Mad Patrick Magee: “We need each other. We are bound together by hatred. He wants to kill me.”
Incredulous Mimsy Farmer: “But he’s only a cat!”
Mad Patrick Magee: “Mmm. A cat… that sooner or later will kill me. And there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.”
SPOILERS after the black cat (though even if you know what’s going to happen, it doesn’t mean you won’t be left scratching your head. It’s a Lucio Fulci film.)
Lucio Fulci’s Black Cat, although “liberamente tratto dal raconto Il Gatto Nero de Edgar Allan Poe” is an atmospheric murder mystery with a few splashes of gore, set in a quiet English village, but a little confusing on the story front. Is the black cat acting out Magee’s murderous wishes, or is it simply a random psycho cat which likes to kill people?
And why does Magee need the cat to act out his wishes anyway, since he seems perfectly capable of knocking Mimsy Farmer unconscious and bricking her up in his cellar under his own steam? If the cat really can hypnotise its victims into crashing their cars, how come it lets Magee slip a Mickey Finn into its moggynosh? Can it really carry keys through locked doors, and teleport mysteriously from place to place? Does it come back from the dead, or not? And if it’s such an evil cat, why does it…? Oh, I give up.
What is incontrovertible is that Black Cat is a Major Cat Movie, and Sergio Salvato, unlike a lot of other cinematographers, knows how to film a black cat so you can actually see the cat, as opposed to a cat-shaped black hole; the cat gets many very fine close-ups. Salvato also gives us super footage of rural Buckinghamshire, some of which can be seen in this beautiful credits sequence set to Pino Donaggio‘s equally beautiful score. In terms of feline credits sequences, this surely ranks up there with the classic Saul Bass one from Walk on the Wild Side, already featured as CAT OF THE DAY 024.