Sunday, October 2, 2011

HALLOWEENAGE #7: THE BLACK CAT (1981)

After a score of films featuring close-ups and zooms of human eyes, maestro director Lucio Fulci branched out with this, which is 60% comprised of close-ups of cat eyes.  Not kidding.
 "Freely adapted", as the credits forthrightly claim, from some story that a drunk wrote or something, Fulci's black cat is a very active killer.  Granted, cats aren't very good at killing prey as large as people, so it must devise elaborate, Rube Goldberg-esque death scenarios except when it also uses hypnosis to make folks suicide.  Hypnosis requires EYES!  WIN WIN WIN!
The psychic in this film says that you can't give a cat orders and that is probably true.  The black cat of the film sometimes looks bored or bewildered, not really that menacing.  How many cats do you think Fulci strangled because they wouldn't perform as he wanted?  It's the same problem that I had with the sharks in THE REEF.  Animals don't care what you need for your film.  They just want to eat, or sleep.  Plus I like cats, so even when this one claws a guy's hands so he falls onto a pallet of spikes, I'm just like, "Awww, mischief-maker!"
 This is pretty star-studded, kind of.  David Warbeck and Mimsy Farmer show up, along with a moustachioed Al Cliver and Patrick Magee of TALES FROM THE CRYPT and BARRY LYNDON fame.  Ultimately, it's a Fulci film, so character isn't a super-huge priority, but everybody does a professional job, at least.  As per usual, it's well-shot and has fairly impressive music.  But, overall, this is leagues away in quality from some of Fulci's more magical efforts.  People who love Fulci for gore won't be too impressed, as (again) cats don't have arms and can't carry power tools and THE BLACK CAT is far less wet than some of the director's splashier entries.  
Watching this right after the original PSYCHO on the big screen was probably one of my worst ideas, but, even so, I can't ever see myself caring all that much about it in any situation. 

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