The film centers around a family that has gotten through a tragedy and is ready to move on. The woman (Daria Nicolodi) is back in her old home that was inhabited by her deceased ex-husband. There is a less-than-subtle mystery to the story however. You see, the woman has just gotten released from an insane asylum after the murder of the husband. The husband (John Steiner) has been the one pushing for them to move back into the house, but his motives are not fully-known just yet. The kid they have is a young boy that has a personality that seems to be equivalent to a Slinky going down a set of stairs. The wife is very insistent that they should not be there, but the husband insists. Mind you, he is an airline pilot and is constantly going off for work. If you leave your wife in a house that drives her crazy, you just might be...a bad husband. The weird stuff comes in many forms, the most notable of which involving the kid telling the mom that he 'has to kill her.' A lot of this stuff is subtle, while some of it is very, very direct. All in all, it makes for a moody atmosphere, even if nothing is exactly clear.
As things get worse, the kid appears to be talking to some invisible person. Just to note: this predates Poltergeist by five years. The kid seems to go out of his way to make some weird, magical effects to affect the family. At one point, he causes the father's plane to nearly crash by putting a cut-out of his face on a swing and pushing it around. Maybe you should not have bought your kid Voodoo For Dummies! He also causes the mom to go even more over the edge before the truth finally comes out. You see, she killed her husband because he was an abusive drug addict who forced her to do the stuff too. After the stabbing, a life-long friend (Steiner) staged the death as an accident and had her committed to avoid prison. His reason for moving them back into the house: to get rid of the body. Apparently, it was dumped in the basement wall and would have been discovered upon renovation. The woman repays him for all of this work by stabbing him to death in the same basement. She lets loose a serious of screams that put Jamie Lee Curtis to shame. The furniture appears to be cornering her in the basement and driving her to suicide. A chest presses her against the wall and opens to reveal a box cutter, which she uses on her own wrists. As she dies, the kid can be seen in the yard having tea with the invisible force.
*This movie is actually pretty good, although it still does not make a whole lot of sense. As part of the Beyond the Door 'series,' it is the strongest entry so far. As a Mario Bava film, it has all of the usual touches that you expect. Is it ever going to replace Black Sunday or Black Sabbath as the premiere Bava films? No. The movie offers a lot of atmosphere and does actually wrap up it's story in a fairly-logical fashion. There's just some intangible thing missing from the film though, which I can't place. It is a rare starring role for Daria and she does not get killed in a violent, sadistic fashion by a killer like she does in nearly all of her Argento films. If you are going to see one film with Beyond the Door as part of its alternate titles, make it this one...even if I don't get all of it just yet.
*Next up, we wrap up the 'series' with a 1989 film set in the Czech Republic. Well, at least it does not star an aged Bo Svenson. What do you mean 'he's in it?!?' Stay tuned...