Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Clone Wars (The Exorcist): Beyond the Door

The Beyond The Door series is not so much a Series as whatever Films people wanted to make and sell as Sequels.  As you will learn in the coming days, there is not even the remotest of connection in themes between the films, let alone characters or plot.  As a bonus, the 'third film' was released 12 years after the second one!  We're supposed to buy this, why exactly?!?  The first film is a pretty blatant knock-off of The Exorcist.  I could say more, but...that's a pretty good summary, actually.  Let's dive right into...
The film begins in a very odd manner with a shot of a car flying off the side of a California roadway.  Damn you, Toonces!  When you will learn?!?  The shot of the car flying off freezes, however, and we get a droning narration going over it.  Our narrative jumps to that of a young woman going grocery shopping.  The film tries to set her up as 'Mother of the Year' from the get-go by having her go shopping and leaving the kids in the car.  Even in 1974, that was still a bad thing!  Oh and her kids have weird habits that are never really explained.  The boy eats nothing but pea soup (it does not pay off in the way you think), while the girl has several copies of the book 'Love Story' that she reads.  Yes, she has multiple copies of the same book...and it's that one...and she carries them all together.  The father of the kids is a music producer, which is an excuse to give us some padding shots of rehearsal.  Do they add anything?  Nope.  At a dinner party, our heroine learns that she is pregnant and her body is not taking it well.  Oh and she's several weeks ahead of schedule for no reason.  It's probably not a good pregnancy when your baby is growing up super-fast and causing you to vomit blood, is it?  Our heroine acts worried about this for a while and...that's about it for a while.  Let's skip that, shall we?
A mysterious man (Island of the Fishmen's Richard Johnson) keeps wandering around and stalking the husband.  He hears the wife talking about some guy named Dimitri and looks into it.  He was apparently an ex-boyfriend of hers (despite looking 20 years older than her) that was into the occult.  He made some sort of deal with the devil and she's now pregnant with Satan's baby.  That's right- we have merged an Exorcist-clone with a Rosemary's Baby-clone!  That is one ugly, baby!  The woman acts all freaky and talks in the devil voice, while the kids...pretty much vanish from the story.  They are shown a few times, but stop contributing for a while.  See you in the finale, kids.  
As for the man, he is supposed to deliver the child to his dark master and was placed in some sort of spiritual limbo until he did so.  Does it really ever get explained?  No, not really.  We get a whole bunch of scenes of the woman continuing to act freaky, but we never really get a priest character- just some doctor guy.  It's a bit of a letdown, but stay with me.  After some more talking and wandering, the lady/Satan gives a big speech to the doctor.  Immediately following this, we get a juxtaposition of two scenes: the car returning to its falling and the young boy riding on a ferry.  The kid unwraps a toy car and dumps it off the boat, causing the real car to do so...in the past?  The End.
This movie is not...logical.  The flow of it is so odd, spending lots of time on the build-up and just sort of hanging around.  I want to know who writes these odd movies that just sort of linger around and don't go anywhere.  How do you send that in to producers with a straight face?  Twelve pages of tedious dialogue and no direction- they'll love it.  As a horror film, it is a very '70s horror film.  If you like The Exorcist...I would stick with that movie.  It is much better than Seytan and Exorcism (sorry, Paul), but not really all that good as a real movie.  It's interesting...but not much more.  That's about all I can say about it.

Next up, the sequel which...is about a crazy person and ghosts.  Yeah, it's not even related- although it is by Mario Bava.  Stay tuned...


  1. I preferred THE ANTICHRIST over this one, it was OK, I guess.. but there was a serious lack of goat coitus

  2. I have been meaning to check that one out. I'll probably due more in the 'Clone Wars' series with that one, Jess Franco's 'Exorcism,' 'Black Voodoo Exorcist,' 'Exorcism at Midnight' and 'House of Exorcism'- aka the re-edit of 'Lisa and the Devil.'

    As you can see, I have plenty of options.

  3. The 1974 Beyond the Door has atmosphere and effective music by Franco Micalizzi. Theres a sense of anxiety, vulnerability, and helplessness that pervades the movie. The film emphasizes that Satan and demons are real.
    One of the most effective scenes in the movie is when the two kids are alone in the room. The young boy talks to an imaginary friend that moves the chair and moves the dolls and toys. We see the eyeballs of the Dolls moving and staring. While his sister goes to the kitchen to bring a dish of desert, the voice of a cackling witch is heard singing, "What begins with D?" It sounds like one of those old women who dress up as Halloween witches. The plate of dessert goes flying into the ceiling and all the dolls and toys come to life and the entire room shakes and a sinister voice laughs. The two children are terrified. All this is caused by demonic activity.
    Richard Johnson as Dimitri is suspended in time for the last 10 years. He is a Satanist and its his fault why Juliet Mills is demonically possessed as they both performed in a Satanic ritual at the beginning of the movie. Actor Gabriele Lavia plays the husband of Juliet Mills. Ovidio Assonitis, Edward Montoro and Film Ventures International made this movie. Its unforgettable.