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  Beyond the Doors Rock Around The Schlock
Year: 1984
Director: Larry Buchanan
Stars: Gregory Allen Chatman, Riba Meryl, Bryan Wolf, Steven Tice, David DeShay, Phyllis Durant, Les Hatfield, Harold Wayne Jones, Susanne Barnes, Richard Kennedy, Gary Sager, Karen-Mayo Chandler, Sandy Kenyon, Jennifer Wilde, Toni Sawyer, Stuart Lancaster
Genre: Trash, Biopic, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  2 (from 1 vote)
Review: The present day, and retired C.I.A. agent Alex Stanley (Sandy Kenyon) is out hunting when one of his fellow shooters turns a gun on him - with both barrels! His family think it is an accident, though what is actually going on is the final cover up in a top secret plot to destroy rock 'n' roll that had been instigated in the nineteen-sixties by the secret service and President Richard Nixon himself. As Stanley's son sifts through the papers he has found in a hidden briefcase after two government men visited his widowed mother and confiscated a bunch of files, he begins to piece together the whole conspiracy...

Larry Buchanan was perhaps notorious among bad movie buffs for his dedication to his chosen field through decades of service; he gave the movies the best years of his life and what did he have to show for it? Well, he had a few movies of his own to boast about, but on the other hand he had a ton of terrible reviews and a reputation for being one of the worst directors of all time, and it was efforts such as Beyond the Doors which landed him that judgement. Not that this was much seen when it was first released under the title Down on Us, but after a home video relaunching with a new name to cash in on Oliver Stone's Doors biopic, it did manage to surprise the unwary.

Or more likely bore the unwary, so in that way it could have claimed to have something in common with the Stone film. But even Oliver had better choices in his casting, as here we were to suffer through the amateurish tribute act stylings of three nobodies who failed to make much of an impact in showbiz after this - or even during this. They got the clothes right, the hair was almost correct, but with Jimi Hendrix looking like Ted Lange from The Love Boat in fancy dress and Jim Morrison way off with his vocals, sounding as if he'd rather be fronting a hair metal act, the results were not a happy experience for the audience. As for the other member of the trio Buchanan settled on, Janis Joplin was probably the most accurate, except for the main thing.

The main thing being that you might have expected the music at least to be one of the brighter points, except that they couldn't get the rights to all those famous songs, and therefore made some up of their own. These ditties bear a passing resemblence to the kind of material that you might associate with the stars, but nobody was going to mistake them for the real thing, and with the concert performances returned to again and again at punishing length, you don't half get sick of hearing what amounts to eighties soft rock trying to sound like Jimi, Janis and The Doors. It doesn't help that wherever in the world they're doing their stuff, the stage is patently the same every time, with an audience of about thirty people to boot.

Even Hendrix's appearance at Woodstock takes place on that cramped stage, which should give you some idea of the authenticity of the movie. So if we cannot believe what we are seeing as far as the tunes go, you can imagine that the parapolitics behind the supposed murder of these iconic figures is going to be on shaky ground. The fact that we see the famed trio getting smashed every night with drink and drugs does not exactly make it look as if the U.S. government needed to assassinate them as the stars were doing that very well themselves. According to this, they bumped into each other all the time, with Janis sharing some drugs with Jimi, and hitting Jim over the head with a bottle at one point. As the whole film seems to have been shot mainly on one constantly redressed set, concert parts excepted, this grows seriously monotonous, not only to look at but to listen to as well, and about two hours of a laughably false story that could have been summed up in two minutes is two hours too much. Grudgingly, you have to admire Buchanan's chutzpah.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Larry Buchanan  (1923 - 2004)

American director who gained a reputation as one of the worst of all time, a feat he was not unproud of. This infamy rests on various TV movies he made in the sixties such as Zontar The Thing from Venus, Mars Needs Women and In the Year 2889. Theatrical films included Free White and 21 (which got his career started with A.I.P.), The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald, Bullet for a Pretty Boy, Goodbye Norma Jean, The Loch Ness Horror and rock conspiracy movie Beyond the Doors.

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