Beyond The Seventh Door (1987)

In every movie, the lead character should have a cool name. On very rare occasions, the lead actor’s real name is cooler than the character’s name. Weng Weng is a better name than any of his characters could ever have. Rock Hudson is a tough name to top. What does a film do when this happens? Is it good or bad? Judge for yourself.

In Beyond the Seventh Door, Lazar Rockwood plays Boris. Boris is a chain smoking loser who is trying to steal treasure from a strange Canadian home. Lazar Rockwood eats granite for lunch and has no need for another man’s treasure. Boris is having problems dealing with his girlfriend, Wendy. Lazar Rockwood pleases entire continents of girlfriends through the gyrations of his mighty groin. I love Lazar Rockwood’s name. As a man, he’s got a thick accent. (Possibly Russian? What nationality is Rockwood?) As an emoting actor, he’s a bit weak. But, as a chain smoking guy with a kickass name, he wins. Every time.

Boris is fresh out of jail. He meets up with Wendy, a young woman with fantastic bangs. She works for a crippled millionaire who lives in a castle-like structure. There are rumors of treasure hidden underneath the edifice. So, Wendy and Boris break in late one night to find this valuable stash. But, Lord Breston, the rich guy, is ready for them. His subterranean set up contains a series of traps that will result in death if certain puzzles are not solved. It’s sort of like a slow-mo version of the sequence with the golden idol at the start of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Or, for Doctor Who fans, a lot like the City of the Exillons in Death to the Daleks. One room has spikes in the ceiling. Another fills with water. One has a checkerboard-like layout covered with letters and skulls. If Boris and Wendy can make it through, the treasure will be theirs.

I love films like this. The tricks coupled with the anticipation of what the next room will hold kept me tuned in. And, in general, what went on within each room was a surprise to me. I was riveted. Not “falling off my seat” riveted but “poised and interested” riveted. Well done, Beyond the Seventh Door. And, Boris is always interesting to look at. He smokes, he emotes, he pleads, he makes love. It’s all good. Wendy is lovely and actually a more interesting character, once one has seen the entire film. It’s essentially a two-person motion picture. Luckily, Boris and Wendy are two good persons to watch.

This film succeeds on its surprises. On its twists, turns and unexpected moments deep underground. I may have already told you too much. I knew nothing about it when I tuned in. But, I got caught up in Mr. Rockwood’s face and the promise of “treasure”. You should find a copy and watch it. It is low budget. None of the rooms are epic rooms that will make your jaw drop but they’re all interesting. The one that floods with water is excellent. The acting does come and go a bit, especially from Mr. Rockwood, but you get to like this couple after a time so that’s cool. Then, there is a twist in the end.

It’s a good twist. It’s one of those twists that explains a lot of things in the movie that seemed like weirdness at the time. I’m not sure if it makes complete sense but it makes enough sense to work. If I was someone who gave away endings, we could discuss the slight problems I have with the twist. As it stands, you may never know what my thoughts are. But, that’s OK. I like to cultivate a sense of mystery.

Beyond the Seventh Door is a treasure hunting, puzzle-filled extravaganza that is not quite an extravaganza. It’s a little too low key for that. But, I think it’s a good low key. I enjoyed it. Thank you, B. D. Benedikt, for allowing me this time with Mr. Lazar Rockwood.

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