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Re-Visited – ‘The Black Cat’

Review by- FOLKLORE
1981
Directed by – Lucio Fulci
Story by- Edgar Allan Poe.
Starring – Patrick Mcgee, Mimsy Farmer, David Warbeck.

I’m at a constant war with cats ever since I inherited large gardens situated front and back of

my home. They constantly shit all over them and I’m forever peering out of my window like

a peeping-tom trying the get a glimpse of one of them so I can run out and chase it. It’s an on-

going struggle to this day, but I acknowledge it’s not the animal’s fault it’s their owners who

literally throw them outside to do their business. Can you imagine me knocking at my

neighbor’s door and asking to come inside so my dog can shit on their living room carpet?

Just the same to me!

Anyways I guess that’s nothing compared to a cat creeping into the back seat of a car and

whilst the person is driving, possesses them so they crash and plunge head-first through the

windscreen, oh and then catching fire! Yep bizarre as it may sound this is the opening scene

to Lucio Fulci’s ‘The Black Cat’, adapted from the Edgar Allan Poe story.

This 1981 classic has all the hallmarks and ingredients you come to expect from Fulci, but

what is lovely about this film is the stunning performance Patrick McGee gives. The Irish

born stage actor most remembered for his work with Kubrick and for playing the more

sadistic roles in various horrors, really has a fun time here as a reclusive, psychic professor

who likes to communicate with the dead. The look of McGee is wonderful with his tousled,

wild eyebrows and gravelly voice stealing every scene. His feline pet also likes to roam a

quaint, English village and do all sorts of nasty things to its residents.

 

bc3The sub-plot involves a snoopy-photographer teaming with a Scotland Yard Detective (David

Warbeck) to investigate the murders and the disappearance of a missing girl, but it’s the

scenes involving McGee and of course the cat that we want and are the best parts of the film anyway.

 

bc1Fulci delivers atmosphere as always and film definitely feels of its time. Its editing is ropey

and performances exaggerated, but that’s what I’ve always loved about Italian horror. The

score is phenomenal from Pino Donaggio and definitely captures the essence of the era.

The cat scenes are very well done to be fair and never get boring. The best being the murder

of the beautiful Lillian Grayson (Dagmar Lassander) in which her bedroom sets fire and she

leaps from her top story window. There’s a wonderful interview with Lassander on the

special features in which we talks about her career and also working with Fulci, especially the

bedroom scene in which she had to be rescued by firemen!

‘The Black Cat’ is a must see for fans of Poe, but mainly Fulci or Italian horror in general.

Atmospheric, bizarre, but a gorgeous piece of filmmaking.

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Review by- FOLKLORE
Twitter @folkloreart
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