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3.2 out of 5 stars18
3.2 out of 5 stars
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on 5 January 2012
A man is driving down a peaceful road when he is startled by a cat in the back seat, the man can't seem to stop looking at the cat and crashes his car into another vehicle, and his body smashes through the windscreen. We then see the cat move over some roof tops, and it enters the home of Robert Miles, a medium who claims he can speak with the dead. After a young couple go missing, Inspector Gorley is brought in to investigate. When the mother of the missing girl goes to see Miles, he tells her the location of the kids. The Inspector and his officers make a gruesome discovery, the couple have been locked into a room and died, but the door was locked from the inside with the key being found outside. With no one in town to take photographs of the corpses, the Inspector has to ask an American photographer who is staying in the quaint English village to take the pictures. As more people end up dead, the inspector and photographer find that all the evidence leads back to Robert Miles and his black cat.

The acting is of a high standard in this film, Patrick Magee is the star of the show as he puts in a wonderfully over-the-top performance as the creepy medium, Miles. He really is a joy to watch, and his crazy eyes and big bushy eyebrows are perfect for the lingering close-ups. Fulci originally wanted Peter Cushing to play the role of Robert Miles, but Cushing turned down the role knowing Fulci's reputation for making "gory" horror films. I'm a big Peter Cushing fan, but I love Magee in this film and simply can't picture Cushing in the role. Mimsy Farmer is good as Jill Trevers, the inquisitive photographer whose questions lead her to Miles and his strange relationship with his cat. David Warbeck does a pretty good job as Gorley, and along with Al Cliver playing Sgt. Wilson, the two are very enjoyable to watch as they try to figure out how and why people are dying.

The Black Cat was shot in 1981 in England and Italy, and directed by the Italian "Godfather of gore" Lucio Fulci. This film was made right at the peak of what was Fulci's most successful period, two years earlier he directed the excellent Zombie Flesh Eaters (Zombi 2), a very loose and unofficial sequel to George A. Romero's masterpiece, Dawn of the Dead. Most of Fulci's best known films were made between 1979 and 1982, Zombie Flesh Eaters, 1979. City of the Living Dead, 1980. The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery, 1981. New York Ripper, 1982. The Black Cat was made in what was a prolific and great year for Fulci, but sadly this film was massively overshadowed by The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery. Fulci has often been accused of being a hack, a director that overloaded his films with gore and violence with no redeeming features. I couldn't disagree more. His two most famous gialli, Don't Torture A Duckling and Lizard In A Woman's Skin are both fine pieces of filmmaking, and I absolutely adore his later zombie films, and that's for many different reasons than just onscreen violence and gore. The Black Cat was very different to the other films he made between '79 and '82, the gore and violence, although present, was toned down in favour of atmosphere and tension. For the most part it really works, especially when you consider it's a film about a killer cat. There's one scene in particular that's very tension filled and creepy, when the cat stalks a drunken man through the village. Fulci is my favourite Italian director along with Dario Argento, Argento is held in much higher regard than Fulci, but I honestly feel that during Fulci's prime, he was more than a match for Argento. Sadly Fulci passed away in 1996, himself and Argento were talking about working together on a version of House of Wax, but Fulci died before the project could be made. As a fan of Italian horror, that would have been a dream come true.

The Black Cat is based on the famous Edgar Allen Poe story, but Fulci's version deviates quite a lot from Poe's version. It's very interesting that this version has the cat being controlled by Patrick Magee's Robert Miles, only for the cat to become stronger than him and turn the tables on its "master". The gore is toned down dramatically from Fulci's other work of the time, but what is here is all done well. There's the man who crashes through his windscreen, the rotting corpses of the couple who get locked in the room, a man gets skewered on some metal rods, and a close-up of a woman's face as it burns and melts when her house catches fire. I really enjoyed how Fulci used constant close-ups of his actors to convey emotions, several times we see Magee and the cat looking at each other, and by simply showing just the eyes it adds menace and tension to the scenes. The disc released by Shameless has really good picture quality for the most part, purple horizontal lines down the right hand side of the screen appear on several occasions, but I'm inclined to believe that's a fault on the original print and not a fault of an otherwise excellent transfer. The DVD comes with a trailer for the film, along with trailers for other cult films released by Shameless, but sadly there's nothing else. I'd love Shameless to start releasing these great obscure movies with more extras, but it's wonderful that they're releasing these previously hard to find films in good transfers in the first place, so the lack of any meaningful extras can be forgiven.

The Black Cat isn't one of Fulci's best horror movies, his best are the more famous Zombie Flesh Eaters, The Beyond, City of the Living Dead and The House by the Cemetery. This is a very atmospheric, fast paced, exciting movie that differs greatly from those other films mentioned. If you're a fan of his gore soaked zombie films, I'd recommend The Black Cat if you want to see something a little different from one of the finest Italian horror/giallo directors of all time.
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on 15 June 2012
Gorley, Scotland Yard detective and American photographer Jill Trevers investigate a series of bizarre deaths in a small English village which are connected to a local professor Robert Miles who has the psychic ability to talk to dead spirits and somehow uses his gift to direct the entities to his pet black cat who becomes his instrument for revenge against those who have wronged him

I read that Lucio Fulci said that he really hated this film and that he only did it as a favour to the producer but I don't see why he disliked it so much considering it is very similar to his more famous films. It has all the supernatural elements he likes to implant in his stories and is as well directed as the majority of his films.

Patrick Magee is great as the scary Prof. Miles, he has a perfect spooky and evil look about him and he has got to have the longest eyebrows I have ever seen. Mimsy Farmer is okay as the American Journalist Jill Trevers and David Warbeck doesn't really do anything as Gorley. We also get brief appearances from genre regulars Al Cliver as a policeman and Bruno Corazzari as a drunk.

The death scenes are not as violent and gory as his other horror pictures but that doesn't mean they still aren't shocking. The sequences were the woman is set on fire in her own home, is well made and is as cringe worthy as in any other he has made in his movies.

Pino Donaggio composes a good score, the main theme tune played over the opening and end titles fits perfectly as the camera watches the black cat walk along roof tops, alleyways and the streets of this small isolated and spooky English village.

The story as expected is a little silly, doesn't really make sense and certain parts just aren't explained. It is however still a decent film that is worth watching for Fulci fans just don't expect a big dramatic climax at the end.
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on 30 July 2014
Decent attempt by Fulci to attempt an early 70's horror in the style of Hammer/Amicus. Holding back on the gore, although still very bloody and violent in parts, Fulci goes for atmosphere in a tale set in a quaint English village. I loved the fact that this village contains genre stalwart Al Cliver as a local English policeman.

Great cinematography by Fulci regular Sergio Salvati, who is on fine form with this one. Sadly their partnership was coming to an end and Fulci's films began to look cheaper and cheaper after this. Good performances all round although Ive never been a massive Mimsy Farmer fan but Patrick Magee is on fine form in what would have been his last film.

Worth checking out.
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on 30 October 2013
Immensly enjoyable film,concerning killer cats,Patrick Magee and David Warbeck. Lucio Fulci has gone for a great Hammer/Amicus feel with this one(at times it brought to mind the killer mog segment of Torture Garden.)Unfortunately unlike the two British studios,The Black Cat's Plot,such as it is,makes very little sense.Never mind,it's all part of the fun,along with a plethora of wandering accents,Magee's eyebrows and attempting to count how many cats were used during filming.Throw in some great atmospherics,excellent location and camera work and some hilarious dialogue and you've got me hooked.Pretty tame by Fulci's usual fare,if you're squeamish,skip the trailers!
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on 15 July 2015
Based on Edgar Allen Poe's short story an enjoyable film if its genre. I hadn't heard of Fulci before this who apparently specialised in gorefests. Not much here, but more of a thriller cat murder spree.
I suggest watching with your mates and have a drinking game around it. Eyes close-up one shot. Cat screaming one shot. Cat scratch down pint. Character with moustache speaks two shots. And so on......
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on 24 November 2001
This is probably one of my favourite Fulci films. Gone is the ultra sick content of Zombie Flesh Eaters and the notorious New York Ripper, and in it's place we have a feel that is nearest in stylistic theme to the Wicker Man. It patient and well-paced, and although the Poe adapted storyline leaves a lot to be desires it is rescued by some great performance, especially from the cat!! The DVD itself, whilst not replete with extras is great value for money, as you get a 40-minute interview with the maestro himself, and the film is presented in a nice widescreen transfer. What else can I say? The soundtrack is a killer too. Just watch out for the vanishing cat...
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on 24 June 2010
An unusually restraint film for a Fulci picture made in the early 1980s. A picturesque vision of gothic horror that's done in the style of an Italian gothic or Hammer horror film from the 1960s. I think Fulci's attempt here was to make a film in the manner of Hammer horror or Corman's Poe pictures, which would involve little of the director's usual gory antics. There are some violent scenes, and the most brutal scene in terms of gore or death is the one involving Lillian Grayson. Il Gatto Nero/The Black Cat(1980) relies more on atmosphere, mood, and tension, than gory set pieces, which was a change of tune for Fulci after the bloody violence of Zombie or City of The Living Dead. The basic plot of the film is that a Scotland yard detective (David Warbeck) and an American photographer (Mimsy Farmer) investigate a series of "accidents" in a quiet English village. All clues point to an eccentric local medium(Patrick Magee), but the real mystery is the connection between the psychic and the black cat that seems to show up at the scene of each crime. Lacking the trademark Fulci gore(what there is is very brief), the film instead focuses on atmosphere. There are a few nice touches (in widescreen format the cat's eye view stalking scenes and the close ups of character's eyes to show emotion work very well), but what keeps the mood from ever really taking off is the cat itself. Given enough screen time to be billed as a full cast member, Fulci never really succeeds in making the animal look possessed or menacing. The gore still can't be ignored though, as we're treated to impalement, skin-melting fires, a nasty car accident and multiple virulent cat-attacks! The sequence in which the feline stalks (and kills) a drunk villager who saw too much is almost like a lesson in genuine tension. Patrick Magee ("A Clockwork Orange" and multiple B-horror classics) looks familiar with his role of crazy cat owner and Mimsy Farmer (Autopsy) is very good as the American photographer unraveling the supernatural mystery. To finish up, there are some neat and unexpected plot twists, a moody score and some very imaginative camera-work. Although visually less overpowering than Fulci's other contemporary achievements, "the Black Cat" surely ranks amongst his best work. The ending remains fantastic, no matter how many times I've seen it already in other Gothic horror movies. Recommended bigtime!.
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on 13 August 2013
Surprise surprise, Lucio Fulci did indeed make a horror film with next to no gore.
The Black Cat for the most part is very good, with good solid performances all round. Tails off (pardon the pun) in places, but keeps you interested overall.

Not Fulci's greatest work, but well worth buying.
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on 20 February 2014
A Violent Cat in the film that would in real life have to be put down. The film however is good to watch plenty of suspense, set in a beautiful English Village, Patrick Magnee the villain, a reporter interested in the goings on. Just need to watch it for yourself.
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on 28 July 2014
Rather silly and like an extended episode of Hammer house of horrors or Tale of the unexpected. Funny in a bad way
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