Beyond the Door (1975)

R | 100 mins | Horror | 2 May 1975

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HISTORY

End credits include the following statement: "The interiors were filmed at De Paolis Studios, Rome, Italy. The exteriors in San Francisco, U.S.A."
       Producer-director Ovidio Assonitis is credited as “O. Hellman” onscreen, which stood for "Oliver Hellman"; however, according to a 10 Sep 1975 Var article, Assonitis revealed his full involvement in the picture after it became a box-office success in Italy, grossing $3 million.
       Principal photography took place in San Francisco, CA, as stated in Var and the 10 Feb 1975 Box. The 6 Aug 1975 Var review mentioned that filming also took place in Rome, Italy, where interiors were shot.
       The picture first opened in Italy under the title Chi Sei? For U. S. distribution, American International Pictures (AIP) had the “first option” but turned down Beyond the Door, as did other major distributors. Assonitis eventually made a deal with Atlanta, GA-based Film Ventures International.
       According to advertisements in the 27 Jan 1975 and 7 Apr 1975 Box, a sneak preview was held in Dallas, TX, on 29 Jan 1975, and the U. S. premiere was set for 2 May 1975 in Houston, TX. The film was also set to open May 1975 in Kansas City, KS; Austin, TX; St. Paul, MN; Minneapolis, MN; Cincinatti, OH; Tulsa, OK; and Louisville, KY. A 19 Jan 1977 HR brief later reported that Film Ventures planned to reissue Beyond the Door on 1 Feb 1977 in major U. S. cities with a new advertising campaign.
       According to an 18 Nov 1976 DV article, the picture had taken in $5.6 ... More Less

End credits include the following statement: "The interiors were filmed at De Paolis Studios, Rome, Italy. The exteriors in San Francisco, U.S.A."
       Producer-director Ovidio Assonitis is credited as “O. Hellman” onscreen, which stood for "Oliver Hellman"; however, according to a 10 Sep 1975 Var article, Assonitis revealed his full involvement in the picture after it became a box-office success in Italy, grossing $3 million.
       Principal photography took place in San Francisco, CA, as stated in Var and the 10 Feb 1975 Box. The 6 Aug 1975 Var review mentioned that filming also took place in Rome, Italy, where interiors were shot.
       The picture first opened in Italy under the title Chi Sei? For U. S. distribution, American International Pictures (AIP) had the “first option” but turned down Beyond the Door, as did other major distributors. Assonitis eventually made a deal with Atlanta, GA-based Film Ventures International.
       According to advertisements in the 27 Jan 1975 and 7 Apr 1975 Box, a sneak preview was held in Dallas, TX, on 29 Jan 1975, and the U. S. premiere was set for 2 May 1975 in Houston, TX. The film was also set to open May 1975 in Kansas City, KS; Austin, TX; St. Paul, MN; Minneapolis, MN; Cincinatti, OH; Tulsa, OK; and Louisville, KY. A 19 Jan 1977 HR brief later reported that Film Ventures planned to reissue Beyond the Door on 1 Feb 1977 in major U. S. cities with a new advertising campaign.
       According to an 18 Nov 1976 DV article, the picture had taken in $5.6 million in film rentals, to date.
       Critical reception was largely negative, with the 6 Aug 1975 Var, 24 Jul 1975 NYT, and 22 Aug 1975 LAT reviews all criticizing the film as a cheap reproduction of The Exorcist (1973, see entry). Also taking notice of the similarities between the two films, Warner Bros. sought an injunction against Beyond the Door, claiming that it infringed on the copyright of The Exorcist (1973, see entry), according to a 14 Oct 1975 DV news item. Although a U. S. District Court judge denied the injunction, Film Ventures was forced to discontinue its current advertising campaign. A 23 Jan 1979 HR news item reported that a settlement had been made in the ongoing legal battle between Warner Bros. and Assonitis’s production company, A. Erre Cinematografia, which was forced to pay “a substantial sum of money” and a “substantial portion of its future revenue from Beyond the Door ” to Warner Bros. A. Erre stated that the settlement was made to put an end to the litigation, but the company admitted no wrongdoing.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Jan 1975.
---
Box Office
10 Feb 1975.
---
Box Office
7 Apr 1975.
---
Box Office
30 Jun 1975
p. 4791.
Daily Variety
5 Aug 1975.
---
Daily Variety
14 Oct 1975.
---
Daily Variety
18 Nov 1976
p. 1, 12.
Films & Filming
Feb 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jan 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jan 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 Aug 1975
p. 20.
New York Times
24 Jul 1975
p. 17.
Variety
6 Aug 1975
p. 16.
Variety
10 Sep 1975
p. 5, 85.
Variety
23 Feb 1977
p. 31.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Prod mgr for the scenes shot in U.S.A.
Prod mgr for the scenes shot in Italy
Asst dir 2d unit
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
With the collaboration of
With the collaboration of
With the collaboration of
With the collaboration of
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Stills photog
Chief elec
Chief grip
ART DIRECTORS
Asst to art dirs
Asst to art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
MUSIC
Mus comp
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Dubbing mixer
Dubbing mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Supv by
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup asst
PRODUCTION MISC
Continuity
Prod accountant
Prod asst
Prod asst
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
"Bargain With The Devil," composed by Franco Micalizzi, lyrics by Sid Wayne, sung by Warren Wilson, produced by Danny Weiss.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Devil Within Her
Chi Sei?
Release Date:
2 May 1975
Premiere Information:
Houston, TX, opening: 2 May 1975
New York opening: 23 July 1975
Los Angeles opening: 20 August 1975
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
Duration(in mins):
100
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Italy, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Dressed in a white gown, Jessica Barrett watches a young woman writhe on a table during a religious ceremony, the girl’s face morphing into that of a bearded man. Dimitri, another onlooker, tries to comfort Jessica, but she runs away. Later, while driving along a coastal road, Dimitri hears the voice of the devil, reprimanding him for letting Jessica go. Swerving to avoid a bus, Dimitri crashes and goes over a cliff, but the devil grants him more time on Earth if he finds Jessica and helps her deliver an evil spawn. Sometime later, Jessica runs errands then picks up her husband, Robert, a music producer who has been recording his latest song, “Bargain With The Devil.” As their two young children, Gail and Ken, banter in the backseat, Robert remarks that they might need a psychologist, noting Ken’s constant need to drink pea soup from a can and Gail’s insistence on carrying several copies of Erich Segal’s adult romance novel, Love Story. That afternoon, while decorating their house for Ken’s birthday party, Jessica tells Robert she is pregnant. They are both baffled, as Jessica has been taking birth control pills, and when Robert finds her vomiting blood in the bathroom, Jessica confesses she does not want the baby. As Robert leaves the room, Jessica sees Dimitri’s face in the mirror and hears the devil’s laughter. Jessica goes to see the family doctor, George, who claims that she has been pregnant for three months. In disbelief, Jessica states that her last menstrual period was seven weeks ago and worries her baby will be abnormal. Back at home, she opens ... +


Dressed in a white gown, Jessica Barrett watches a young woman writhe on a table during a religious ceremony, the girl’s face morphing into that of a bearded man. Dimitri, another onlooker, tries to comfort Jessica, but she runs away. Later, while driving along a coastal road, Dimitri hears the voice of the devil, reprimanding him for letting Jessica go. Swerving to avoid a bus, Dimitri crashes and goes over a cliff, but the devil grants him more time on Earth if he finds Jessica and helps her deliver an evil spawn. Sometime later, Jessica runs errands then picks up her husband, Robert, a music producer who has been recording his latest song, “Bargain With The Devil.” As their two young children, Gail and Ken, banter in the backseat, Robert remarks that they might need a psychologist, noting Ken’s constant need to drink pea soup from a can and Gail’s insistence on carrying several copies of Erich Segal’s adult romance novel, Love Story. That afternoon, while decorating their house for Ken’s birthday party, Jessica tells Robert she is pregnant. They are both baffled, as Jessica has been taking birth control pills, and when Robert finds her vomiting blood in the bathroom, Jessica confesses she does not want the baby. As Robert leaves the room, Jessica sees Dimitri’s face in the mirror and hears the devil’s laughter. Jessica goes to see the family doctor, George, who claims that she has been pregnant for three months. In disbelief, Jessica states that her last menstrual period was seven weeks ago and worries her baby will be abnormal. Back at home, she opens mail and finds a picture of herself and Dimitri inside one of the letters. Disturbed, she hurls an ashtray at Robert’s beloved fish tank, which breaks and floods the living room. That night, Jessica and Robert’s bed sheets mysteriously move off of their bodies, and Ken watches from the hallway as Jessica levitates and floats out of the room. Later, she returns to the apartment with wet hair but will not tell Robert where she went. The next day, Robert lunches with the doctor, George, at his music studio and notices Dimitri watching them. George informs Robert that Jessica’s fetus is a biological absurdity, as its development is proceeding at an unprecedented rate of growth. George suggests that Jessica spend the day with his wife, Barbara, who might be able to glean helpful information from her. The two women spend the day together, and Jessica reveals that she has recently felt estranged from Robert and sometimes senses that her subconscious is being taken over by an unknown force. That night, Ken wakes up crying and Robert comes to his aid, finding a strange bruise on his chest. Although the boy has a fever, George thinks he will be fine but encourages Jessica to feed him more. Gail jokes that their mother starves Ken, and Jessica silences her with a slap across the face. Back at George's office, Jessica tells the doctor she wants an abortion, and he assures her they will abort the baby if it is deemed a hazard to Jessica’s physical or mental health. Jessica immediately rescinds her statement and says she will kill anyone who tries to abort her child. At home, Ken commands an imaginary friend to rock in a rocking chair, and the chair moves on its own. Retrieving food from the kitchen, Gail returns to the bedroom with a plate of custard, but the custard levitates and smashes into the ceiling. The children’s dolls make noise, their eyes glowing, and the room suddenly shakes. Rushing to alert Jessica, Gail finds her mother smiling wickedly in her bed, and watches in horror as Jessica’s head rotates backward. The next day, Robert is almost hit by a truck as he crosses the street, but Dimitri saves him. Robert recognizes Dimitri as the man who has been spying on him, but Dimitri promises he has come to offer help. He gives Robert two instructions: Jessica must not leave the house and her pregnancy must not be thwarted. Later that night, George is sitting by Jessica’s bedside when she wakes up and growls in the devil’s voice, ordering George to identify himself. Jessica’s regular voice returns as she begs for the doctor’s help, but the devil’s voice takes over again and her eyeballs turn yellow. She spews vomit, throws it at George, and demands to see Dimitri. In the morning, Barbara helps Gail and Ken pack and takes the children home with her. Although George suggests Jessica should be admitted to a hospital, Robert says she must stay in the house. Robert reveals his conversation with Dimitri and explains that Dimitri was Jessica’s lover before Robert. George agrees to let Jessica stay for one more day, as long as Robert promises to watch her. After George leaves, Dimitri arrives and asks to be left alone with Jessica, warning Robert that she will die if she is taken to the hospital. Dimitri convinces Robert to leave the apartment for a while, during which time he restrains Jessica in a straitjacket. George is brought back to perform more tests, but when he affixes wires to Jessica’s head to read her brain waves, they are flat. Jessica laughs, her voice alternating between that of a small child and the devil as she threatens to kill both Robert and George. In the middle of the night, Robert tends to Jessica, who begs him to untie her; however, when he removes the straitjacket, she attacks him and sends him crashing into the walls and ceiling. An invisible force strangles Robert as Jessica levitates and spins above her bed. Dimitri assures Robert that the evil spirits will leave after Jessica gives birth. Dimitri reveals his plan to steal the child and take it into the light of day before the devil can bring it into the realms of darkness. The next day, George finds one of Dimitri’s acquaintances on a houseboat, and she recalls that Dimitri was a very powerful man, who cured people of mysterious illnesses before he died himself. George reveals that he has just seen Dimitri, and the woman is not surprised that he could have returned to life. Back at the house, Jessica barks at Dimitri in the devil’s voice, ordering him to deliver the child from her womb. However, when he approaches, she laughs and says the devil never planned to save Dimitri from eternal damnation. When George returns to the house, he finds Jessica resting peacefully while her baby lies dead on the floor. Sometime later, Jessica rides a ferryboat with Robert, Gail and Ken. Opening a wrapped gift, Ken finds a red toy car that resembles the one Dimitri drove over the cliff. As the child throws it into the ocean, Dimitri’s car crashes once again. Ken’s eyes glow and a wicked smile spreads across his face. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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