Beyond the Door (1974)

Viewed January 3rd

Juliet Mills gives birth to the anti-Christ in this Italian cult film.

Beyond the Door is inspired by some serious & scary films: Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist. And its sheer giallo craziness, references to Satan, and willingness to do whatever may have freaked out viewers upon its release, but now, more than forty years later, it plays more as a wild parody, something along the lines of The Scary Movie series of films from the 2000s. The difference is that the humor in the Wayans Brothers' Scary Movie series is achieved through jokes and punchlines, while the humor of Beyond the Door is achieved through exaggeration and acid-drenched, Euro-artsy absurdity. It's funny in the way that camp is funny, by pushing conventions so far into the grotesque that they re-emerge on the other side and you have to laugh. But it's a dark, unwholesome laugh.

The film's freak outs become repetitive, and its story is a little too underdeveloped even for a movie like this, but it's a legit crowd pleaser (the shot where she kisses her son on his lips! Eating the banana peel!) and it functions as an interesting document of its time: Violence and evil were becoming less shocking in comparison to the real world horror of 1974 so perhaps a jet black, drugged out parody of violence and evil made more sense.