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DVD Review: Door Into Silence

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It’s been 13 years now since Italian horror filmmaker Lucio Fulci left our world. I remember hearing about his passing back in 1996 and finding it hard to believe, really. But it was only after watching Lucio’s final opus, the 1991 thriller Door Into Silence, that it really hit home for me: “This is the last film Fulci ever directed!”

And what an odd little ditty it is. Lucio both wrote and directed this one using two different aliases, casting John Savage in the lead. Looking like what might have happened had Jon Voight been cast as Giles in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Savage stars as a Louisiana real estate tycoon named Melvin Devereux. After saying farewell to his late father in the cemetery, Melvin jaunts off down the eerie Lake Pontchartrain Causeway and begins his journey into the weird-ass world of Lucio Fulci films.

Throughout the course of his day, Melvin is plagued by a menacing hearse, a mysterious woman (Sandi Schultz, who became Mrs. John Savage a few years later) in a red Chrysler convertible, and bizarre nightmares. What’s the meaning of it all? Well, if you’re looking for logic in a Fulci film, you’ve obviously never seen a Fulci film! At times, the relatively simple-yet-elusive plot decides that you don’t need to know what’s afoot — although it’ll be painfully clear to just about anyone who's ever seen The Twilight Zone (I suppose that you could look at it as an extra-long Twlight Zone episode, only the characters aren’t half as smart and tend to be, well, weird), so just sit back and enjoy the desolate Southern scenery and take in the sounds of Franco Piana’s soundtrack.

A majority of the movie takes place on the lonely back roads of Louisiana (the film’s hearse driver, Richard Castleman, also served as location scout — a task he would continue to do for producer Joe D’Amato in several future films). Hopefully, John Savage got paid by the mile, since there is more driving in this film than all of the Fast And The Furious films combined. Sometimes, I found myself wondering if this was a Fulci film or just a big long Chevrolet commercial that Fulci directed. But, still, even with this much padding, Door Into Silence comes off as fun regardless.

As a side note to all of the fans of the following: Joe D’Amato produced this (also under an alias), Black Emanuelle goddess Laura Gemser served as costume director, and Italian film vet Giancarlo Ferrando photographed. A young lass by the name of Jennifer Loeb has a memorable scene as a promiscuous hitchhiker in Door Into Silence — Loeb showed up in two other D’Amato productions (all from the same year) and faded into obscurity thereafter.

Severin Films opens the Door Into Silence as a barebones release with an affordable price tag. The DVD presents the film in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The image is fairly soft-looking (a byproduct of the period, not Severin’s transfer) but stands out quite well. The one and only soundtrack is the original English mono stereo mix, which comes out strong and steady. No special features are to be found with this release, and the menu is also pretty basic (meaning the looped sound will get on your nerves right quick).

While it certainly isn’t his best work (pick up Zombie or The Beyond, which was also shot in Louisiana), Door Into Silence is notable for being Lucio Fulci’s last work. Therefore, it is required viewing for any fan of the late great maestro or Italian thrillers in general.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.
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