<strong>Beyond the Door III</strong> (Jeff Kwitny, 1989)
<em>Beyond the Door III</em>, also released under its original title <em>Amok Train</em>, has as much to do with the first two <em>Beyond the Door</em> movies as <em>Zombie 5: Killing Birds</em> has to do with <em>Dawn of the Dead</em>... in other words, not a damn thing. What it <em>is</em>, and what gives it the rather limited appeal it has, is an attempt by two Americans, LA director Jeff Kwitny (<em>Lightning in a Bottle</em>) and Sheila Goldberg (who, perhaps not coincidentally, co-wrote the script for <em>Killing Birds</em> with director Claudio Lattanzi), to make a supernatural <em>giallo</em>. The end result doesn't work too well, but you've got to admire the gumption, no?
Plot: a college professor and some of her charges head off into the wilds of Eastern Europe for their comparative religion class (note: I'm extrapolating there, it could just as easily be an archeology class. Or sociology. Or calculus, in a particularly weird school.), where they hook up with ultra-creepy Professor Andromolek (<em>Walking Tall</em>'s Bo Svenson). Andromolek takes them even father from civilization, to a small village in the middle of nowhere where everyone bunks down for the night in preparation for some sort of ancient religious ritual the next day. Problem is, it's kind of like getting invited to dinner by cannibals; you never know if you're a guest or the main course. One of the students, Beverly <em>Mr. Baseball</em>'s Mary Kohnert), is a virgin, and the village folks are planning on sacrificing her to conjure up the devil. Where does the train come into all this, you ask? Some of the escaping students stumble upon a track and hop the train, which is full of all sorts of weirdos who make the villagers look positively friendly in comparison...
While this is certainly not deathless cinema, it's hard to deny its influence on things that have popped up since; the 2008 torture-porn flick <em>Train</em> seems to be almost a direct descendant of the second half of this movie, for example. And while it's full of the usual silliness one expects from bad low-budget cinema (awful acting, murky camerawork, fumbling direction, script full of plot holes, etc.), it's hard to deny the film is entertaining on some levels. Stupid, yes, but entertaining. If you're a fan of the Satanic-panic films of the eighties, this is going to be right up your alley, and were I you I would definitely check it out. The rest of you, maybe not so much unless you're familiar enough with movies like it to know what you're getting into. **