Beyond the Door (1974)

There are rip-offs of The Exorcist. And then there are rip-offs where copyright infringement lawsuits lead to Warner Brothers getting a cash settlement and a portion of the film’s future revenue. Beyond the Door would be the latter. It’s $40 million worldwide gross meant that this film would a film draw the ire and call of that most Satanic of all monsters, the suits and the lawyers.

Directed by Ovidio G. Assonitis, who wrote 1979’s most insane film The Visitor and directed Tentacles and Madhouse (and he was also CEO of Cannon, producing films like Lambada and American Ninja 5), the film opens with Satan literally speaking, promising to give a man ten more years of life if he knocks up a woman. Oh yeah — there’s also a naked female on a light up crucifix.

Jessica Barrett (Juliet Mills, TV’s Nanny and the Professor) is pregnant with her third child, which leads to the typical symptoms — strange voices, throwing up blood, screaming all night long. You know — the normal stuff.

Her other kids are also impacted by all this Satanic panic going on in the Barrett house, as her husband Robert (Gabriele Lavia, Deep Red) tries to help. Turns out an old lover, Dmitri (Richard Johnson, Dr. Menard from Zombi!) has something to do with all of this, as he’s the man Satan was speaking to in the opening of the film. He offers to help Jessica, but he’s really trying to ensure that her baby is born because it’s gonna be the Antichrist (DUM DUM DUM)!

The possessor ends up killing Dmitri after asking him to reach into Jessica and pull out her baby. She vomits blackness all over his face, so he starts banging on her stomach while yelling, “LIES! LIES LIES!” So the devil sends him back over that cliff in his car, killing him.

A dove flies by as we find Jessica on a boat, covered with a robe and wearing sunglasses. She has lost the baby but regained her life. Children run and play everywhere. Meanwhile, we cut to a young child unwrapping a gift, which contains a red car. He tosses it overboard, revealing that he’s the Antichrist. Or maybe he’s Jessica’s kid? Who knows. Who can say? He does have glowing eyes, so there’s that.

Beyond the Door zigs where The Exorcist zags. Instead of “Tubular Bells,” we get 70’s funk. Instead of priests, we get weird ex-lovers. Instead of kids being possessed, here they are just foul-mouthed little bastards.

But hey — the ad campaign for this film is memorable, even if the film isn’t!


7 thoughts on “Beyond the Door (1974)

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