Remember those 80’s and early 90’s demonic films that had the camera pretend to be a floating spirit like in Evil Dead or the original Night of the Demons? Exposing women’s breasts were a mere exploitive stunt as the well endowed ladies’ shirts just happen to fall off because of a single, light and accidental touch. The blood waved in like a killer tsunami and the body count was as high as Mount Fuji! Those were the good ole days of demonic horror with the clarity of the hero and, sometimes, villains was not so black and white. This melancholy brings me to George Schileppi’s 2008 killer specter and possession film Death’s Door where he skims the surface of all that glory said above and never really sinks his teeth into something that has been, at least to me, long lost in the world of horror.
Television psychic Madame Camille uses smoke and mirrors to make her guest believe they’re actually speaking to their loved ones. When an aggressive religious driven radio evangelist is invited to face his accusations of murder, Madame Camille’s psuedo-powers become a reality and she has to tap into the evil possessing the evangelist that has trapped the frightened cast and crew inside the station. One by one people die a gruesome, horrifying death and the survivors are running out of time in finding a way out of their tomb.
Death’s Door had many positive aspects that intrigued me to keep attentive such as being trapped with a demon spirit. Call me old fashion, but a bunch of scared individuals trapped inside a small setting and getting hacked away one bit at a time has a soft spot in my heart more than any run-around-the-bush slasher. Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers can only omit their prey via human tactics; with spirits, the possibilities are endless and are usually entertaining. Death’s Door is no exception with exploding bodies, self-projectiling saw blades and a black hole that can rip you in half speaks for itself!
For some reason, Schillepi couldn’t keep on this glorious track; the deaths became tiresome as the last few folks left alive just either were killed off camera with a big blood splat on some adjacent wall and flooring or just disappeared into thin air. Also, the plot doesn’t make much sense at first and this confusion will explain itself at the finale, but one big question still remains…why even go through all it in the first place? I know none of this makes much sense now, but watch Death’s Door and you’ll see what I mean because, frankly, a random spirit shows up to kill one by one and their no rhyme or reason to their presence.
Sewell Whitney is Death’s Door biggest headlining star and that isn’t saying much. You might recognize his face from guest appearances on CSI or E.R. His performance as a sleazy station manager clearly shows why he is stuck in indie film making, but I won’t judge him too harshly yet as I’ve never seen anything else he has done. Alicia Petrides plays Madame Camille, the late blooming crystal ball reader, and she, to me, resembles the Peter Vincent character made famous by Roddey McDowell in Fright Night. Vincent played a vampire hunter on screen and transformed into a real slayer off screen. Madame Camille did the exact same thing except she did it with her mind and not with heart piercing stake.
Entertaining and cheeky, this campy evil spirit film from E1 Entertainment doesn’t favor a remembrance and homage of early films of it’s kind. However, Death’s Door seems to run out of gas and Schillepi didn’t bother to refill it’s tenacious tank! The sad part about all of this, I saw a cult classic and was left with a let down of what is now being labeled a what if, should of and could of of a film.