Beyond The Door - Beyond The Door [Arrow Video - 2020]Beyond The Door is a prime slice of demonic focused euro-schlock, think a crazed collusion between The Exorcist & Rosemary Baby, with a huge quota WTH moments, camp-cheese bound acting and an often groovy-to-70 synth-based soundtrack. From Arrow Video here’s a double-disc Blu Ray release on the film- taking in a great new vibrate print, and some neat extras including a full-length doc on Italian demonic possession pics.
From 1974 Beyond The Door( aka Chi sei? , Who Are You?, The Devil Within Her) was an Italian production directed by Greek Ovidio G. Assonitis( as O. Hellman)- who was responsibility films such as giant octopus camper Tentacles, slasher meets killer dog movie Madhouse, and Piranha II: The Spawning. On the whole, Beyond The Door is competently enough filmed- though the cutting is a little erratic, the pacing is decidedly mixed, the acting hammy as hell, and thorough most of the film runtime it feels like they are just throwing more & more wacky stuff at you- some sticks, and some doesn’t.
The film focuses in on young San Francisco family the Barret’s- we have the husband Robert, permed, moustached and smug record producer. blond housewife Jessica, and thier two kids- Ken- a blond curly head boy who is constantly drinking Campbell's pea soup, and Gail- a rather bratty little girl who carries around the numerous copies of the same book. After a decidedly head-scratching/ WTH opening that take in a voice-over from a well-spoken Satan, facing changing/ naked women & floating light boxes- we find out that Jessica is pregnant with her third child. It becomes clear fairly soon that this pregnancy isn’t normally- then we get the appearance of Dimitri(Richard Johnson) a shifty bearded ex of Jessica, who seeming has the key to save her & her baby- though he’s under the control Satan.
And what unfolds is euro-exploitation at it most tacky, cheese-bound & at times downright bizarre- we have disattached eyeballs appearing then disappear, actors Over the top sliding down wall breakdowns, a funk band including a man playing nose flute following one of the leads down a high street….and of course, this is without the truly over-the-top demonic/ possession stuff- which takes in everything from silly shifting & foul mothered voices coming from one person, lips spurting gallons green goo, bedrooms door blew –off multiple times, pyramids of identical gibbering possessed women in pink leisure suit or levitating, head-spinnings, etc. At times the pace does drag a little, as the version we have here on the first disc is the uncut nearing two-hour version- but thankfully when the lag occurs it’s never for long. I’d say if you enjoy euro exploitation/rip-offs you'll need to see Beyond The Door, as it’s certainly one of the over-the-top, at times downright ridiculous Italian rip-offs you’ll have ever seen.
Moving onto this new double blu ray release of the release- this first disc takes in a 108-minute English uncut version of the film, as well a good selection of new & old extras. The new 2k presentation of the film looks good- with great clarity to the general picture, and a good balance of punchy bold colours. Of the new extras, we get a selection of five new on-camera interviews- these last between ten and thirty minutes- there’s one with director/producer Ovidio G. Assonitis where he talks about how the film first came about, actor choices, and certainly members of the crew- with the most interesting part of the interview is his talk about how Warner Bros tried to sue him because of the similarity between his film & The Exorcist. There are interviews with the film's cinematographer & Cameraman, composer Franco Micalizzi, and actor Gabriele Lavia. Moving on to the archive stuff we get a twenty-minute featurette about the film- featuring Ovidio G. Assonitis, and some of the film actors. We get two commentary tracks- one from Ovidio G. Assonitis & genre experts, and one from actress Juliet Mills- who played the female lead. Lastly, we get alternate title credits, trailers, TV spots, and image gallery.
Onto the second disc, and we get the US Theatrical Version of the film- this runs for ninety-nine minutes, and once again get a new 2k scan. Moving on we get Italy Possessed- an around hour & half new documentary about the history of Italian Exorcist rip-offs- this features a host of interviews with directors of the films, cast & crew- the doc largely in Italian which is fine, but it comes across a little muddled in its flow. The doc starts in the early 70’s moving onto the late ’70s taking a film in at a time, but the issue is that each of these goes off on tangents about directors other work, and real you get no firm/ set description of each film- so if you've never have seen any of the films before you not any the wiser after this doc- so I’d say this is very much for those who are already very familiar with the Italian demonic rip-off, and not those just getting into the genre. Lastly, on disc two we get archival interviews with the cast- so over the two-disc, you get a good selection of stuff.
It’s great to see Arrow Video digging deeper into the Italian rip-off cinema, and it would be cool to see them dig further down- maybe more of The Exorcist rip-offs would be good, or maybe some of the Jaws rip-offs. Anyway another nicely done reissue from Arrow Video- and most certainly one for any fans of euro-exploitation.Roger Batty