(aka "Chi Sei?" or "Beyond the Door")

 

directed by Oliver Hellman and Robert Barrett
Italy/USA 1974

 

Jessica (Juliet Mills), wife of a record producer (Gabriele Lavia) and mother of two foul-mouthed children, is pregnant but senses something strange about the baby brought on by the reappearance in her life of an old lover Dmitri (Richard Johnson) - whose life the devil has promised to extend if he makes sure Jessica delivers her devil spawn. As her behavior goes from bizarre moodswings and foul language to speaking in a male voice along with the requisite head-spinning and telekinetic phenomena, her husband tries to figure out what is happening and Dmitri pretends to share his concern in order to get close to Jessica and the baby.

Taking elements from both ROSEMARY'S BABY and THE EXORCIST (although there is possession, there is no exorcism as such), BEYOND THE DOOR is certainly entertaining and intermittently effective but also more than a little incoherent. If the decision of the devil to possess an innocent girl in
THE EXORCIST was to make man humanity see itself as ugly and unworthy of salvation, the choice of the devil to impregnate and possess a housewife in BEYOND THE DOOR suggests that he has way too much time on his hands. Nonetheless, the actors approach their roles with conviction; especially Mills even when her bizarre behavior seems more ridiculous and ominous. The commentators suggest that BEYOND THE DOOR was unfairly singled out from the many EXORCIST rip-offs of the time by Warner Bros. (AIP's blaxploitation possession flick ABBY was also subject to a lawsuit and withdrawn from circulation) but the other rip-offs were produced and shot in Italy and Spain and picked up by smaller distributors whereas BEYOND THE DOOR was partially shot in San Francisco, a memorable TV spot, and had its premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theater.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 31 July 1975

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Code Red DVD - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Code Red DVD

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:48:25
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.26 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Code Red DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Juliet Mills and Lee Christian (4:3; 0:57)
• Audio commentary with director/producer Ovidio G. Assonitis and Euro-horror historian Nathaniel Thom
• Audio commentary with Juliet Mills and Scott Spiegel, moderated by Darren Gross & Lee Christian
• BEYOND THE DOOR: 35 YEARS LATER featurette with interviews with Ovidio G. Assonitis, Richard Johnson
• AN ENGLISHMAN IN ITALY: An Interview with Richard Johnson (16:9; 6:55)
• Still Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:14)
• TV Spot (4:3; 0:27)
• CHOKE CANYON trailer (16:9; 2:01)
• THE UNSEEN trailer (16:9; 2:10)
• THE VISITOR trailer (16:9; 3:17; time-coded and unfinished)
• SILENT SCREAM trailer (4:3; 1:14)
• SOLE SURVIVOR trialer (4:3; 1:51)

DVD Release Date: September 16th, 2008
Amaray

Chapters 16

 

Comments

The 1.85:1 transfer is dual-layered and progressive with an appropriately grainy un-manipulated film-like texture. The mono sound is strong with great bass (which comes through in the demonic sound effects and Franco Micalizzi's tres funky score) although the film apparently had some play-dates with a stereo surround mix and there are lots of opportunities for directional effects with onscreen objects, supernatural entities, and LOUD sound effects but all video and disc releases so far have had the mono track so it is possible that only a limited amount of stereo prints were made. As this is the export version, it features the original "THE DEVIL WITHIN HER" title sequence scored with the theme song "Bargain with the Devil" that was entirely missing from the U.S. prints that dispensed with all of the supporting cast and technical crew other than distributor Montoro, actors Mills and Johnson, and the title superimposed over the opening nightmare sequence (this alternate title sequence has not been included as an extra but the nigtmare prologue is intact). The transfer for DVD has been composited from more than one print as revealed by the BEYOND THE DOOR title optical preceding the closing credits.

 

Code Red has given this film the maximum respectable treatment with two commentary tracks, the first featuring producer/co-director Ovidio G. Assonitis (who co-directed as Oliver Hellman with his D.P. Roberto D'Ettore Piazzoli as Robert Barrett). The second commentary track features star Juliet Mills along with HOSTEL producer/BEYOND THE DOOR fan Scott Spiegel and film historian Darren Gross (both tracks are moderated by Lee Christian) and it is refreshing to hear a commentary from a respectable actor/actress who enjoys revisiting their exploitation work and does not try to pass it off as a just a paycheck. The commentary is kept lively by the presence of Spiegel, Gross, and Christian who ask Mills questions as well as relate to her and us facts about the cast, crew, and production. As such, there is some overlap between the two tracks (for instance, much is made of Warner Bros. suing the production for copyright infringement - Assonitis settled out of court). BEYOND THE DOOR: 35 YEARS LATER features on-camera interviews with Mills, Assonitis, actor Richard Johnson, and actor Alex Rebar who rewrote the Italian script. Johnson is also featured in the interview AN ENGLISHMAN IN ITALY which touches upon his other work in Italian film. The theatrical trailer and striking US TV spot are also included in scratchy condition along with a still gallery.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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Region 0 - NTSC

 

 


 

 



 

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