7 Doors of Death – A Screen 13 Time Travel with the US Edit of Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond (Part One)
7 Doors of Death was the US release of Lucio Fulci’s Gothic Horror The Beyond Distributed through Aquarius that was edited for an R rating (which was the 100 percent way to get the ads in the newspapers) and was one of the last of it’s gutsy Independently-released/Sub-Distributor-dependent kind to play a wide range of theaters through 1984-5 in a time when the letters V, H, and S were more attractive to the genre fan and the screens willing or wanting to play this stuff were lesser in number. Although not as exciting as the real edit, American fans of the Italian Splatter scene at least had a reason to crawl out of their rooms of videos to catch a film on the big screen, socialize, and complain about how the edits and different music score ruined their experience if they were in the know. In an era that was gearing up for 1985’s Teen Flick mania, Mall flick madness, endless sequels, and movies to sell soundtracks with some cool diversions now and then (Film Concept Group had a few tricks up their sleeves and better Distribution), it seemed that when you were lucky to be in an area where these movies were playing before you had to go to that just-opened video store that needed to fill shelves with all kinds of crazy flicks to get your kicks.
12-7-83, Wilmington, Delaware
1-20-84, West Palm Beach, Florida
This version was listed as being Directed by Louis Fuller due to a common practice to make the names sound more American, but of course fans were not fooled by this time thanks to fans knowing more about the films through fanzines and specialist magazines. To add to the pain, the US Soundtrack to the film was clearly a pale shadow of the masterful score…
Anniston, Alabama, 3-16-84
Jackson, Mississippi, 3-9-84 – As you can tell, these movies had a good chance to play in The South after appearing in New York more than anywhere else in The US mainly due to the market and the fact that there were more B-Level theaters hanging in there and Drive Ins still open. By 1984, many DIs in The North were shutting up for the Winter, playing second-third run hits, or even older flicks (The Wayne in Detroit had a habit of showing tease – In Feb. 1984, it was showing the 1974-released Young Seducers!)
It reportedly played LA in Late April, 1984 – more when I get the full introamtion.
10-19-84, St. Louis
When Thriller Video released 7 Doors of Death in a very attractive box that should have won an award, it was game over for this film at the theater. Sadly, it was the edited version, and we had to wait until Grindhouse Releasing unleashed the real deal. Still, even with a watered-down version, those looking for Horror beyond the growing sequels and Mall-accepted hits at the theater had some luck…
Sadly, this did not play the Metro Detroit area, for whatever reason, at least from what I know, but it caught a Toledo showing at the Butch Cassidy, known for staring and ending it’s seasons with the good stuff until it’s closing in 1988. The Thriller Video might have been great to find at the Video Connection, there might have been more of a special feeling seeing this at the DI with two acclaimed films.
According to the excellent VHS Collector website, the video was unleashed in 1986 while the tape in The UK fell victim to the Video Nasty scare. Thankfully, the world can see this in it’s true form!