BEYOND THE DOOR
My fourth review for Italian Horror week is a film that many people claim is a cheap rip-off of the 1973 horror classic The Exorcist. Though this film does cash in on the Exorcist's tail end of its background there is a huge difference between the two films; that is the age difference between the main female characters. Juliet Mills, who’s only other venture in horror after this film is the 1992 sequel Waxwork 2: Lost in Time plays a young mother who lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.
Review and Discussion Contain Plot Spoilers.
But this is not how the film starts out. Nope the film starts out with a man narrating the opening sequence that is nothing but a bunch of burning candles til we finally see a young woman standing in the glow of the light and then it fades to a man's face as he's driving somewhere only to lose control of the car, now this man is the person who I assume is the narrator in the beginning of the film. He loses control of the car cause he simply gets his own foot stuck behind the gas pedal and brake pedal. How this happens and this man can't free his foot is a little mind boggling but this is a 70's film and nothing really mattered back then. Now he manages to drive the car away from the edges of a cliff side road only to have a green Volkswagen van to appear in the middle of the road no clue why it was there or what it was there for in the first place, the camera angle makes it seem like he's going to slam into this van but doesn't and drives off the cliff and dies.
We jump to Jessica Barrett (Juliet Mills) whose picking up her show off or at least he tried to be a show off and failed to jump into the car then fights with the door that he locked with his own leg and gets made an ass out of when his wife makes fun of him in front of the kids. Now as they drive away the one kid tosses a can over his shoulder and into the street littering. I have to remember that in the 70's no one gave two shits about the environment and just threw shit anywhere if everywhere.
Now the family starts to notice odd things beginning to happen at first when they find out Jessica is pregnant with the couple's third child. One is she's vomiting blood during a party and claims to her husband that she doesn't want to have this child for some reason. She even attacks the family pet fish as she throws a glass ash tray at the tank and watches as the fish fall to the floor or suffocate in the now empty tank. Now when she is asleep in one scene she awakens and gets out of bed only to not step on the floor but floats in the air towards the bed room door and leaves the room, the husband finds marks on the floor that he can't explain and finds her in the bathroom crying.
Soon the son shows signs of being hurt as bruises appear on him so they call the doctor and he says the boy’s fine. He then exams Jessica in his office about the baby and she flips shit on him, calling him a murderer and that she is going to have this baby one way or another. She's later shown walking the streets of San Fran and comes across a banana peel on the ground which yes she picks up and begins to eat it. I had to pause the film here and think to myself who the hell picks up a damn banana peel off the dirty ass ground and shoves it into their mouth? Possessed bitches!!!!
It’s after this that we are given our first taste of demonic possession as the children are playing and in the room there’s a rocking chair that’s rocking away and though its moving neither child is phased by this. Now this is a clear nod to Amityville Horror but this film predates that film but the book Amityville is based upon was published after this film. So one begs to differ if that story stole from this film? Well this is not an argument to have cause it has no precedent on this film right now. Back to what I was saying. When the daughter leaves the room the chair has stopped rocking, toys and clothes start to move and then walk as she goes to kitchen to get something from the fridge, a plate of FLAN!!!!! Yup flan not your typical dessert in a horror movie but I am guessing the only one available at the time of filming. Now she brings this beautiful looking dessert to their room where it is thrusted to the ceiling by a supernatural force and then all hell breaks loose in their room. The daughter makes a run for it leaving her brother in the room to the parents bed room where she tries to wake up her mother but upon doing this Jessica does the exorcist's famous scene by doing the full head spin as the daughter screams and the father is seen rushing home only to be met by Jessica whose pissed that the kids are not sleeping but awake keeping her from getting any rest. He walks away from her after she tosses their son like he was a rag doll and goes to their room where he sees that all the furniture in the room is shoved into a small space stacked on top of each other with a doll sitting in it. The daughter shows up and makes a plea with her father about not getting mad about this.
Now the next day the father decides to walk around San Fran himself where he's being followed by a man who resembles the man from the beginning of the film and he saves the father from being ran over by a moving vehicle it is here that he admits he's been trying to find him to help in the situation that Jessica is in. Now Jessica is left with a friend who tries to get Jessica's attention at first but can only get her to wake up and have her stare at the ceiling and one of her eyes rolls around in its socket while the other is frozen. As the scene progress everyone is asleep, someone plays with candy and then it shows itself as a now possessed Jessica sits up and the doctor awakens. He watches as she sits up and starts cursing and begins vomiting green stuff and the entity in her tells all kinds of shit to scare the doctor as the husband looks on and then it all goes to this weird ass scene of the kids preparing to go somewhere and the music is happy and bright and what the fuck is going on here?
Anyway the music is a cross between horror and 70's porn and I am lost here cause the scene makes no sense but anyway the scene follows the mystery man now known as Dmitri who convinces the husband that he is the only one who can help and save Jessica, but it turns out that he is actually in cahoots with the entity inside of Jessica. At first the entity fights him and forces him to well what it seems like at first is make out with his reflection in a mirror and then he fights to open the door but fails at that. Apparently he is helping the entity in helping Jessica with the birth of the baby in exchange for the entity saving his life years ago. But when the doctor shows up and the entity speaks to him trying to explain that Dmitri is a liar, a man who wants to steal the baby and truly doesn't exist. These confessions fall on deaf ears until it threatens to kill both the doctor and. Jessica's husband that they drug her. Really?! They get told the truth and they drug her to shut the entity up. I can only shake my head here. Then the entity somehow convinces the husband well more like tricks him into untying her and he does and it tosses him around the room like a toy and starts to drive him mad til he throws his ass out of the room at the feet of Dmitri who tells the husband that once the demon inside her causes enough pain and gets what it wants it will leave and start over again inside someone new. It's here that the entity tells Dmitri it’s time for the child to be born and to start a new, it projectile vomits on him. He then proceeds to pound the shit out of Jessica's pregnant stomach but the entity kills Dmitri, leaves Jessica's body and the baby is born still born its mouth not fully formed and dead. The films ends with the son opening a present on a ferry after the incident and inside is a replica of the car Dmitri drove and crashed in the beginning of the film and he tosses it into the river to then turn around to show his eyes are now glowing green meaning the entity is starting a new in him and suggesting he is the Antichrist.
I fairly enjoyed this film and remember seeing it when I was younger. I probably hated it cause to me it was a rip off of The Exorcist. Now watching it again as an adult I enjoyed it more cause I saw it through older eyes and felt it was definitely different from the movie I compared it to. Now this film spawned two sequels, neither of them had anything to do with this movie. In fact I will be reviewing one of those sequels for Italian Horror Week as well so keep an eye out for that one my friends!