Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media

Door Into Silence (1991)
Severin | Buy at Amazon | Review by Dan Taylor

Lately I've been going through what I call my Forgotten Fulcis phase. Not that I don't enjoy repeated viewings of such classics from the Grandpappy of Italian Splatter like THE BEYOND, ZOMBIE, GATES OF HELL and HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY. It's just that those films remain as warm and comforting to me as a favorite sweatshirt or a pair of old jeans that can't be worn out in public but are great for lounging around the house. Should I simply ignore all the other perfectly good clothes, er, movies that are laying around?

To be honest, the exercise has been fun and sorta liberting. My serious Fulci "obsession" (for lack of a better word) took me right up to the aforementioned HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY, the 1981 fright-classic featuring the basement-dwelling Dr. Freudstein that would cap off his his late 70s/early 80s quartet of zombie-esque masterworks. I dabbled in several post-HOUSE works like THE NEW GLADIATORS and ZOMBIE 3 (which ended up being finished by fellow splattermaster Bruno Mattei), but never returned to watching Fulci with a passion and largely let much of his later work drift by me, somewhat indifferently.

Thanks to the encouragement of fellow trashfans I've "discovered" new faves like the bizarre CAT IN THE BRAIN (a movie-within-a-movie trashfest that might just be his craziest flick) and MURDER ROCK (a leg warmer-packed mix of FAME, FLASHDANCE and giallo cheese), not to mention rewatches of the clever MURDER IN SEVEN BLACK NOTES and the slow, but occasionally interesting, MANHATTAN BABY.

While I've found plenty to enjoy and embrace about some of the director's less ballyhooed efforts, it stands to reason that I'd run into an absolute stinker somewhere along the line. And that stinker is DOOR INTO SILENCE.

Touted as the prolific director's "Final Descent Into Terror," Severin would have done us all a solid by leaving this one locked away in whatever vault they rescued (or should I say "released"?) it from.

Starting off with a frenetically-edited 45 seconds that largely telegraphs the whole film to anyone remotely paying attention, DOOR INTO SILENCE does answer one rather vexing question: What would it be like to spend the day driving around Louisiana with a bloated, sweaty John Savage (star of the awesome CARNOSAUR 2 and something called THE DEER HUNTER)?

If you – like me – are not losing any sleep at night wondering about the answer, you might want to steer clear of this one. Savage stars as Melvyn, a Louisiana real estate developer/agent who finds himself outside looking in on a good old Dixieland funeral complete with jazz band and a lot of skinny, old black dudes.

Outside the cemetery he meets a mysterious woman who has the strange habit of showing up and disappearing whenever Melvyn runs into trouble, which is often thanks to his penchant for driving into crappy neighborhoods, getting into barfights with hearse drivers, and ignoring Road Closed signs.

Playing like a Z-grade Twilight Zone rip-off, DOOR endlessly follows Melvyn's exploits as he chases after the hearse and incessantly complains about the damn sun and why it doesn't seem to set any lower in the sky.

Throw in a hysterically cheesy "shocker" ending that most student filmmakers would be embarrassed to trot out and you'll see why this DOOR is one that should have remained shut tight.


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