Thursday, March 18, 2010

(Fun With) Fulci Week: Door Into Silence

The time is 1991.  The place is Italy.  Lucio Fulci is reaching the tale end of his career (he made one film after this) and his life (he died in 1996).  It's at this point that he tries to do something new.  After starting out in Giallo and Westerns (see Sunday's review), he found his niche in horror with Zombie Flesh Eaters.  After over a decade of that, he tried this film genre out for size: psychological thriller.  What does that mean for you?  No blood, no guts and no zombies.  As a bonus, he is not credited in the U.S. credits for either the writing or the two different people.  While strange, this does give us one of the funniest pseudonyms in cinematic history: H. Simon Kittay.  Seriously, who thought of this stupid-ass name?!?  Anyhow, this is...
The film begins with a man at a funeral in New Orleans.  Who's it for?  Why is he there?  That's not entirely too clear, nor is the movie's showing us a man crashing his car into a moving truck.  The man goes to leave in his car, but him and the other cars must wait for the funeral procession/marching band to pass by.  Did I mention that this movie is a thriller, by the way?  He makes eyes at a nice-looking woman of the African-American persuasion before driving off towards home.  This is where the movie gets kind of weird, so let's just go with it...
* The man constantly does dumb things: he drives down a road blocked off for flooding and tries to cross a small, wooden bridge in his car.  They never end well.
* After driving through a giant puddle, he has to stop and get it checked.  He runs into the woman & stops at a hotel...for like 20 minutes.  While he's in the bathroom getting ready to make whoopee with her, she leaves.  Um, okay.
* He runs across a hearse on a two-lane road and tries to get in front of him.  A five-minute long, sped-up chase scene ensues and ...just ends.  This happens about three more times.
* He drives some more and gets the sun in his eyes.  This happens about three more times.
* He picks up a young lady and tries to have sex with her, but can't force himself to.  She simply leaves.
* Finally, he ends up on a ferry and sees the hearse there.  With the police like 8 feet away, he tries to open the coffin inside.  It doesn't end well.
* After seeing his psychic sister (why not?) and freaking her out with his appearance, he chases the hearse again.  Out of nowhere, a truck runs him down, showing us the crash from the beginning....Of course, all of the mystery and subtlety is killed by the film's last shot...
This movie is not bad, but it is a bit confused.  I mean, I get that this is all some sort of metaphor for his impending demise.  That said, there are many holes in this story.  If the hearse he's chasing is not real, what is the one on the boat?  If the hearse he's chasing is real, why is the guy gunning it and not letting our hero pass?  If the mysterious woman is the Grim Reaper (suck on it, Brad Pitt), how come she knows people in town?  I'm sorry Lucio, but this movie is a real drag to watch.  I suppose I can't fault you for trying something new, but I can fault you for making a film I couldn't finish in one sitting.  To be fair, I should mention that this film is produced by Joe D'amato (and even features Laura Gemser as its Costume Designer), so maybe we can blame him.  Either way, I'm attacking a dead guy (or Ms. Black Emmanuelle).
Next up, the long-awaited review of a Fulci classic.  Zombies?  Check.  Gore?  Check.  Teleportation?  Big check!  Stay tuned...


  1. Hi.

    I dont think Lucio made a film after this one. It seems Voices From Beyond which is listed on imdb as 1994 was made before this one making Door To Silence his last film.

  2. Ooo and interesting interpretation you offer as an impending demise. It could well be but I thought personally it meant that he was already dead- my wife noticed the camera shot in the beginning at the graveyard- as sort of pov shot which could have suggested that the guy had died at the beginning and the journey he takes is reliving his death. It all sort of reminded me of the French film Dead End.

    I know you said you thought this one was a drag but would you be prepared to give it a second look now you know the ending? There may be symbolism in there that may take on a different significance on second viewing.

  3. Maybe in the future, sure. The problem for me was just that the idea of repeating events works really well in books, but not so much in film. I think it's just an issue of putting a story in the wrong medium.

    Perhaps what seemed like plot holes to me might be explained in that context too. Who knows?

    As for this being his last film, it might be. I mean, Vincent Price's 'last film' is 'The Thief & The Cobbler,' which was released in 1995, but features a voice recording of him done in the 1970s.