The Black Cat
by Shrub 3/10/05
I’ve watched most of Lucio Fulci’s horror movies, but it has probably been about two years since I’ve sat down with one. So right off the bat, we’re alternating between seeing things from the cat’s point of view with the camera swooping around, and extreme close ups of the cat’s and its first victim’s eyes, and it’s a seriously nostalgic experience. With the familiar but unique camera work, about 3 minutes in I’m reminded why I (and so many others) have loved Fulci flicks so much.
After the deadly kitty introduction, we meet Jill (Mimsy Farmer) roaming a graveyard and taking photographs. She sees an open crypt and ventures down for a closer look. She finds an odd looking little piece of equipment there before a local cop recommends against exploring down there. In a local pub she learns about the town nut, Professor Miles (played in show stealing fashion by Patrick Magee). Turns out, the device she found was a microphone and the professor is a type of medium who spends his evenings in the cemetery recording the dead.
A young couple is introduced in order to meet a gruesome demise before Jill ventures out to Miles’ residence where he is found surrounded by large whirring cassettes emitting the voices of the dead. She returns his microphone and asks him about his work before he tries to hypnotize her but is interrupted by the cat violently attacking him! Jill asks the professor why he possesses such a monstrous beast and Miles explains that “sooner or later he will kill me and I can’t prevent it.” And that they are “bound together by hatred.” Got that?
Apparently, he wants others dead too. We are treated to airtight room suffocation, drunk impalement and a close up of a melting face. So much action in such a small town results in a visit from Scotland Yard in the form of Inspector Gorley, played by David Warbeck. Jill and Gorley begin to put the pieces together and even Miles decides something must be done …“If he was human, we’d hang him”… and he does actually try but it sets off a scene of poltergeist chaos followed by a man versus beast battle to the finish.