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Beyond the Door III Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Vinegar Syndrome

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Directed by Jeff Kwitny
Written by Sheila Goldberg
1989, 94 minutes, Unrated
Released on October 29th, 2019

Starring:
Mary Kohnert as Beverly Putnic
Bo Svenson as Prof. Andromolek
Sarah Conway Ciminera as Christie
Willian Geiger as Kevin
Renee Rancourt as Melanie
Alex Vitale as Angel

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Review:

A small group of American high school students take a class trip to Belgrade, Serbia, to experience the rich history and culture. Beverly, a bit of a misfit, agrees to join them to see her parents’ homeland. Upon arrival, it doesn’t take long for the kids to run afoul of the local villagers and find themselves running for their lives. They manage to hop onto a passing train and make good their escape. As it turns out, this was a poor decision, as the train in question is possessed by Lucifer, who is planning his own vacation on earth!

Ovidio G. Assonitis (Piranha II: The Spawning) made a name for himself in the 1980s producing horror and exploitation pictures. He’s had some pretty far out ideas and many of his films feel like dreams or nightmares. One of his earlier successes was Beyond the Door (1974), about a pregnant woman carrying the spawn of Satan. Shock (aka Beyond the Door II), a sequel in name only, arrived three years later. Jumping ahead a decade, audiences were treated to Amok Train (1989), which was later retitled Beyond the Door III to cash in on the previous pictures’ success. The movies in this franchise have nothing in common except the supernatural, so if you fear you will be lost jumping in with part three, there’s no need to worry.

This is one of those weird combination flicks that’s a cross of two previously successful pictures; in this case think The Omen meets Runaway Train. Written by Sheila Goldberg (Body Count), the script is full of ideas, many of which don’t really gel, but contains plenty of gruesome moments. Director Jeff Kwitny (Iced) helms this often surreal tale that pits a bunch of snotty American teens against the Prince of Darkness. Beyond the Door III is another example of the Innocents Abroad subgenre like Beyond Evil and An American Werewolf in London, where bad things happen to good people who travel outside their circle.

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Mary Kohnert (Big Man on Campus) stars as Beverly, the shy co-ed courted to be the devil’s bride. We don’t get to know much about her, but we spend the most time with her and she seems nice enough to be our Final Girl. Lending the picture some international marquee appeal is Bo Svenson (Walking Tall Part II), who collects a check as the nefarious Professor Andromolek. His Serbian accent is respectable and he scowls a lot, but disappears for the majority of the picture. Acclaimed actress Victoria Zinny (The Tunnel) puts in a brief appearance as Beverly’s mother and the lovely Savina Gersak (Sonny Boy) plays the tough-as-nails rebel, Sava.

The reason to spend time with this movie is to enjoy the over-the-top gory murder set-pieces. The supernatural kills find people being impaled by large objects, getting their faces ripped off and being torn in half by evil forces. When released in the United States, all of these highlights were cut out by the MPAA censors, leaving only a few frames intact, resulting in something of a subliminal suggestion of payoff. Adding further insult, the domestic video release features a full-frame pan & scan transfer that destroys the widescreen composition. Import Laser Discs corrected these offenses with a proper aspect ratio and uncut gore, but did not include English subtitles for the scenes featuring Serbian dialogue. This Blu-ray restores the picture to its original luster and is unrated giving audiences all of the thrills previously denied.

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Video and Audio:

The 35mm camera negative has been scanned in 4K and restored to unexpectedly beautiful results. The original widescreen (2.35:1) aspect ratio has never looked better and is full of deeply saturated colors – especially the blood reds.

A DTS-HD MA 2.0 track delivers the goods with crystal clear dialogue and powerful music and sound effects cues.

Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

Director Jeff Kwitny reflects on the production in the new interview segment Running Amok (40 minutes). He shares stories about working with producer Ovidio G. Assonitis and the advice he received from fellow filmmaker James Cameron. He goes on to discuss the challenges of working with an international crew of Americans, Italians and Serbians. Other topics include his thoughts on casting, shooting on location and on a train.

In A Long Walk to Yugoslavia (22 minutes), actor Bo Svenson lives up to his reputation as a square shooter and excellent storyteller. He has fond memories of working with Assonitis and admits to doing the film as a payday, but insists it was a fun shoot.

Cinematographer Adolfo Bartoli (Trancers II) sits down for an untitled interview (7 minutes) and candidly remembers working with the producer, designing the look of the picture and working with an international cast and crew.

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Grades:

Movie: Twoandahalfstars Beyond The Door Iii Small
Buy Amazon Us
Beyond The Door Iii Small
Buy Vinegar Syndrome
Video: Fivestars
Audio: Threeandahalfstars
Features: Threestars
Overall: Threeandahalfstars

About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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