Sunday, January 31, 2010

Door Into Silence

Door Into Silence 1991
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writer: Lucio Fulci
Starring John Savage, Sandi Schulz, Richard Castleman, Jennifer Loeb, Elizabeth Cudgen, Joe Davis, Bob Shreves and Mary Coulson

Lucio Fulci is known by many as the master of Italian gore, but his final film Door Into Silence is a far different animal than his classic works like Zombi and The Beyond. IT relies more on suspense and mystery than special effects or gross out scenes. The film is by no means a classic but it was a nice departure for him and a interesting take on the subject of trying to escape death, which has been explored before in films like Carnival of Souls and the classic short story "Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce. The film for it's first act takes it's time setting up the crux of the story, but once the viewer is hooked deep into it becomes very clear where the story is going. The interesting thing is how it gets to its inevitable conclusion, The film really works because of the pacing and the fine acting job by the always solid John Savage. It is not a film you expect to see come from the mind of Fulci, but I believe that is what makes it a all the more interesting film to witness.
The plot basics are this, in New Orleans Melvin Devereux (Savage) is attending his brother's funeral. He comes across a mysterious and beautiful woman (Schulz), who somehow knows him by name but he has no recollection of ever meeting her. After he chats with her he drives off and is going through the city when his car breaks down in a run down area of the city. The woman again reappears and tells him he should get a mechanic for his car. He then follows her but loses chase and soon starts to see a hearse everywhere and soon he becomes obsessed on finding whose body it is carrying as it's cargo. Melvin begins to lose his grip on reality and believes that he is the one in the hearse. The question is this all a bizarre hallucination or will this all lead to a revelation that Melvin does not want to accept?
This is a haunting film. The direction by Fulci is masterful. He uses the eerie atmosphere of New Orleans really well. Which he has done before when he filmed The Beyond there. There are scenes that are even evocative of that film too. When Melvin is driving down that stretch of highway it look as it is the same stretch of highway that you see in one of the main scenes in the Beyond. He also has a tense feeling of impending doom throughout the film and is able to sustain it masterfully till the final scenes in the film. The script is quite good too, Though it is similar to many other films and ideas, Fulci gives it his own spin and really makes it his own. The characterization of Melvin is interesting. He starts off as a incredulous skeptic but as the plot progresses he becomes more hysterical and sure that he is watching his own death. The cast is excellent too. Savage as Melvin gives another fine performance. You really believe in the unraveling of his mind as he goes along on this mad journey. Schulz as the mystery lady is quite good too and you really feel she is more than she appears to be. She is aloof and cryptic and that really helps the viewer to become entrenched in the story. The SFX and effects are minimal and that is a good thing. This film is more about mood and atmosphere than watching arterial blood flow. The score by Franco Piana is very eerie and haunting and really amps up the ambience of the film. This is a very good film by the master of Italian horror and a very classy way for him to finish his career. Any Fulci fan really needs to see this film.
This one gets 4 out of 5

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