Beyond The Door (1974)

Directed by Ovidio G. Assonitis/Robert Barrett
Code Red DVD

Once upon a time, an enterprising young man made a movie. Juliet Mills has Satan’s spawn inside of her. There’s a car frozen in time halfway off a cliff, poised to crash into the sea below. There’s a man who unselfconsciously enjoys some rather silly hair, facial and otherwise. Two kids do some odd things. Some more strange behavior lurks along the edges…and the young man took a deep breath.

The Exorcist is mixed with Rosemary’s Baby and…SHAZAM! Beyond The Door is born. And, the people ran to the theaters to see it. Worldwide, the film was seen by over 134 people and grossed over $40 bucks (1974 Money!)! That’s the Magic of the Movies.

I hope you enjoyed the last paragraph. That was some of our patented Baloney. “It smells like the real thing!”

If this film were just an Exorcist ripoff, I wouldn’t be reviewing it. “Ahhh,” you say, “it’s also a Rosemary’s Baby ripoff! That’s why you’re reviewing it.” Look, reader, quit being such a wiseass. I’ve watched this movie three times. Twice on VHS and then once on the Super Swank Code Red DVD with the European title and the extra 10-ish minutes. All I can think to say to you is “Watch the film. It goes on a bit but it’s got some great, weird stuff in it.” That’s not enough for a review. Where’s the analysis? Where are the pithy remarks? Where is the review?

I’m afraid I don’t have one. So, let’s talk. What have you been up to? We had a pretty mild summer over here. Allergies have been bothering my dog. Work is a real pain in the ass. Where are you now? You sound good. How’s your aunt? What did you think of Beyond The Door?

OK…Here are the thoughts I have when I watch the movie…The bad: I think the European cut goes on too long. The American cut is perfect. The longer it goes on (the more there is of it); the more it feels like a ripoff, rather than its own film…unless you love The Exorcist stuff. I can take it or leave it.

The good things…Remember that “young man” I spoke about earlier? Didn’t he sound like fun? Well, in and amongst all the bits that look exactly like bits from other movies, there are some very odd, idiosyncratic moments. Shots, sounds and loopy character quirks, that burn the film into my mind. These are the bits that make me want to watch the film over and over.

However, since much of this film is aping other ones, these little bits get swamped under the movie’s agenda. It’s sort of like trying to make out a musician you like in the middle of a big jam session. You strain and listen hard and then “There they are!” but then something else gets in the way. Those moments are great but they might not be enough.

I think the moments in Beyond The Door are enough for at least one viewing. So, I won’t ruin any of them. You can go to more in-depth online reviews and read everything if you want. I’d suggest getting the DVD and setting aside an afternoon. It might keep drawing you back, like it does me.

I had it turned up nice and loud. The sounds of demons and the funk of music are great. The picture is pretty fine with a touch of “The 70s” about it. It is letterboxed and about 1,000 times nicer-looking than my old VHS.

Two commentaries! Movie and TV trailers! On-camera interviews! Code Red Trailers! The Best Buy edition (which I don’t have) has even more stuff. They load it up good. But, be wary. Some films stand up to loads of background information. Some do not. The more I heard and learned, the less I wanted to watch. I fear that all the goofy little bits that I love are things that the filmmakers may not have noticed where even in there. I think that they are very proud of their Rosemary’s Baby/The Exorcist ripoff and that’s completely admirable. But, that’s not why I admire it.

In the spirit of the movie, I wrote a review of this a few days ago and then wrote a new one, completely ripping off the old one but with little touches of Vim & Vigor. What you’ve just read was a bit of a patchwork but I think it’s interesting, like the movie. Give it a try. A certain “young man” will be glad you did.