Probably due to missing proper terms to search for, I have never been able to figure out more about something I saw on TV a long time ago (80s, maybe early 90s).

All that I can remember is roughly the key idea of the "magic" that is happening: (completely made up to illustrate the principle, unfortunately can't remember an actual scene). When you walk a special path, a door or pathway will suddenly lead to a different place (or maybe different reality). Like when you walk through a gate, then from 4 trees between tree 3 and 4, and then around a lamp post not directly in your path, opening a door will suddenly lead to a beach instead of the bar it should normally enter.

I am mostly fascinated by this world mechanics, so if that TV show was based on a book, or short story, I would like to know that too.


Not having read yet through all great ideas in the comments (even if not what I was looking for its good for ideas how to spend more time with these stories), it seems that I didn't properly transport the key idea here, so I will try to clarify it.

While many mention simple portal doors etc. the way they are operated are a bit different. While in matrix (or also in lost room) the portal doors are operated by special keys, or in other stories they are just there, in my case they are activated by walking a special path in the world. Like if in the above case mentioned, you would walk the same path, but between tree 2 and 3, the door would lead into the bar. The special path is a way that people normally would not take.

Also I think that the story plays in contemporary (80s or 90s) north america or similar environment.

  • 1
    This sounds something like The Fantastic Journey but not identical. imdb.com/title/tt0075503/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_113
    – steveha
    Feb 5, 2014 at 22:37
  • 1
    A comic book that played around with ideas similar to this is Grimjack. In the city of Cynosure, different neighborhoods might actually be in different parallel worlds, and you might cross dimensions just by walking down an alleyway. At one point Grimjack was pursued by people with firearms, and he led them into a pocket where the laws of physics are different and the guns didn't work right, and then of course he had the advantage and killed them all. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grimjack
    – steveha
    Feb 5, 2014 at 22:40
  • 1
    They play with this trope in quite a lot of films; Dark City, Matrix Reloaded, Monsters Inc, Adjustment Bureau. tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PortalDoor
    – Valorum
    Feb 6, 2014 at 0:02
  • 3
    Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber also has similar ideas.
    – Eran
    Feb 6, 2014 at 3:39
  • There's a similar mechanic in Gene Wolfe's There Are Doors, too; but as far as I know, they've never filmed any of his work
    – andrewsi
    Feb 6, 2014 at 5:35

1 Answer 1


Could be the movie Crossworlds (1996) with Rutger Hauer and Josh Charles (and a little of Jack Black):

Synopsis pasted below from a movies.tvguide.com review doesn't specifically line up with the OP's details, but I remember at least one scene at an apartment complex where if you approach the door by walking to one side of the tree, you end up in a normal apartment, but if you go around the other side of the tree it opens into a huge warehouse. IIRC they also travel across dimensions through hidden portals that sometimes are just "the right path", no physical "door".

A college nerd helps freedom fighters from another planet combat evil beings who plan to conquer Earth with a crystal that will allow them to dissolve the interdimensional borders. ... The film premiered on HBO and was released on video shortly thereafter.College student Joe Talbolt (Josh Charles) is sleeping when Laura (Andrea Roth) materializes in his room and tries to take a crystal he wears around his neck. He awakens to see her--as well as several gunmen who also appear in his room. They escape and Laura takes him to A.T. (Rutger Hauer). They are members of a resistance movement from a planet conquered thousands of years ago by the Warlords, who want to conquer other worlds and dimensions as well. While the dimensional barriers can be crossed by certain individuals, to move armies they need an ancient scepter and the crystal that powers it--the crystal Joe wears, given him by his long-dead father. They steal the scepter from the museum where it is guarded by Ferris (Stuart Wilson), one of the Warlords. After learning that his father died making sure that the scepter and crystal would not fall into the hands of the Warlords, Joe helps A.T. and Laura prevent Ferris from getting them. ..."

  • FYI, It's on NetFlix.
    – Zimul8r
    Feb 6, 2014 at 17:53
  • 1
    Took me a while to get my hands on it, but yep, thats it.
    – PlasmaHH
    Feb 25, 2014 at 20:11

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