Monday, May 3, 2010

Beyond the Door III [Amok Train] -1/5

The final film in the Beyond the Door trilogy, perhaps the strangest trilogy in the horror world. Why is that? Because each "sequel" wasn't originally supposed to be a sequel. They were made under different titles and later retitled sequels in various parts of the world. Here we have a film simply made as "The Train" but thanks to our marketing executives it was retitled "Beyond the Door III" in many areas including the U.S. I'm still puzzled why they retitled it to make it a Beyond the Door sequel. I mean did they really think a fake "franchise" that was over 10 years old at the time was going to be a good sale title? What's even more ironic is the U.S. DVD release has the alternate title Amok Train on the box art but the title card on the film still reads "Beyond the Door III". The title that was originally supposed to be what attracted people to the film is now a title that distributors seem embarrassed of and won't even put on the box art! Even Beyond the Door II got released with its alternate title Shock on DVD. Again to me it seems that today no one wants their film to be associated with the original Beyond the Door, despite that title being a selling point back in the day.

Okay enough with the title issues, let's move on and review Beyond the Door III. This film doesn't have a possessed baby or child like the fist films. this time we have a satanically possessed train. You read that right. A satanically possessed train. Ok, it sounds silly but a satanically possessed train sounds just interesting enough for me to give this film a shot. The film opens with some "college" students (who must all be non-trads as they all look much older than they are supposed to be) who get invited to go on a trip to Romania. They meet up with their professor (non-other than genre great Bo Svenson) who takes them to an ultra creepy village that happens to be occupied by Satanists. Not surprisingly the villagers want to kill the students and they flee catching a ride on a passing train. That's not enough to stop the Devil as the train then becomes possessed, decapitating the conductor and it starts killing off all our students one by one. This is all done because one of the students has an evil birthmark making her destined to become the Devil's bride.

The absolute most ludicrous moment is when a couple of the students jump off the train to escape and the train later jumps the tracks, moves along the swamp like a god damn car to run down the escapees and then jumps back on the tracks like it never happened. I am not making this up and it all happens in the film with perhaps the most god-awful miniatures ever to make it to celluloid this side of Japan.

Like a critical quote on the DVD box cover says, this film is "delightfully absurd." I couldn't have put it better. Despite the film being absolutely moronic with its plot, I have to say I had a great time with it. I even had a better time watching this than the original Beyond the Door. For one thing that film didn't have a satanically possessed train! The villagers in the beginning of the film were really creepy and I would have liked to see more of them (along with Bo Svensen whose role is far too small). Overall for people who like to seek out weird bizarre Euro Trash films that are actually entertaining, give this a shot. Don't be fooled by the awful DVD cover art making this look like some modern Sci Fi channel drek. Behind that cover is a golden turd waiting to be re-discovered by genre fans. Just print off a new cover featuring the original "Beyond the Door III" poster art and you will be good to go.
Written By Eric Reifschneider

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