Aug 11, 2023, 06:29AM

Enzo, Sylvia, and Laura

The director dreams about his late wife and daughter, one night in New York City, January 1996.

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As Silver Blood ended on cable, Enzo was falling fast asleep on the bed, still in his bathrobe. At seven p.m., with only an hour to go before his appearance at the Fangoria convention downstairs, he was a world away, dreaming of Italy and Sylvia and Laura. He could never sleep on planes, nor hotels, or anywhere really—yet here he was, out cold after spending half a day flying to the United States and doing more traveling and walking than he had in years. If Giuseppe didn’t come back upstairs banging on his door at five-to-eight, Enzo might’ve had the best night of sleep of his life. Maybe he would’ve lived to see the millennium. But his dream visit with his late wife and daughter was all too brief.

Fabrizio Frizzi’s end theme for Silver Blood echoed from above as Enzo sank into a chic Roman apartment, deep in his orange armchair. The Bucci household was dressed just like the writer and the wife that get murdered in A Clockwork Orange: big fuzzy carpets, lots of white, round edges, pop art, plenty of books, spotless surfaces. The walls were red and the windows were circular like a submarine. “Daddy!” Laura ran in and sat on her father’s lap. At 17, Laura was just about to begin her studies in law and medicine—an advent in 1969, but as far as Enzo was concerned, Laura could do anything. Even if she ran into sexist colleagues and superiors, she’d survive, and she’d end up with a much safer job than journeyman film director.

In 1969, Enzo and his wife Sylvia were comfortable. His early thrillers—Nine Gables, Kosovo Detective Squad, The Sickly Songbird of Seven Susannahs—had all done well, and they allowed him to buy a home and support his wife. Sylvia would go back to being a secretary once Laura began university, but they didn’t need the money, she just hated idling about. Enzo wasn’t one to keep his women down, and while all three of them worked very hard, they were always together at home every night of the week. Unlike sick American children, Laura wouldn’t be forced to move out of her parents’ house, and she’d continue her studies in Rome, and the three of them would live in luxury and aesthetic splendor through what promised to be a most glorious decade.

1970 was looming. Sharon Tate was dead, but the Manson Family had yet to be brought in. It was mid-October—Sylvia finished up with the dishes as Laura jumped off of her father’s lap and turned on the TV in front of them. She sat back down and they began to watch whatever came on—in this case, on this night, a debate about Herbert Marcuse. Enzo lit up, but Laura got up and stared flipping channels, searching in vain for a movie or a variety show. Enzo slumped in his chair and asked Laura to put the philosophers back on. “You can watch them. I’m bored. I’m going out.” Enzo stood up. “No you’re not. Where? Who? What? With where? What?” Laura put on her coat and said, “Luigi,” as she rushed out the door. It was starting to rain and Sylvia wasn’t paying attention. Enzo walked back to the kitchen and asked if Sylvia had met this “Luigi.” She shrugged. “No. Probably just another classmate. A good Italian boy.”

Enzo scoffed. “Trust me, I know—no such thing…”

—Follow Monica Quibbits on Twitter: @MonicaQuibbits


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