In both literature and film, doors have been employed as a reliable device to take all types of narrative plots toward the realm of the magical and marvelous. For some, this could be considered as cheap trick, but for others, this way of bridging the gap between the real and the imagined never fails.
To pay tribute to their fictional service to all things bizarre, otherworldly, and fantastic, here is a list of the most famous and fabulous doors in modern literature and cinema.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Winner of several literary accolades including Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers (2002), Hugo Award for Best Novella (2003), and the Nebula Award for Best Novella (2003), Coraline is, arguably, one of Neil Gaiman’s most famous works. The story revolves around the eccentric Coraline Jones who discovers a boarded up door in their house’s drawing room. Despite warnings from well-meaning neighbors, curious Coraline enters the door and is taken to an alternate world where everything appear like an improved version of her “real” world; including a replica of her parents with buttons for eyes. Of course, it only takes time before she realizes that apparent perfection wanes.
The Dark Tower by Stephen King
A series comprised of eight books published between 1982 and 2012, The Dark Tower is an epic mash up of some of literature’s most known genres such as horror, fantasy, science fiction, and even western. Indeed, this is a literary feat that broke all established forms in storytelling. Despite his apparent irreverence to conventional literary formats, though, there is one classic device which Stephen King has employed for this serial; doors for time and space travel. In the second book entitled The Drawing of the Three, the protagonist Roland of Gilead encounters three doors that each lead to a specific New York City era.
The Neverending Story
Originally penned by Michael Ende, and translated from German to English by Ralph Manheim, The Neverending Story is meta-fiction at its purest sense. It revolves around a boy named Bastian who starts to read a book called The Neverending Story, and later finds himself as part of the book’s narrative. The plot introduces The Temple of a Thousand Doors, which takes visitors to the inner sanctum of, yes, a never ending story.
Being John Malkovich, directed by Spike Jonze
This wacky movie written by Charlie Kaufman, was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress for Catherine Keener. The plot takes a turn to the compellingly absurd when John Cusack’s character discovers a small door that happens to be a portal to John Malkovich’s mind.
The Matrix Reloaded, directed by the Wachowski Brothers
The second installment of the critically and commercially acclaimed Matrix franchise had its characters accessing doors that reveal realms which specifically respond to the person who opened them, or the type of key that has been used to unlock them.
Monsters, Inc., directed by Pete Docter
Pixar’s relatively simple premise has captured the imagination of both kids and kids-at-heart. The doors in this movie are the monsters’ trade paraphernalia, and despite the seeming simplicity of this premise, Monsters, Inc. has undeniably become an original.
Therese Shaw has an overwhelming love for tv, movies and literature. Unfortunately, writing is a more attainable and practical goal for her than being on screen. Her writing has attracted numerous collaborators, more recently is one with Door Emporium.