Monday, October 30, 2017


Beyond the Seventh Door (1987) d. Benedikt, Bozidar (Canada) (1st viewing) 83 min

Upon learning that her boss is a certain moneyed Lord Breston (Gary Freedman), recently released thief Boris (Lazar Rockwood) hits upon the idea of having his ex-girlfriend Wendy (Bonnie Beck) get him into the mansion to make a quick buck. But Breston has taken more than a few precautions, having designed an elaborate series of puzzle traps that the unsuspecting duo must navigate – before long it becomes a question not whether they will escape with the loot ... but rather with their lives.

According to the Severin website, “Beyond the Seventh Door remains one of the most ambitious, sought-after and totally bizarre low-budget Canadian features of all.” The Yugoslavian-born Rockwood – making his debut in what would prove to be a shockingly prolific screen career – is the main attraction, grinding out his lines in mangled English, emoting like an alien imitating human behavior, and sporting an mullet hairstyle that must have been the envy of many a gold-chain-wearing ’80s player.

Beck, by comparison, comes off as exceedingly capable, saddled with being the requisite eye-candy wearing thigh-high stockings and a fancy cocktail dress that decreases dramatically in substance as the minutes tick by.

Considering its low budget and limited locations (presumably a collection of found basements and shabbily assembled sets), the premise – which predates Cube and Saw in both themes and setting – delivers more imagination and tension than one might suspect. There’s no doubt that watching the car crash that is Rockwood’s thesping provides a goodly portion of the film’s watchability factor, but even once that novelty wears off, the viewer finds him/herself surprisingly invested in the unfortunate duo’s outcome.

Writer/director (and future best-selling “religious thriller” author) B.D. Benedikt proves as interesting as his onscreen muse Rockwood in the audio commentary shared with and Rue Morgue contributor Paul Corupe. There’s also a 30-minute collection of interviews with all three called “Beyond Beyond the Seventh Door,” just to see Rockwood’s mullet is still thriving even if hanging a limper these days. (But, hey, aren’t all of us.) There’s also a fun featurette on “The King of Cayenne: An Appreciation of Legendary Toronto Eccentric Ben Kerr,” celebrating the “actor” playing a dead body in one of the showcase trap scenes. How’s THAT for a special feature???

Beyond the Seventh Door is available now on DVD from Severin Films and can be ordered HERE:


No comments:

Post a Comment