Beyond The 7th Door - Beyond The 7th Door (DVD) [Intervision Picture Corp - 2017]From its title Beyond The 7th Door might sound like some sort occult-tinged 1970ís horror shocker, but in reality, itís a lo-fi slice of puzzle focused thriller from the late 80ís. Here from Intervision Picture Corp, is the first ever (region free) DVD issue of the film, which comes with a nice selection of extras charting the making & history of this canadian exploitation oddity.
Appearing in 1987 Beyond The 7th Door was the second Canadian made English language film from Yugoslavia born director Bozidar D. Benedikt. And itís best to describe it as a very low budget version of Cube/ Saw(without the gore)/Sleuth- with basically a cast of two, making there way through a series of puzzle rooms. It really is an oddity both in its set-up, acting, and vibe- making is a perfect release for Intervision- those great finders of SOV/ Z-grade gold.
The film's plot tells of recently released Ex-con Boris(Lazar Rockwood), who is convinced by his ex-lover Wendy(Bonnie Beck) to rob the house of her wheelchair-bound boss. When the pair get into the house it turns out itís full of puzzle rooms, with the final room's door been the 7th, hence the film's titles.
The thing that film is most known & celebrated by fans of odd/bad films is the central performances from Yugoslavia actor Lazar Rockwood(aka Lazar Rajic). Rockwood looks rather like Richard Ramirez ( the serial killer, not the noise artists), and actually when I first became aware of this film I thought that the film was somehow about Mr. Ramirez. Lazar's performance is best described as one dimensional, blinky, and stilted- he spends much of the film either shouting, smoking, or poking his tool belt- his accent is very thick, though, for the most part, his English pronunciation is good. Itís just the way he performs in the film is so distinctive, and well unique Ė cruel folks have said he canít act, but I disagree, as heís certainly putting his all into the role. His acting partner for the film Bonnie Beck, is serviceable enough, but nothing to write- home about.
The films rooms/ puzzles themselves move from been a little underwhelming, to fairly inventive/ impressive for such a low-budget production. And for the most part, the film plot & its end twist are effective enough. But really the thing that keeps you watching is Lazar performances. So I think really youíd need to be an odd/ bad film fan first, and a puzzle mystery fan second to really fully enjoy this.
The DVD comes with a good crop of extras- we get a twenty mintue feature with interviews with director Bozidar D. Benedikt, and Lazar. Benedikt comes across as a great quirky character- he now works running a cinema & writes religious thrillers (a genre he claims to have invented). Lazar is also still a wonderfully unique character. We also get a new full-length commentary for the film featuring Benedikt, Lazar and Paul Corupe from Canuxploitation.com. This is equal measures interesting, funny & frustrating- as youíd imagine with these tow unique figures, with Corupe often struggling to get sense/ focus out of both Benedikt & Lazar. And last of the extras is The King of Cayenne: An Appreciation of Legendary Toronto Eccentric Ben Kerr, who plays the role of a corpse in one of the rooms in the filmÖand once again Kerr is certainly was a very distinctive/ one-off character.
If youíve been a fan Intervision output thus far you know youíll need & enjoy this. On the whole, I found it another well put together release of this real oddity from the label. Though Iíd say the stories behind the film are more interesting/ re-watchable then the film itís self, due to the lack horror elements or strange visuals, but thatís just personal tastes.