Beyond the Door (1974)
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- The movie starts with narration by an English dandy who is basically apologizing for how shitty and forgettable the movie is.
- This flat-chested girl tied to a photographer’s light table morphs into the face of Jesus, or maybe David Crosby.
- Oh god…
- So from what I don’t really understand, some guy who is about to die via his car going off a cliff is saved by the Devil’s voiceover needs to sacrifice some woman’s unborn baby or impregnate her with the Devil or… something.
- These kids are fucking awesome, cursing with “asshole” and “god damn it” and “son of a bitch.”
- Puking up blood is natural for any expectant mother.
- I think her ob/gyn just recommended suicide.
- Jessica insists that she and her husband Robert think long and hard about the baby’s name because it’s so meaningful and will a great impact on its life. My name is Brian. It doesn’t mean shit and the only way it’s impacted my life is people call me Brian.
- Jessica throws an ashtray or something at their fish tank and shatters it. The breaking fish tank shot lasts 25 minutes and all fish were harmed in the making.
- I think the Devil took a shit on the floor.
- This movie is so dull that Brad and I have been talking about the Marilyn Chambers classic Behind the Green Door instead.
- Jessica just deep-mouthed kissed her 4-year-old son. Well now it’s officially creepier than The Exorcist.
- Jessica’s daughter, Gail, is a real c-word. And it’s awesome. She has a mouth so foul that Lenny Bruce told her to take it fucking easy.
- There’s a 52-minute sequence of Jessica going doll shopping. Remember those long lingering shopping sequences in Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist? No?
- Then Jessica picks up a banana peel off the ground and eats it. Is that supposed to be demonic? Maybe if she would have picked up a dead pigeon and ate it that would be something, but a fucking banana peel?
- The Devil or demonic entity or whatever cannot stop making farting noises.
- I’m not saying I’m the most fearless man in the world anything but I’ll never understand why a doll would ever be scary, glowing eyes or no. Same goes for ghost kids.
- They actually did the head turning thing. Jesus H. Christ…
- John Holmes is being stalked by Dick Johnson around San Francisco for 73 minutes. They should just fuck in the park and get it over with.
- The ’70s synth funk music soundtrack couldn’t be more out of place for a horror movie. It sound like it should be in a blaxploitation flick starring Rudy Ray Moore as a security guard at a mall during Thanksgiving when terrorists show up: Black Friday.
- Jessica’s laying in bed and her eyes are going haywire. She’s been possessed by Marty Feldman!
- Oh hey, she’s vomiting thick green liquid and talking in different voices. Such originality I’ve never experienced!
- Look, The Exorcist was a huge phenomenon, and I understand trying to cash in on it, but god damn at least do something a little different. All this is is The Exorcist combined with Rosemary’s Baby combined with Devil farts and shit into a coffee filter made of John Holmes’s pubes.
- The car cliff guy who’s doing the devil’s bidding is even named Dimitri, which is very close in Greekdom to Damian Karras from The Exorcist. Come on, mother fuckers.
- One of my favorite movie quotes of all time is in The Exorcist when Father Merrin says, “There is only one…” It’s so chilling and delivered so perfectly. This piece of shit has nothing even remotely resembling that. The closest thing is the brother telling the sister, “Go stuff yourself.”
- Marty Feldman’s eyeball is on the floor. Then it disappears.
- Why is the fucking ob/gyn still the only physician involved?
- God damn, whatever the Devil’s plan is here it’s fucking stupid. Why didn’t he just chill out until the baby was born?
- Now the ob/gyn is interviewing someone on a houseboat. I don’t think my wife’s ob/gyn would have done this.
- This reminds me of the great Spinal Tap quote: “I don’t understand what this has to do with anything!”
- Do we care if Dimitri dies? Do we care if Jessica dies? Do we care if the baby dies? Do we care if we die?
- So… Dimitri goes to hell? The house is back to normal? The baby is born without a mouth? Is it really so impossible to make a movie that makes sense?
- So the cursing son gets cursed. Fuck that fucking shit.
- Remember how with The Exorcist people would run out of the theater? I bet that happened with Beyond the Door, but for different reasons.
Scare Level: If The Exorcist kept you up at night, then Beyond the Door will cause you to take an extra 3 milliseconds to fall asleep for your disco nap.
Gore Level: I don’t recall any. But I don’t recall much else, either.
Nudity Level: There was a pair of boobies in the beginning that may or may not have been the property of star Juliet Mills.
Best Line: “God damn it, I forgot my book.” – said by Jessica’s 10-year-old daughter
Best Scene: There really isn’t one, but I suppose I’d choose Jessica eating the banana peel because that reminded me of orangutans and I love orangutans.
Worst Scene: Maybe this should be “Which scene ripped off either The Exorcist and/or Rosemary’s Baby more egregiously?” The entire ending sequence with Jessica in full possessed mode with a straitjacket on and covered in green puke was just a tad on the nose. And Jessica’s passionate kiss with her sleeping 4-year-old son was just a tad on the mouth.
Level of Hell: I can’t think of a more perfect ripoff to go into the Fraud level.
Overall: This movie really is shameless in its ripoffsity. It’s pretty remarkable and someone impressive that they thought they could get away with what is essentially a straight adaptation of The Exorcist with devilish sprinklings of Rosemary’s Baby. If those movies never existed, Beyond the Door might be semi-interesting, but still pretty damn lousy. The only redeeming qualities of this movie are the novelty of the cursing daughter and the novelty that director Ovidio G. Assonitis changed his name for the film to Oliver Hellman. Fortunately, star Juliet Mills went on to play Tabitha in Passions, the only soap opera to ever feature a witch with a living dwarf doll in the cast.
Score: 3 Forgotten God Damn Books (out of 10)