117min / 1984 / USA / English
Directed by Larry Buchanan
presented by N+1FR, the N+1 Film Review.
The story of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin and how their message for their generation made them targets of a US government plot. Directed by schlock cinema auteur Larry Buchanan (Zontar the Thing from Venus, Mars Needs Women, The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald) seven years before Oliver Stone’s The Doors, Buchanan’s film mixes generational war and conspiracy theory in a dead-end mise en scene in which political and pop history compete for attention in anonymous hotel rooms linked by TV sets nobody is watching. Buchanan, an Austin, Texas-based no-budget filmmaker, could not afford the rights to any Hendrix, Joplin, or The Doors hits, so instead commissioned unconvincing sound-alike songs for his cast of local actors to perform. Beyond the Doors/Down on US, which never played in any theater outside of Austin, presents a posthumous history of classic rock from before the point it was fully commodified, when it was still closed to peculiar interpretation and awkward deification.
A. S. Hamrah is a film critic for n+1 and the founding editor of the N1FR, n+1’s film review supplement. Hamrah’s work has appeared in publications including the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, CNN.com, Cineaste, The Boston Phoenix, The New York Observer, The Paris Review Daily, the Criterion Collection, and The Baffler. He is a former editor of Hermenaut and wrote for Suck.com. He has appeared on the National Public Radio programs Talk of the Nation and Weekend Edition Sunday, and on the BBC. His essays have appeared in several books. At one time he worked for the late Raúl Ruiz. Hamrah has lectured on film at Yale University, New York University, and the Art Center College of Design. He currently works as a semiotic brand analyst for the New York-based brand consultancy TruthCo.