Beyond the Door – Italy, 1974 – reviews and Arrow Video Blu-ray news

Beyond the Door will be released in the USA by Arrow Video on Blu-ray on March 24th 2020.

Limited to 3,000 units, the two-disc set includes two versions of this Exorcist rip-off: the uncut 108-minute English export and the 99-minute American theatrical release version (both restored in 2K). It also includes a reversible fold-out poster and a booklet with writing by John Martin and Alessio di Rocco. The new artwork is by Marc Schoenbach and the original poster is, of course, on the other side.

Meanwhile, here’s our previous coverage of the movie:

‘You will definitely quiver with fright…’

Beyond the Door – original title: Chi sei? and also released as The Devil Within Her – is a 1974 Italian supernatural horror feature film directed by Ovidio G. Assonitis (Tentacles) and Robert Barrett from a screenplay co-written with an uncredited Alex Rebar (The Incredible Melting Man). The movie stars Juliet Mills, Richard Johnson (The Haunting; Zombie Flesh Eaters), Gabriele Lavia (Deep Red) and Elizabeth Turner.

Detailing a woman possessed by a demon, Beyond The Door was labelled a rip-off of The Exorcist. Warner Bros. promptly filed a lawsuit, claiming copyright infringement. The lawsuit was unsuccessful after it was determined Warner Bros. had no rights to key horror scenes depicted in The Exorcist. The film became an independent hit, earning an estimated $15 million at the US box office.

This meant Beyond The Door paved the way for several other “Exorcist rip-offs” (many originating in Italy too) to see successful release in the US and elsewhere. Some of these include AbbyThe House of Exorcism (a bile-spewing re-edit of Lisa and the Devil), The Antichrist, Naked Exorcism, and the Turkish Seytan.

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“It is surely no accident that Beyond the Door steers clear of the expensive new effects technologies that were revolutionizing horror and sci-fi movies in the mid-1970s, relying instead on techniques that Georges Méliès would have recognized. This film also benefits from some of the best sound design I’ve ever encountered, which is a tremendous asset in scenes like the opening Satanic ritual.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

“Though the first hour or so contains some mildly creepy horror imagery and plenty of unintentional laughs and thus isn’t completely worthless (though hardly “good”), the final 45 minutes where Jessica is confined to her bedroom is a slow, excruciating, derivative bore that pretty much wipes one’s memory clean of some of the funnier stuff that came before.” The Bloody Pit of Horror

” …the film can become talky in spurts, but again, the number of unique and bizarre visuals makes up for that and the straight-faced performances of seasoned vets Mills and Johnson certainly bring the modest production up more than a few levels. The score by Franco Micalizzi is cemented in the 1970s, but that only attributes to its retro-chic status today…” DVD Drive-In

“It’s all trash, but it’s scary trash. I wouldn’t call it entertainment, but it’s a diversion, all right. Yuk.” Roger Ebert, January 1st 1975

” …Beyond the Door features all the prerequisite vomiting, screaming and head-spinning, but lousy dubbing and a forced feeling don’t do it any justice. Mills gives a valiant performance here, but the loopy plotline and derivative stylings keep this from being a superior effort.” The Terror Trap

“When not reprising events from the Friedkin and Polanski films, Beyond the Door fails to make much sense, but director Oliver Hellman (Ovidio G. Assonitis) manages to inject a bit of atmosphere into the familiar proceedings.” TV Guide

“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…” The Video Vacuum

THE DEVIL WITHIN HER

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Cast and characters:

  • Juliet Mills … Jessica Barrett
  • Gabriele Lavia … Robert Barrett
  • Richard Johnson … Dimitri
  • Nino Segurini … Doctor George Staton
  • Elizabeth Turner … Barbara Staton
  • Barbara Fiorini … Gail Barrett
  • Carla Mancini … Mrs Francis
  • David Colin Jr. … Ken Barrett
  • Jonathan T. Tran … Doctor Tran
  • Edward L. Montoro … The Devil (voice)

Filming locations:

De Paolis Studios, Rome
San Francisco, California

Trivia:

First assistant director Peter Shepherd appparently brought Juliet Mills onto the project, having previously worked with her on Avanti! (1972). Director Ovidio G. Assonitis had Samantha Eggar in mind for the lead role.

Buy: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

beyond the door

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