The Black Cat (1981)
Film: The Black Cat
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writer: Lucio Fulci and Biagio Proietti
Starring: Patrick Magee, Mimsy Farmer and David Warbeck
This film begins with a man getting into his car. While he is driving down the road, he looks over and there is a black cat with him. He stars into its eyes and he looks to be hypnotized. He crashes the car on a straight stretch of road by running into a parked car. He goes through the windshield and dies.
We then see a woman who a photographer and she is taking pictures of some ruins in town, she is played by Mimsy Farmer. She sees a hole in the ground and goes down. There are spider webs and she finds a little microphone. She picks it. As she goes to exit, she meets with Geoffrey Copleston, who is an inspector. He tells her not to go down there as it is not safe.
The film then introduces us to a professor who is strange, played by Patrick Magee. We learn that he is psychic and speaks with the dead. He is attacked by a black cat.
We then shift to a young couple in a boat. They are kissing. The woman is played by Daniela Doria. Another boat approaches and the man decides that they will go somewhere else with more privacy. They go to a boat house with a room in it. He locks them in. The black cat knocks the light out and the key disappears. The cat also ruins the air conditioning and there is no ventilation.
The woman from the boat earlier is actually Doria’s mother, played by Dagmar Lassander. She goes into her daughter’s room and she’s not there. She panics and starts the search for her.
Another inspector from Scotland Yard is called in; he is played by David Warbeck. The reason for this is that there have been more strange deaths. A drunk man falls and is impaled. Warbeck is alerted to the two younger people disappearing.
Lassander seeks out the help of Magee. He uses his powers and finds where they are. With the police they check it out to find both of them are dead inside the room. They are not sure how the key got out or what destroyed the AC unit.
Farmer starts to believe that the cat might have had something to do with. She noticed the scratches on the drunk’s hands are similar to the ones she saw on Magee’s when she witnessed the cat attack him. She has trouble convincing anyone at first.
Lassander is the next victim as the cat sets the house on fire and attacks her as well. She is burned alive inside of the building.
Magee decides it is too much and hangs the cat. He sees this image burned into his attic, where he used to feed the cat. The problem is the image only has a noose and the cat is missing from it. He then knows that this is not a normal cat. The cat has been killing all those that he wanted dead, but he knows now that it is the evil one.
Warbeck is also attacked by the cat and then hypnotized until he is hit by a car. Will he survive? Is the cat evil or is Magee controlling it? Can he control it? Can they be stopped?
I have to say that this is loosely based on the Edgar Allan Poe story, as well as at the end as it takes an element from the Tell-Tale Heart, which is another Poe story. This film does use more from the Poe story than the film that it is remaking. I like the idea of the psychic and dabbling in forces that are greater than him. I like that you aren’t sure if the cat is being controlled or just killing those that Magee has issue with. When the cat is killed and it doesn’t die, that was pretty cool as well. The death scenes are pretty violent and gory, so keep that in mind.
I do have to say that story is pretty basic. The acting is decent, nothing that will blow you away though. I feel that the film could use for developing the characters a little bit more. I also think it would have been better to inform us who this evil one might be. The film comes off as a little bit boring due to this.
With that said, I would only recommend this one if you like the director or really like foreign, gory horror films. The acting is decent; the story is basic and is lacking some real depth. There are a lot of things that are not explained, which I didn’t like. As stated, the death scenes are gory, the black cat does come off as creepy and I really like the scene where Magee tries to kill it. This film is kind of boring for the most part though, so I only recommend this one to diehard horror fans.
My Rating: 5 out of 10