Monday, November 23, 2015

The Black Cat

Director - Lucio Fulci (Zombi, The Beyond)
Starring - Patrick Magee (A Clockwork Orange, The Monster Club), Mimsy Farmer (Evil Senses, Body Count), and David Warbeck (The Beyond, Breakfast with Dracula)
Release Date - 1981
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "The most terrifying story ever"
Format - BluRay (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Early middle school, around 6th grade, was the time I found myself fully submerging myself in horror.  I was young with no horror mentor or friends that enjoyed it as much as I did.  All my friends were getting into skateboarding, punk music, and Tony Hawk video games.  We were still friends but I was just odd man out when it came to what we watched.  They wanted to watch the "classics" like Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction, and the like.  These are all great films but I wanted to watch Creepshow and Evil Dead.   Kids my age that were into horror had older brothers, cousins, and neighbors that was showing them the ins and outs of the genre.  All I had was the local video store and a monthly trip to K-Mart (which was almost 2 hours away).   That changed when I went to high school.  I met a guy that was into horror just as much as I was and he showed me a couple films from the Godfather of Gore, Lucio Fulci.  This forever changed the way I saw horror flicks.  The Beyond, Zombi, and City of the Living Dead are films I watch regularly now.  Sometime ago I was sent word that Arrow would be teaming up with MVD to release a box set feature two Edgar Allen Poe tales titled Black Cats.  One of those films was directed by Lucio Fulci.  I had to see it and they were kind enough to send a review copy of this box set my way.
     The film follows, you guessed it, a black cat.  The black cat attacks a man while driving forcing him to crash.  The man dies on impact.  Soon Scotland Yard sends a detective to investigate where he finds more murders and clues leading back to a black cat that is owned by a local professor who secretly has a psychic power to communicate with the cat.  When the detective gets too close the cat attacks putting him in the hospital forcing Scotland Yard to send in another detective to uncover the truth.
     Fulci has a style all his own.  His is one of the few filmmakers that can make a beautifully shot film with amazing camera work and superb wide angles and close ups while tossing buckets of gore at the viewer.  Aesthetically, his films rival any award winning film that has ever been released but due to the large amounts of gore they tend to go unnoticed.  The Black Cat is typical of a Fulci film with the close ups and experimental camera work but does lack the gore that horror fans have become accustomed to.  The acting in this one is what you would come to expect from a Lucio Fulci film.  The cast have a hard time showing emotions other than fear and anger.  The cast is made up of mostly Fulci regulars who all are decent but they do lack conviction needed to make the emotions believable.  Sadly, I don't watch a Fulci film for the acting and this is one of the reasons why.  The story for this one is a round about take on the Edgar Allen Poe classic, The Black Cat.  The original story follows a drunk that kills his wife only to have their back cat lead the police to the body.  This film makes it a little more complex than that. I loved how much thought this film puts into it.  It's obvious what is going on from the beginning but I loved knowing before it happens.  Finally, the film has several on screen kills but they are nowhere near as gory as we come to expect from a Fulci flick.  This was a bit of a let down.  The practical effects that we get on the kills vary.  Some of the kills are great while others are cheap and ineffective.  Overall, The Black Cat is a solid outing by the Godfather of Gore but lacks what he is known for in the horror community, the gore!  The film has a solid story, a little more than expected considering the story's inspiration. and has a decent performance from the cast.  My only complaint is the bloodshed or lack there of.  Check this one out for sure.

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