As a lifelong reader and a dedicated horror fan I’m a sucker for a good Stephen King adaptation, and director Simon Pearce’s new short film I Am the Doorway more than fits that bill!
Based on the short story by the same name which first appeared in the 1971 issue of Cavalier magazine and later in King’s Night Shift collection, I Am the Doorway tells the story of an astronaut returned from an historic mission only to find his body undergoing a horrific transformation.
Rendered paraplegic in the shuttle’s disastrous splashdown, Arthur (Simon Merrells) has turned to the solitude of the Cape where he can watch other missions make that monumental lift off into space, but something is growing inside of him that is as insidious as it is murderous.
Pearce, who directs from a screenplay written by Richard A. Becker, Wendy Lashbrook, and Jeffrey Stackhouse, tackles the mysterious and terrifying story with a carefully cultivated tension that slowly draws the audience into its snare. He seems to ask the viewer again and again to decide whether’s Arthur’s tale is true or the delusions of a man broken by the circumstances of his fall.
For his part, Merrells gives a solid, often raw, performance as Arthur. It is all too easy to believe that something is happening to him, even if we aren’t certain what that something might be.
His pleading eyes entreat us to heed his words even as he demands that his friend, Richard (Grant Masters), and the audience vicariously keep our distance.
For their part, Padraic Culham and Alan Tabrett have crafted visual effects that are stunning and repulsive in turn, and Luis Ascanio’s score underlines Pearce’s storytelling beautifully.
I Am the Doorway will screen in Nightmares Film Festival’s Stephen King Dollar Babies Block at 4 pm on Saturday, October 20, 2018 in House 2 at the Gateway Film Center in Columbus, Ohio.