Beyond The Door III - Beyond The Door III (Blu Ray & DVD) [Vinegar Syndrome - 2019]Beyond The Door III aka Amok Train stands as one of the more whacked-out, at times downright bizarre & ridiculous horror films of the late 1980s. The films a head-scratching blend of American teens caught in a creepy gothic European village, tacky satanic shenanigans, and run-away train action- with moments of head & limb ripping gore, unpredictable at times nonsensical plot, and the odd more chilling/ eerier moments.Here from Vinegar Syndrome is another truly nutzoid slice of 1980’s horror joy-the duel Blu Ray & DVD release features the companies trademark classy scan, and a few extras.
Released in 1989 Beyond The Door III( aka Amok Train, Death Train, Winds Of Evil) was an Italian/ Yugoslavian co-production. It was directed by Jeff Kwitny, who a year before this directed the tacky/bad snowbound slasher Iced- he also wrote a fair few US Kids TV shows. The film's script was written by Sheila Goldberg- who wrote the likes of Slasher/Giallo crossover Stagefright, and living dead avian caper Zombie 5: Killing Birds. So as you can imagine with the mix of different cultures/ film crews, and fairly wacky directing/ writing credits this is very much of a ride- first off we have a mix of English and subtitled Serbo-Croatian dialogue, we have a blend of fairly classy action sets ups and darkly grand imagery, and lo-fi miniature based effects. We get a good selection of gory & impressive limb and body ripping effects, moments of creepiness, mixed with camp dialogue & at times nonsensical/jaw dropping plot darts.Roger Batty
The film opens with a fairly classy flashback to sometime in the past Serbian- with a blind and wide mouth old woman doing a pasting pictures and blood ritual, as a large group of touché carrying town folk gather. Flash forward to 1980’s USA- and we meet a class of teens going on a trip to Serbian to witness a ceremony that only happens once every few hundred years. We focus in an on Sava (Savina Gersak)- a shy & timid teen whose parents moved to the US some years back from eastern Europe- we see her in the shower with leering shots of her breasts, which have a strange purple flame birthmark. Fairly soon the group land in Belgrade- meeting the decidedly sleazy and creepy Professor Andromolek(Bo Svenson) the goateed and bespeckled teacher who meant to be looking after the teens.He takes them on a boat trip to a misty & hut bound village that’s full of pale & staring villages, and the creepy old women from the credits. Fairly soon the teen are been locked & nailed into the huts, the doors are dabbed with blood then set alight. In the meantime, the prof has drugged Sava, and the old women is poking her nether regions before screaming open-mouthed & wide cloudy eyes "she’s a Virgin!"....and this is just the first half an hour. In due course most of the teens escape, making their way to a speeding train-this in the course of the film gets put under a dark spell- so the train starts throwing people in it’s a furnace, ripping off heads, crushing people, and making peoples faces gooey & maggot bound melts. Throughout this the hapless teens meet a strange hooded man who constantly plays a flute & a moustached & fat train guard- as they try to stop the runaway train, and the killings - and boy do we get some really out there/ nonsensical kills- for example at one point the train leaves its tracks, goes through a forest & into a pound where two of the teens are on a boat- here it decapitate them, before returning back the tracks. As the film goes on things just get more, and more bizarre all moving towards a fairly grand & creepy encounter between a long-clawed Satan in a glass box, amassed pale-faced villages with touches, and OTT satanic shenanigans, oh and we get a truly deranged/ jaw-dropping false end you won’t quite believe. In summing up this is one hell of an 80’s horror ride- that really darts all over the place- as I really can’t recall another film that blends together the gothic, satanic horror, with runaway train action.
Moving onto the new duel Blu Ray and DVD release of the film- and as VS is known for its great print, this is once again is splendid- with the more classy side of the cinematography & moody colouring really singing, but unfortunately it means that the naffer miniature based effects look even cheaper- which is a pity. On the extras front we get a few on-film interviews- first is with Jeff Kwitny, this comes in at just under the forty minute mark- and is most enjoyable, as he discusses the issues of working with notorious producer Ovidio Assonitis- whom James Cameron warned Kwitny off work with him after he got thrown off the set of Piranha II: The Spawning. Moving onto talking about the issues of working with three different languages,how many effects were done after he left the project, and more- it's a great interview. Next, we have a twenty-two minute with Bo Svenson- discussing his role of the creepy prof. And an around a six-minute interview with the film's cinematography- so a neat selection of extras.
Beyond The Door III is truly 1980’s horror wackiness gold- with a great blend of camp, gory and creepiness. Hats off to Vinegar Syndrome for sourcing & polishing up this quirky gem of a film- great stuff, and pretty un-missable if you dig 80’s nutzoid horror.