October 10th, 2008

BEYOND THE DOOR (1975) * ½

Juliet Mills stars in this cheap ass Italian Exorcist knockoff as a housewife who finds out she is pregnant with the devil’s baby.   Pretty soon she’s puking blood, floating around the room, and eating banana peels off the sidewalk.  Then her head spins completely around, she starts breathing real heavy like Darth Vader and talking like Mercedes McCambridge and of course, she upchucks Campbell’s Split Pea Soup like it’s nobody’s business.  It’s up to her ex-husband (Richard Johnson of Zombie fame) to rip that satanic sucker out of her snatch to set her soul free.


Oh man, where do I begin on this one?  Well for starters; this had all the makings for a good Exorcist rip-off.  (It even had a touch of Rosemary’s Baby thrown in there for good measure.)  It certainly had lots of head-spinning and plenty of pea soup puking to qualify.  What totally sank this turd to the bottom of the bowl was all of the incessant padding.  Sure, The Exorcist had its fair share of padding too, but at least it was compelling padding.  This shit is just as boring as watching your dog sniff his ass for two hours.  How many scenes did we really need of Richard Johnson contemplating God knows what and following around Mills’ hubby?  Well, however many of those are required, you can be damn sure this movie had about triple the maximum dosage.  And honestly, what the Hell was up with that street musician who pestered Mills’ boy toy with his damn flute for six city blocks?


Yeah, I’m being hard on this movie but why not?  It took a good premise and did literally zilch with it.  There were a handful of OK supernatural scenes where dresser drawers opened and shut by themselves, doll babies started walking around and tasty desserts hit the ceiling for no good reason.  I also have to admit that I thought the scene where the doctor stuck a whole bunch of electrodes into Mills’ head was kinda kick ass, even if nothing else was really done with it.  And yes, I did chuckle every time Mills’ foul-mouthed kids started reading Love Story for the fiftieth time. 


The biggest problem with the movie is that it’s just so dang boring.  Despite a couple of decent possession scenes, for the most part, it was strictly Beyond the Bore.  Mills however is excellent and she would later go on to star in the bizarre-as-fuck soap opera, Passions.  (A guilty pleasure of mine.)  Director Oliver Hellman went on to direct the Jaws rip-off, Tentacles two years later.


The doctor gets the best line of the movie when he calls Mills’ baby a “biological absurdity”.


AKA:  Behind the Door.  AKA:  Beyond Obsession.  AKA:  The Devil Within Her.  AKA:  Who Are You?