Beyond the Door (1974)

Beyond the Door posterBeyond the Door (1974)

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

Beyond the Door is one of several knock-offs that immediately followed the success of The Exorcist.  It is the story of Jessica Barrett, wife and mother of two, who begins to show signs of possession while pregnant with her third child.  As she seeks help from her husband and doctor, a mysterious man approaches her and seems to have some answers.

The acting and dubbing is pretty ridiculous overall, especially from the children.  On the other hand, all effects (which is what is important in any possession film) are a hell of a lot of fun.  As cheesy as they are, and obviously ripped off almost directly from The Exorcist, they still make the film an amusing imitation.  We get the standard multiple voices, unnatural body movement, head spinning, and of course bile spewing.  None of these are executed to the full effect that The Exorcist pulled off, but are certainly still well done.  The other element that falls short is the atmosphere.  Beyond the Door develops a decent feeling of atmosphere, but various hiccups throughout the film and a slow pace don’t allow that tension to build or hold.

Beyond the Door

Beyond the Door gets quite a bit of undeserved hate for following directly in the footsteps of The Exorcist.  That’s not to say it isn’t a complete knock-off, because it is, but really how many dozens of possession movies have been created since 1973 that aren’t anything original.  Therefore, for what it is, Beyond the Door is an entertaining film.  Fans of 70’s horror and demonic possession films should certainly check this one out.  In fact, thanks to our friends at bmovies.com, you can watch it for free here.

 

4 thoughts on “Beyond the Door (1974)

  1. >An Exorcist knock off it is, but there’s still so much tosee here that isn’t in The Exorcist.  You’reright to say that the acting and dubbing is pretty ridiculous overall, though RichardJohnson’s acting still manages to be great amongst a cast of bad actors, justlike in Zombi 2 and Night Child.  I lovethe title song, Bargain with the Devil. The way we jam to it at the beginning while driving home with Jessica’skids while one drinks pea soup straight out of the can is so cool.  I love the scene when all the toys come tolife, too.    

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  2. >Very true.  It was really clever to have her daughter drinking pea soup, that was certainly amusing.  And agreed about the scene with the toys.

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  3. This is one of my all time favorite horror films. Of course there are similarities to its predecessor, The Exorcist, but when you really look at both story lines, the films are really different.
    In the Exorcist, we see a 12 year old girl who plays around with a Ouija board and becomes possessed by a demon called Pazuzu.
    In Beyond The Door, we see a 20-something year old mother of two who was involved with a Satanist and ends up becoming possessed by The Devil himself.
    In the Exorcist, doctors and priests were involved, a church was desecrated and 3 people were killed (although one was Father Karras who was revived in part 3 as ‘The Gemini Killer’).
    In the Exorcist, the most terrifying scenes occurred in Regan’s bedroom. Seemingly, Pazuzu only made himself known although he did go outside the house very often. You would have to see part 3 in order to get more about part 1.
    In Beyond The Door, The Devil’s energy moved all over the house (the scene where the children’s bedroom came to life). When they escaped the room, they ran to mommy screaming who was lying face down. Her head did a 180° with a demonic grin and that was the end of the head spinning.
    In the Exorcist, the head spin was tied to how Berk Dennings was killed; his neck was snapped with his head completely around and he was pushed from Regan’s bedroom window.
    Anyone who has seen both of these films enough can see that the only major similarities are demonic possession and how the possessed behaved, but there are several major differences.
    The Exorcist was very slow paced and full of suspense; if you didn’t know it was a horror film, you would be shocked seeing a little girl stab herself in the crotch with a crucifix. Beyond The Door starts off letting viewers know right away that it is a horror film, then slowed down to build up suspense.
    What most people think of this movie is that it’s a direct rip-off of The Exorcist. I don’t agree totally.
    Dimitri (Beyond The Door) obviously made a deal with Satan and when Jessica ran out on him during a ritual (in the beginning), he was provided ‘borrowed time’. Dimitri is the only one who dies (besides the stillborn child without a nose/mouth) in Beyond The Door; he was already dead.
    The Exorcist had better special effects and actors by far but I feel the only reason it was so frightening was because it WAS the first of its kind.

    Then there’s the music. Tubular Bells will always be associated with The Exorcist but had it not been used in that film, people would be able to appreciate its beauty.
    Now, that eerie single chord organ noise at the beginning of Beyond The Door (and in other scenes) makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck (and I don’t have any LOL)

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    1. Wow, thank you for such a thorough and thought-provoking comment. This really could be an article in and of itself. And you’re very right.

      At one extreme there are those who consider every demonic possession movie since The Exorcist to just be a rip-off of The Exorcist. That’s pretty obviously not the case since there were quite a few demonic possession movies before 1973 (even to an extent all the way back to The Black Cat in the 30’s). The Exorcist just revolutionized the idea and the horror genre itself, at least to the masses. So more realistically, it’s the vomit-spewing, head-spinning, hyper-blasphemous style of possession that The Exorcist created and that part can be considered a rip-off. But when it comes down to it, ideas are rarely new, and even when they’re new they usually still have some sort of foundation. It’s nowadays that we have the repeated cookie-cutter possession films that have absolutely no originality.

      Thanks for reading! Hope to see you around here more, and I completely agree about the music. 🙂

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