Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 15th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, November 21st, 1974
Director: Ovidio G. Assonitis
Writers: Ovidio G. Assonitis, Antonio Troiso, Alex Rebar
Cast: Juliet Mills, Gabriele Lavia, Richard Johnson, Nino Segurini, Elizabeth Turner, Barbara Fiorini, Carla Mancini, David Colin Jr., Vittorio Fanfoni, Luigi Marturano, Joan Acti, George Montage, Edward L. Montoro
DVD released: September 16th, 2008
Approximate running time: 109 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98
Synopsis: Jessica Barrett is happily married and a mother of two. She receives unexpected news that she is pregnant with another child! Happiness quickly turns to horror when a woman discovers that the devil is father of her unborn child.
Beyond the Door is a possession movie that is reminiscent of other satanic themed films like Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist. Over the years Beyond the Door has been released under a variety of titles like “The Devil within Her” in the UK, “Diabolica” in Japan and its Italian title was originally Chi sei?, which translates into Who Are You? Beyond the Door was directed by prolific Italian producer Ovidio G. Assonitis who other notable films as a director include Laure, Tentacles and Madhouse. Some of the films that Ovidio G. Assonitis produced include Who Saw Her Die?, Man from Deep River and Piranha Part Two: The Spawning.
The plot for Beyond the Door revolves around a woman named Jessica Barrett who is forced to deal with demonic possession while the son of Satan is growing inside of her. One of the subplots involves a character named Dimitri whose motivations are never fully explained and his existence is ambiguous to say the least. Visually the San Francisco and Italian locations lend greatly to the films atmosphere. The specials effects scenes involving Jessica Barrett’s demonic possession are all extremely well done as they never come off looking cheap or tacky despite the films meager budget. The special effects for Beyond the Door were done by Wally Gentleman who also helped with the special effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Beyond the Door features an exceptional cast lead by actress Juliet Mills in the role of Jessica Barrett. Juliet Mills is the older sister of actress Hayley Mills (Twisted Nerve). Performance wise Juliet Mills is mesmerizing as she gives it her all in every scene. Cast in the role of Jessica Barrett’s husband Robert is an Italian actor named Gabriele Lavia who would go onto work with Dario Argento in two films Deep Red and Inferno. Another performance of note is Richard Johnson (Zombie, Big Alligator River). Overall all the cast are very good in their respective roles with no performance standing out as weak or forgettable.
The score for Beyond the Door was composed by Franco Micalizzi whose other notable scores include They Call Me Trinity…, Syndicate Sadists, Laure, Rome Armed to the Teeth, Violent Naples and The Cynic, the Rat & the Fist. Besides the films memorable score one most not overlook the films sound design which totally engulfs you as you watch the film. Even though there are many films not only from Italy but around the world that tried to rid on the coattails of The Exorcist. To lump in Beyond the Door with these other films is unfair since it is a tense and visually satisfying film about demonic possession that only has a few visual similarities to the aforementioned The Exorcist.
Code Red presents Beyond the Door in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This Progressive flagged transfer from Code Red looks flawless with vivid colors especially reds and razor sharp detail throughout.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio is free of any audio defects. The audio mix sounds evenly balanced and dialog is clear throughout.
Extras for this release include a T.V. spot for the film, an English language trailer for the film (2:14) and trailers for other Code Red titles Choke Canyon, The Unseen, The Visitor, Silent Scream and Sole Survivor. Also included with this release is an extensive image gallery that contains lobby cards, posters, stills, VHS box art and other promotional images. The image gallery plays like a featurette with music from the film playing in the background. Other extras for this release include an interview with Richard Johnson titled “An Englishman in Italy” (6:55) and a making of featurette titled “Beyond the Door: Thirty Five Years Later” (20:33) which includes interviews with Ovidio G. Assonitis, Juliette Mills, Richard Johnson and Alex Rebar. In the separate interview with Richard Johnson he discusses his work with Lucio Fulci, Sergio Martino and Damiano Damiani. He also talks about how he helped re-write the dialog for many of the Italian films that he worked on. The making of documentary features comments from Ovidio G. Assonitis about Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist‘s influence on his film. Juliette Mills and Richard Johnson recall how they got involved in the film and what is was like to work with director Ovidio G. Assonitis. Co-writer Alex Rebar briefly discusses his contributions to the screenplay. The main extras for this release are two audio commentaries. The first audio commentary is with actress Juliette Mills, producer of Hostel Scott Spiegel, film critic Darren Gross and this audio commentary is moderated by Lee Christian. This is another strong audio commentary from Code Red in which Juliette Mills does a superb job fielding the other three participants’ questions. The second audio commentary is with director Ovidio G. Assonitis, film critic Nathaniel Thompson and this audio commentary is moderated by Lee Christian. This audio commentary is the best extra on this release with Ovidio G. Assonitis filling every minute with wonderful and insightful stories about the film. Lee Christian does an spectacular job moderating both commentaries as he keeps things lively by asking interesting questions. Overall Beyond the Door gets a definitive DVD release from Code Red that stands out as one of their best DVD release to date, highly recommended.