Friday, August 17, 2007

Revenge of the Dead and Beyond the Door double feature at the Egyptian

I was all stressed out and cracked-out-acting at the show as I wanted to go out afterwards to a club downtown. Fortunately the Egyptian is not prone to the lags that occur regularly at my beloved New Beverly Theater. When they said they were “behind schedule”, they were 3 minutes behind. Everything ended before midnight and that was with an unexpected appearance by Beyond the Door director Ovidio G. Assonitis who was in town from Italy to record a commentary for the Beyond the Door’s upcoming DVD release.

I have a Revenge of the Dead tape that I bought at Amoeba about five years ago and plowed through about half of. Amazingly I retained next to nothing of that movie and when seeing it on the big screen I only recognized the big abandoned building. The visuals are prettier on the big screen – I know I found the video version unattractive. The music rocks. Surprisingly the title card in the theatrical version read “Revenge of the Dead”, and not the original title, Zeder. This Pupi Avati movie was deliberately incorrectly market as a zombie film on tape and maybe in the theaters as well. At the screening, the sound cut-out for the last few minutes and through the closing credits. I though this was deliberate. No.

This movie is far from perfect and got scant applause from the theatergoers. It’s been available on DVD for some time, which surprises me as it seems like the type of movie that would fall through the cracks.

Assonitis spoke briefly saying that the Beyond the Door DVD should help found Beyond the Door III, which already exists (1989) and he should know, he produced it. I actually reviewed that strange film in this blog several years back. Of course Mario Bava’s Beyond the Door II (1977) is the best of the series, but it really is completely unrelated.

Beyond the Door was unsuccessfully sued by Warner Brothers for visual copyright infringement. Assonitis said there is no such infringement, but The Exorcist is clearly copied. That’s too bad because the movie would stand on it’s own without the rip-offs, but I guess that is what audiences wanted to see – and did see. The host stated that pretty much anyone over 35 in the theater had probably seen this movie and a guy in one of the floor seat said “it was a huge hit”. I don’t know.

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The story is awesome and fairly original, even different from Rosemary’s Baby, which Assonitis cited as an influence. It was a very satisfying movie to see in the theaters.

Asked about the state of horror in Italy, Assonitis said it was “horrific”. It seemed like he was going to leave it at that, but then he said that Argento makes a movie every once in a while.

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