Monday, October 21, 2013

Beyond the Door

With Halloween looming I thought it might be appropriate to run some horror-themed random movie trailers. So, here we have Beyond the Door (to give its US title, it was known as Chi Sei? in its native Italy and The Devil Within Her in the UK), a 1974 Italian shocker which rips off both The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby.  Like many Italian productions of the era it tries to hide its origins by non-Italian stars, in this case Brits Richard Johnson and Juliet Mills slumming it in a film they probably thought would never be released in the English-speaking world, and director Ovidio G Assonitis hiding behind the Anglicised pseudonym Oliver Hellman.  To complete the illusion that it is a US production, Beyond the Door also features genuine San Francisco exterior locations, (the interiors were all filmed in studios in Rome).

As the trailer indicates, the plot concerns a pregnant woman who is apparently carrying the Anti-Christ.  In addition to this Rosemary's Baby vibe, it also throws in Exorcist-style demonic possession, to boot.  Clearly, this was a winning combination, as the movie did pretty well on its US-release and grossed some $40 million worldwide.  Doubtless spurred on by this success, Assonitis came up with the bizarre Jaws rip-off Tentacles (or Tentacoli in Italy) a few years later, concerning a giant octopus menacing a Californian coastal community.  Like Beyond the Door, it featured several US actors, (including, incredibly, Henry Fonda) and genuine US locations.  Unfortunately, it has been so long since I last saw this movie I can't recall enough of it to say whether it was frightening or laughable.  However, it was released on DVD back in 2008. so I really should catch up with it again.   



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