Thursday, 14 July 2016

BEYOND THE DOOR *** Italy 1974 Dir: Ovidio Assonitis. 109 mins

One of the fastest movies out of the gate to capitalise on the worldwide phenomenon of THE EXORCIST (while still nodding overtly to that film’s own precursor, ROSEMARY’S BABY), this divertingly odd Italian rip-off has a marvellously droll opening in which Satan himself smugly introduces the story, bragging about the mischief we’re about to watch unfold.
Musician’s wife Juliet Mills is pregnant with a rapidly growing evil foetus that causes dramatic behavioural changes, including disturbingly lingering kisses goodnight for her young son, eating banana peel off the sidewalk, projectile vomiting and, of course, spontaneously twisting her head 360 degrees. So blatant in its cloning of THE EXORCIST that it actually has one character eating Campbell’s Pea Soup on-screen, it’s wholly lacking in frights but a fascinating watch nonetheless. Richard Johnson is typically solid as a character who channels Max Von Sydow while anticipating Patrick Troughton in THE OMEN, and the interaction between Mills’ peculiar kids is notably hilarious: “Hey, remember that crazy nickname you gave Dad?” / “Asshole!”

Review by Steven West





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