Beyond the Door III Film Details
Overview: An introverted American student of Balkan descent travels to Yugoslavia as part of a school trip to witness an ancient pagan ritual, but the pagans hide a deadly secret.
Review: I can’t say that I’m surprised by the unpopularity of this film, but I think “Amok Train” is lots of fun and though a lot of people may disagree, I actually think it has a few genuinely eerie moments and it is worth watching. It should be mentioned, though, that the story has absolutely nothing to do with “Beyond the Door” (1974). In “Amok Train”, a group of American “teenagers” go on a school trip to a rural town in Serbia called Ufir, to witness an ancient ritual. Our main character in this story is one of these high-schoolers, a mousy girl named Beverly Putnic, who is of Serbian ancestry. One would expect her to be happy about visiting her ancestors’ lands, but, in reality, she’s not. You see, Beverly doesn’t get along with her class mates, who constantly pick on her for being shy and because of the fact that she’s still a virgin. Unbeknownst to all the young students, including Beverly herself, this trip to Serbia is actually all about her, because many years ago, a cult of Serbian satanists chose her to become the Devil’s wife and now that she has a grown into a young woman, she is ready to meet her future husband. Though it is never explicitly revealed how this trip was organized, judging by the sinister look on the teacher’s face, one could easily assume that she is in cahoots with the group of Serbian satanists, but I digress… When the class mates arrive to Ufir, they are welcomed by a local man, known as Professor Andromolek, who is also the cult leader (which is evident, since he uses a silver cane, a black cape, and he has a Satan-like goatee). On the first night, when the class mates go to sleep to some cabins located in the middle of the woods, two locals (and cult members) set the cabins on fire, which results in the death of one of the students. The remaining ones manage to escape and ask the locals for help, only to receive hostile looks and indifference from them (no surprise, since they are all cult members). Sensing that there’s something very wrong in Ufir, the youngsters escape the rural town, by jumping into a moving train, where all hell breaks loose. I may be a part of a really, really small crowd here, but I actually like this film and not in a patronizing way. Sure, there are a lot of ridiculous parts, but I actually think director Jeff Kwitny builds up a very eerie atmosphere, by taking advantage of the Serbian landscapes, making them look frightening and intimidating (though also darkly appealing). The elderly actors who play the cult members look very threatening with their zombie-like attitude, their black clothes, the sinister look in their eyes and the fact that they always appear out of nowhere from the trees, giving the impression that they’re all together up to something horrible. The death scenes are very creative; some of them look ridiculous due the lack of budget or maybe the lack of common sense, but overall, I found the deaths to be very original and enjoyable. The characters are rather generic and one dimensional, but most of us who watch these types of b-horror productions don’t even care about that, anyway. We have the shy and innocent girl, the handsome athlete, the nice guy, the dumb one, the beautiful, popular girl and the list goes on. Slovenian actress Savina Gersak appears to have fun playing one of the most enjoyable characters, a young thug named Sava, who joins the generic high-schoolers in their ill-fated train ride. Sava is not only a tough girl, she is also a thief and she refers to herself in the third person too! (“Don’t mess with Sava”, “Sava is a thief, not a murderer!”). Aside from Gersak, the acting is mostly plain, except, of course, for Swedish actor Bo Svenson and Argentinian actress Victoria Zinny, who only appears for a few minutes, anyway. It is obvious that the rest of the actors didn’t have a lot of acting experience and that’s forgivable, because they get the job done, anyway. The film reaches its peak during the well awaited ritual, in which Beverly is offered to the Devil as his bride. By this point, it seems like poor Beverly is somehow willing to accept her destiny, and she even looks eager to finally meet her future hubby… or is she? I don’t want to spoil the whole scene but I will say only one thing: we actually get to see the Devil for a brief moment and it’s not bad at all! I have seen my decent share of b-horror movies from the 80s to say that the Devil’s appearance actually looks surprisingly decent. I think it would have been better to keep him off-screen to make him more mysterious and intimidating, but apparently, director Jeff Kwitny didn’t feel the same way and he took the risk of showing him. The whole ritual scene is over the top and bizarre, so there’s no disappointment there, since it provides a combination of shock and unintended hilarity (seriously, what more can we ask for at this point?) “Amok Train” deals with the premise of being stranded in a foreign land, where nobody can understand or help the characters, which is a trope that I tend to enjoy. There are several scenes where we only see the Serbian actors talking to each other and there are no subtitles, which alienates the audience too. I think the whole idea of being lost and helpless in a foreign country is terrifying, especially if the place is half as scary like the fictional town of Ufir that we see in this film. “Amok Train” is definitely a fun ride and anyone who can appreciate b-horror movies from the 80s should be able to enjoy this film. I know I was pleasantly surprised myself.
Country: Italy, Yugoslavia
Language: English, Serbo-Croatian
Duration: 94 min
Also known as: За дверью 3,Il treno,Death Train,Dark Train,Beyond the Door III,Más allá de la puerta III,Detrás de la puerta (Beyond the door III),Winds of Evil,The Train,Uma Virgem Para Luciffer,Amok Train – Fahrt ins Nichts,ザ・トレイン,Amok Train,Evil Train