Beyond Dream's Door Reviews
FIRST FEATURE WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY JAY WOELFEL
"Beyond Dreams Door sits alongside Re-Animator as one of the classics of 80s Lovecraft inspired cinema..."
AN IMPRESSIVE DIRECTING DEBUT.
Woelfel manages to skillfully deliver chills with uncoventionally brooding and atmospheric images. Much of the effectiveness is that Woelfel never forgets his characters are human, and he never lets us forget it as well. This is almost certainly the most auspicious debut since Sam Raimi's. One can only hope that Woelfel gets further opportunities to display his talent.
THREE STARS. JOE BOB SAYS CHECK IT OUT.
BEYOND DREAM'S DOOR is one of the strangest movies I've seen. I've seen Yvonne DeCarlo eating human toes, so this is a very high compliment. I've watched it twice. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Jay Woelfel, for writing, directing, composing the music, and making the first movie about killer zombies in purgatory trying to get revenge on people who don't remember their dreams like they're supposed to. I think.
(JOHN BLOOM, CREATORS SYNDICATE)
A ROLLERCOASTER RIDE NOT SOON FORGOTTEN.
A fascinating premise. From a screenplay point of view, this movie is fantastic. If Stuart Gordon or Wes Craven could make movies like this, we would never grow back our fingernails. BEYOND DREAM'S DOOR goes way beyond all current horror and boldly attempts to terrify us. Give Jay Woelfel some cash, and I guarantee he will scare the hell out of you...a small gem. Friends, you're in for a real treat.
(TEMPLE OF SHOCK MAGAZINE)
AMBITIOUS, THOUGHTFUL, WELL-PRODUCED surreal dream/demon flick with a surprisingly literate script and stirring original music.
(CHAS BALUN - DEEP RED MAGAZINE)
A WELL CRAFTED, thought provoking and chilling journey - it is a nightmare worth remembering!
(HORROR FAN MAGAZINE)
*** EFFECTIVE LOW BUDGETER.
Clever editing keeps the effects at a minimum and powerful camera angles suggest more than is there. Written-directed by Jay Woelfel (who also wrote the score.) Above Average.
(CREATURE FEATURES MOVIE GUIDE)
BEYOND DREAM'S DOOR creates an ominous dreamscape that is sinister and startling. Very different from the onslaught of dream/horror films made popular by Freddy.
Some of the best nightmare images are a light bulb exploding in slow motion, a balloon filled with blood and a janitor with no hands who says "Shake." The score is somber and menacing for this interesting movie. I think Woelfel could work wonders with a little bigger budget.
2 1/2 STARS.
BDD unravels its nightmares-within-nightmares scenario with admirable earnestness and considerable imagination, often succeeding in creating a legitimately disturbing ambience.
(PHANTOM'S VIDEO GUIDE)
This film succeeds on one level of frightening the viewer with obviously terrifying images. However the film also conveys a sense of uneasiness on a Freudian level as well, by appealing to the "uncanny." This philosophy proved workable on film since the narrative does not become confusing in a logical sense, but rather tends to tap into the viewer's emotional uncertainty.
(FILM THESIS PAPER: William Jingo)
2 STARS Interesting little flick. Worth a look.
(TERROR ON TAPE)
PSYCHOS SICKOS AND SEQUELS: HORROR FILMS OF THE 80'S
Mentioned as one of the notable films produced in 1989.
A LOW BUDGET MASTERPIECE
Pros: Farfetched theme works, uninterrupted intensity, Creative dream narrative.
This is a thinking man’s B-movie, it makes more sense than those silly Nightmare on Elm Street movies. However, the gem of this movie is the way they deliver the fear factor. The ongoing dream is a full sub-story that appears in linear fragments. It presents horrifying images of the subconscious as well as other images such as desire and regret in an ever increasingly terrifying direction.
A dark, complicated horror flick with the “cultability” of Phantasm! Jay Woelfel’s best effort. Done on a shoestring budget, this movie is still able to conjur up enough imagination to give you nightmares.
AN INTELLIGENT PRESENTATION OF THE POWER OF DREAMS IN OUR PSYCHIC LIFE…
Critique: The way Benjamin cautiously avoids the sewer drain for fear of monsters is a fun start. The little boy is scary enough but then his eyes go demonic--chill! The dream sequences are largely successful. The stiff acting doesn't detract much from some real tension that is developed. Nice effect to have the action hinge on scraps of paper with messages written on them, recording what has gone before so that it won't get deleted from existence.
THERE ARE SOME EXTRAORDINARY SEQUENCES IN THIS FILM
What it achieves on a miniscule budget puts big productions to shame on a level of visual imagination and inventiveness
(PETE TOMBS: AUTHOR OF THE BOOKS MONDO MACABRO & ILLICIT SINEMA)
B-INDEPENDENT REVIEW FOLLOWS: “Beyond Dream's Door is where horror lies."
That quote is part of poem that is recited in part throughout Jay Woelfel's BEYOND DREAM'S DOOR, a story about a primal predator from world of nightmares passing back and forth through the door of reality and hunting all those who know of it's existence. Sounds similar to another 1980's horror classic, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Without doubt, Woelfel was inspired by Wes Craven's now seminal horror film, but Woelfel takes Craven's premise to higher, more academic plain. Forsaking conventional "jump scares" of formula horror, Woelfel blurs the lines of reality and dreamscape to delve into the psychology behind our nightmares and fears. In the process he crafts a film that works on pure atmosphere alone to fill the audience with unease. Think NIGHTMARE done with the crypto-weirdness of David Lynch. The events of BEYOND DREAM'S DOOR are structured around the nightmares of Ben Dobbs, a Psychology student who after years of not dreaming, or at least not being able to remember his dreams, is suddenly tormented by a continuous stream of vividly freakish nightmares, each one picking up where the last left off. When linked together, the chain of events reveal a scenario that has repeated itself since the dawn of man and will until someone can close the door between the two worlds.
Through his professor Dr. Noxx, and Noxx's lecture on psychosis, Ben learns that his troubles mirror the case of D. F. White. Both men are in their early 20s, without parents, and plagued by freakish nightmares. Whoever Mr. White sought for help with his dilemma was killed by whatever it was that came through the door. As is always the case, history is bound to repeat itself. Only this time the creature is more aggressive in that it goes after anyone who simply possesses knowledge of Ben, White, or itself. As the film unfolds, it's possible to lose track of what's reality and what's the dream realm. Astute viewers will notice Woelfel's use of Hitchcockian organizing principles, more specifically the use of color. Red signifying events occurring in Ben's dream world and blue representing his reality. The color scheme can be broken down further to reveal the motivations of specific character types as well as those who will die and become either servants or slaves to the dream realm. I searched the internet to see if the poem from which the title draws its actually exists, but to my dismay a search of the "beyond dreams door is where horror lies" line didn't yield any results. It would be interesting to see if the full poem held any more insight and clues to help fully understand and decipher BEYOND DREAM'S DOOR. As much as I think that I might have a grasp on it, I can't help but feel that I've missed a layer someplace. There's just too much to this movie. Maybe a forth a viewing is in order, but a DVD commentary would be even better. The movie is too good to be another lost classic and I hope it sees a digital release soon.
AN AMBITIOUS FILM.
…probably inspired by the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. This is director Jay Woelfel's first full-length film. Filmed with an extremely small budget, it earns points for actually being shot on film and not on video like most small independents. Sprinkled with nasty bits of gore and nudity to liven up the proceedings, BEYOND DREAM'S DOOR has a nightmare quality in the visuals and music (composed by Woelfel) that most films can only dream of creating. I liked it and if you give it a chance, I'm sure you will too.