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The Black Cat

AKA: Il Gatto Nero
 
 
Shot on location in England, The Black Cat is Fulci's loose adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's book of the same title. After the prologue where we see the malefic feline hitch a ride with one of the unfortunate villagers, who's eye the cat has caught from the back seat, causing him to go into a trance and subsequently crash his car into a brick wall.

The cat then makes his way through the picturesque village to the manor house of local recluse Mr Miles (Magee), who then plays recordings, of what transpires later to be the voices of the dead to the murderous moggy. Is the seemingly preternatural Mr. Miles exerting an influence over the cat to go and murder members of the village? This theory is scuppered when the feline viciously scratches Miles in his study.

As this strange tale evolves we become acquainted with the various charchaters of the village, who are the English rural, eccentric types featured in films like Straw Dogs & American Werewolf In London, as well as, Jill Travers, an American tourist played by Mimsy Farmer (Fulciphiles will agree that she's more Tia Farrow than Catriona MaColl) and Inspector Gorley (Warbeck), a hotshot from Scotland Yard who speeds into the village on his motorcycle to help the local constabulary with the strange murders taking place... not before receiving a speeding ticket though from the village policeman (Cliver)... only in England! The speeding ticket is soon forgotten though as the Inspector finds himself embroiled in the middle of a bizarre battle of wills between the local recluse and the malevolent cat.

Verdict?

Sergio Salvati's photography makes The Black Cat a very soothing film to watch, as he captures the tranquility of an English village perfectly, yet this atmosphere of serenity is intersperced with moments of intense claustrophobia, as Salvati's camera closes in for a series of eye close up's, particulary on Mr.Miles as he battles wills with the cat and hypnotises hapless visitors to his home. The Black Cat is a peculiar film and though it lacks the crowd pleasing gore content of other Fulci films, it is still well worth seeing.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Quirky, weird but strangely soothing.

Weaknesses? Not one of Fulci's best.

Our rating: 6 out of 10


Review Written by Stuart Fitzgerald:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Stuart Fitzgerald
The Black Cat