Since its inception in 2006, Severin Films, the film and DVD company that is responsible for releasing special editions of many well-known films such as Roman Polanski’s What?, Gwendolin with Tawny Kitaen, Patrice Leconte’s The Hairdresser’s Husband and The Perfume Of Yvonne, Richard Stanley’s Hardware, and Enzo Castellari’s Inglorious Bastards to name a few, now adds Lucio Fulci’s directorial swan song to its roster. Fulci, who passed away in 1996, made Door into Silence (Le Porte del Silenzio) in 1991 (not to be confused with Dario Argento’s Door into Darkness, a series of four, one-hour episodes for Italian television in 1973). It stars - of all people - John Savage of The Deer Hunter and Do the Right Thing as a man who buries his father and takes a strange trip through Louisiana behind a hearse in a modern day variation of Steven Spielberg’s Duel, minus the suspense.
I’ve never been a card-carrying member of the Fucli cognoscenti, although Zombi (1979) and The House by the Cemetery (1981) are personal Fulci favorites. And how can you go wrong with The New York Ripper (1982), about a killer who quacks like a duck before he strikes? Argento and Mario Bava are closer to my tastes as I find their films to be intensely cinematic, sporting vertiginous camerawork and labyrinthine plots. Fulci’s work can sometimes come across as television movie-of-the-weekish, and Door into Silence is no exception. Distributed by our friends at Filmirage, a company that was responsible for Fabrizio Laurentis’ La Casa 4 (1988) with (yikes!) David Hasselholf and Linda Blair, and Aristide Massaccesi’s Anthropophagus (1980) with reliable Tisa Farrow, Door into Silence seems culled from better material, among them Rod Serling’s “The Hitchhiker” episode of The Twilight Zone (which itself was adapted from Lucille Fletcher’s story of the same name), and from Ambrose Bierce’s short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” which has provided the basis for innumerable supernatural stories.
The film is boring, overlong and, at times, wildly ponderous, and feels much longer than its 87-minute running time. Fans of Fulci’s gore-fests will more than likely be disappointed with this final effort. It boasts a strange and inappropriate quasi-jazz score and also, like Umberto Lenzi’s Ghosthouse (1988), steals a cue from Simon Boswell’s score to Michele Soavi’s superior Deliria (1987) in the scene when Savage sees himself in a coffin – an admittedly creepy moment in an overall series of less-inspired moments. Filmirage was the producer of all of these aforementioned films, so they must have had some deal to use this music uncredited.
Severin’s transfer of the single-sided, single-layered NTSC Region 1 DVD-5 is very good; the film is remarkably free of speckles and “jumps” at the reel-changes (those annoying circles that are characteristic of theatrical prints are absent). There are no extras, though the only welcome extra would have been a better version of the film.