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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

IHW: Possession is 9/10th's THE HORROR - BEYOND THE DOOR III aka Amok Train

BUCKY SCHUYLER is an Admin at Horror Sci-fi and More, an outstanding page for horror fans who like to get into a wide variety of titles. You’ll be seeing more from Bucky and his cohort in crime, MOZZ during Italian Horror Week. This is Bucky’s first IHW, and we want to welcome him to the fold. In this installment into the Italian demonic horror subgenre, Bucky tackled Beyond the Door III aka Amok Train. From personal experience I can tell you that the kind of gonzo that goes on in this picture is pure over the top magic. Great for train horror fans who love to watch the laws of physics completely defied.

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My next review this week is a sequel in title only to a previous film I reviewed for this week. The film shares only the original film’s title but has nothing to do with it what-so-ever. Both of the sequels to Beyond The Door have completely different plots from its original Exorcist-style storyline. Example: part 2 is known as Shock while part 3 is known as Amok Train. The film I am reviewing is part 3, and I have to admit I have never seen this film til today and the reason being is I never really knew it existed til a few years ago and it fell onto my list to watch it but then again there are A LOT of movies on that list. So it’s actually good that James asked me to help out that I could finally break the plastic off this bad boy and view it.

Review and Discussion Contain Plot Spoilers.

Without knowing it, I found out that movie star Bo Svenson was in this film. Now Some of you may ask who is this man that I speak of? Well this man is no stranger to the horror-exploitation genre; in fact I will tell you that if you have ever been to an Exhumed Films 24 hour Horrorthon will remember a movie where the hint they gave us was this “film is a psycho-sexual slasher and left out the incestual nature of the film. That film was Night Warning aka Butch Baker Nightmare Maker. The rest of the cast from what I had to gather off IMdb have gone on to make a few movies after this while others had their careers stop at this movie and they just walked away.

Not in English

The movie is about a group of college students who travel to Europe (Yugoslavia is the actual country they travel to) to see a ritual performed. They meet up with their professor in the country and the professor is played by Bo Svenson. The ritual is a pagan one, and they soon learn that they are the ones who are being prepared for sacrifice and it becomes a struggle to escape the first attempt on their lives, as the huts they are sleeping in are set afire and the people stand outside clapping rocks together, now as each small group (easily 2 to a hut) fight to free themselves from the doors that have been nailed shut. Each group manages to free themselves but one who becomes possessed by something and remains in his bed while the flames engulf him and take his life. It’s clear that the scene didn't have great effects cause its OBVIOUS that the actor is replaced by a painted dummy to be set ablaze. Once some of them get free none of them bother to ask why or what happened. Now if it was me, the guy who was clapping rocks next to me would have felt my wrath and would have been clocked.

The film’s sub-title Amok Train finally shows up a half hour into the film and yes the train does exist because at first I was skeptical it wouldn't or perhaps we'd simply get a glimpse of a moving train. The group that makes it on the train pretty much are in for a helluva trip. The one guy who jumped off because one of the girls didn't make it manages to break his leg but can walk with the help of this girl. On the train we learn that apparently Beverly is being groomed for the devil himself and is not allowed to be harmed or killed but she is allowed to be mentally tormented. In fact we are shown glimpses of a blind hag and eventually a bald woman in white giving birth to what seems like a dragons head telling her she’s her mother. The train’s conductors are expendable. Apparently as they come across some of the track that’s on fire, a man walks through the fire distracting one of them. As the conductor gets off the train to see what’s going on, a scarf finds its way through some of the metal of the train and around this guy’s leg. Inside the cabin the other is forcefully grabbed and pulled into the trains furnace. Both conductors are killed; one pulled into the furnace and burned alive while the other is ran over and decapitated by the train as it moves on its own. The decapitation scene was great; a little far fetched but it was great for this film.

Meanwhile in the woods, the two who didn’t get on the train struggle and are dealing with cold weather and the elements. They are being followed by pagans I assume. They make a splint out of branches to help homeboys broken leg but they travel through it all to find a hut that’s made of branches and has no clear way of hiding anyone that’s trying to hide. It is clearly obvious it’s just fire wood holding this place together. Now this is where we leave them as the scene jumps back to the train, and we have to deal with feuding bitches and a chick who shows up to be known to us as the gypsy. They use maggots in a few scenes, a nod to Italian horror films. They tend to use maggots a lot in their horror films. Then the best visual effect of the film are of the girl tearing her face off after filling her boyfriend’s mouth with blood, worms and maggots.

Now trains aren't supposed to be able to travel through water or off track, but in this film this super train does just that. It goes off track and into a lake traveling at top speeds as it travels towards our two woodland friends. This scene is hilarious to me cause they did a slow motion scene to orchestral music and the fact that the actors are over acting the scene makes for a great laugh.

The train's evil begins killing off those left on the train one by one, cutting one in half when he attempts to unhook the passenger car from the train itself. This death scene is another great and gory sight chocked full of blood, guts and yes another decapitation. The other boy is killed when he becomes possessed by the train to act like an ass and hang from the door for no reason what-so-ever. He gets gored on a pole for it. Then the gypsy bites the dust when she tries to blow up the train but the evil of the train locks the door on her and she's left to the fate of the explosion. The train itself does take out another train and various trucks in its path of destruction. At this point a mystery man appears to Beverly on the train and does something to her that affects her later in the climax of the movie. Apparently the mystery man bangs her and takes her virginity (the devil needs her to be a virgin), and this causes a shit storm at the ritual causing the devil to explode in a flash and cheap fireworks display. For his negligence Bo is killed. Sad but it had to happen I guess. Also turns out our mystery man is a SAINT but still doesn't answer the taking of virginity part.

The film itself wasn't too bad, a little on the cheesy side. It’s obvious most of the train scenes are in fact shot in studio and are a toy train set at times. Bo Svenson is in the beginning and the end of it, so he only hams up the screen for like 20-30 minutes tops. After so many years of never seeing this film I can finally check it off and let it rest for another 10 years before I have to watch it again, or if by some unknown force I am sitting around and it comes on. I doubt this will ever find its way onto cable any time soon.


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