Beyond Death’s Door (1979)

The follow-up to Beyond and BackBeyond Death’s Door has our friends at Sunn Classics — or Sunn or Schick Sunn or whatever you choose to call them — taking the book by Maurice Rawlings, the parts about reincarnation and Duncan MacDougall’s 21 grams experiment from that movie and then going their own way with a narrative tale about death and redemption.

As written by Fenton Hobart Jr. and directed by perennial Sunn director Henning Scellerup, the man who is also known as adult director Hans Christian, this is a moralizing portmanteau about exactly what happens when death takes people. For some, like the stabbing victim that starts the story, they wake up, tell you what heaven looks like and dies again. And for others, like the pimp (Taurean Blacque from Hill Street Blues) it means becoming a ghost and floating over the operator table to yell, “I’m up here lookin’ down at all you cats!” There’s a skiier, a construction worker — whose ghost makes it to a disco — and one wonders if the rest of the Village People could have been in this as well.

It’s pretty amazing to watch these movies, knowing that the Utah-based Sunn was way ahead of their time. The shows that litter basic cable now all owe them so much.

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