THE DOOR (1974)
Juliet Mills, Richard Johnson, Gabriele Lavia, Nino Segurini, Barbara
Fiorini, David Colin Jr. Directed by Ovidio G. Assonitis & Robert
Barrett. (108 / 98 min)
BLU-RAY FROM ARROW VIDEO
by Josey, the Sudden Cat😼
began the original TV spot for Beyond the Door, which showed
possessed, yellow-eyed Juliet Mills growling like a death metal
singer and levitating across a room. Being 11 years old at the time,
that shit freaked me out, as did the chilling artwork of the movie
poster and newspaper ads. This was the only movie that ever made me afraid
to turn off the lights without actually having seen it. Regardless of
one’s ultimate opinion of the film itself, the ad campaign was indisputably
brilliant and all that promotional material – including a replica
of the original U.S. poster – is included with this disc.
|CHILDHOOD NIGHTMARE FUEL.|
didn’t actually get to see the thing for another several years, as
the bottom half of a drive-in double bill. Having already endured The
Exorcist by that time, Beyond the Door’s cavalcade of
green vomit, rotating heads and levitating bodies was underwhelming,
sometimes unintentionally amusing. Though not even coming close to
the terror of my childhood expectations, it did have the lady
from Nanny and the Professor spittin’ goo, slappin’ kids
and droppin’ f-bombs! And since I was now in my late teens, the
lovely Ms. Mills suddenly had a MILF quality I found quite appealing.
I didn’t know at the time was that no blockbuster has ever been
made that the Italians couldn’t knock-off faster and cheaper,
Beyond the Door being one of the more notorious examples. Warner Brothers famously - and successfully - sued its producers for ripping
off The Exorcist. While Beyond unquestionably cops a
lot of The Exorcist’s moves, whether or not it constitutes
actual copyright infringement is certainly an interesting debate that
makes the film well worth revisiting four decades later.
the Door’s entire tumultuous history – before, during and
after – is a story unto itself, which this set explores through an
abundance of supplemental material that’s as revealing as it is
entertaining. As we learn through dozens of interviews, not everybody
involved with the film consider it a rip-off, nor do some historians.
A few of their arguments sound like bullshit, but others have genuine
merit. The best bonus is a new feature-length documentary, “Italy
Possessed,” which chronicles Italy’s dubious history of
post-Exorcist “devil” pictures. Beyond the Door was
simply one of them, but being the best-produced and most
internationally successful, it got the most attention (both good and
the movie itself all these
years later was a nostalgic blast, especially with Arrow Video’s
nifty 2K facelift. Few have ever mistaken Beyond the Door for
a great film and some of its goofier aspects remain highly amusing,
such as the funky score, the recurring appearance of pea soup cans, the protagonists’
bizarre children (enhanced by daffy dubbing) and the piéce
de résistance, the truly WTF
moment when one poor bastard is tormented by a street musician
playing a flute with his nose.
second look also reveals some elements of the film that are genuinely
impressive. Mills’ performance is actually quite good, especially in sequences where she’s required to shift back and forth
between terrified and demonically-possessed. And despite lacking the
budget William Friedkin was afforded, the specially effects aren’t
bad. In fact, one particular scene involving Mills’ wandering eye
is creepy as hell, even by today's standards. Sure, some scenes are clearly inspired by The
Exorcist, but I’d argue the overall narrative pilfers
Rosemary’s Baby more than anything else.
|The tragic results of Pop Rocks and Pepsi.|
one considers Beyond the Door a terrifying treasure, crazy
campfest or ridiculous rip-off, this is a beautifully-packaged set
with considerable historical importance for horror buffs. It's a
fascinating, in-depth look at both the film and the opportunistic
Italian auteurs who briefly started a movement, therefore a must-own.
When it arrived, the first thing I did was pop-in disc one to relive the original TV spot that once gave me nightmares. Of course, it's a bit silly and quaint now. On the other hand, when I suggested the accompanying poster would look good in the Dave Cave, my wife quickly & calmly shot-back, "No fucking way." Either she's a coward, her hubby has no sense of decor or some of Beyond the Door's imagery is still unnerving. Probably all three.
CUTS OF THE FILM – 1) Uncut English Export Edition (onscreen
title: The Devil Within Her), running 108 minutes; 2) U.S.
Theatrical Version, running 98 minutes).
POSSESSED: A BRIEF HISTORY OF EXORCIST RIP-OFFS” - Not exactly
brief, this is a feature-length documentary about the plethora of
Italian “possession” films that followed in the wake of The
Exorcist. Featuring footage from several films and interviews
numerous directors, historians and actors, this is the most
interesting of the bonus features.
DEVIL AND ME” - Interview with director Ovidio G. Assonitis.
HELL” - Interview with cinematographer/co-director Roberto
D’Ettorre Piazoli (aka Robert Barrett).
THE MUSIC” - Interview with composer Franco Micalizzi.
DEVIL’S FACE” - Interview with cameraman Maurizio Maggi.
AND DEVILS” - Audio interview with actor Gabriele Lavia.
PAGE BOOKLET – Contains screen-shots and two essays.
POSTER – Featuring new and original artwork (we prefer the
COVER – Featuring new and original artwork (ditto).
COLLECTIBLE POSTCARDS – Featuring replicas of international
poster art and lobby cards.
THE DOOR: 35 YEARS LATER” - Includes interviews with
the primary cast, director Ovidio G. Assonitis and co-writer Alex
LAVIA: BARGAIN WITH THE DEVIL” - Actor Interviews.
JOHNSON: AN ENGLISHMAN IN ITALY”
INTERVIEW WITH JULIET MILLS
COMMENTARIES – 1) Director Ovidio G. Assonitis and historian
Nathaniel Thompson; 2) Actor Juliet Mills and filmmaker Scott Spiegel
(a frequent collaborator with Sam Raimi).
TRAILERS AND TV SPOTS (including the one that made me pee myself
as a kid).
MEE-OW! LIKE TAUNTING A MOUSE TO DEATH.