It should be simple, but just can't help going off on these strange tangents, like that extended scene when the husband, Argento regular Gabe Lavia, is accosted by nose-fluting buskers on the sidewalk. Oh, I forgot about this... the movie opens with narration from the Devil himself. I don't know why the Prince of Darkness felt the need to lay everything out for us, but thanks I guess? You know what I'd like to forget? That skeezy goodnight kiss scene. Ick.

This all results in a movie that feels loooong. However, I did appreciate that at some points two scenes were super-imposed over each other to save time. I guess the only real takeaway - apart from the usual bonkers Eurotropes - was Mills' performance as she really gives her all in the possession scenes. I'm sure this wasn't what she was envisioning when she signed onto this project - her last film in Italy was alongside Jack Lemmon - but that's the nature of the biz I guess.

It looks like the Guide had even less tolerance for Beyond The Door than I did, finding the kids equally as boggling.

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