The Black Cat (1981) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Black Cat (1981)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Italian goremeister Lucio Fulci applies his characteristic touch to the Edgar Allan Poe tale (of which very little remains intact) to tell the story of a deranged, wheelchair-bound English psychic (Patrick Magee) who can record the voices of the dead on tape, and apparently possesses the ability to channel evil spirits into the body of his cat -- which he then commands to take vengeance on his enemies. When a freelance crime photographer (Mimsy Farmer) notices traces of feline claw-marks on the bodies of accident victims, her own investigations eventually lead her to Magee's naughty kitty... leading to a confusing climax wherein it is learned (sort of) who's really in charge. Remarkably restrained horror from the man behind such flesh-rending epics as Zombie and The Gates of Hell, this is also nearly incomprehensible, possessing a nightmarish lack of cohesion that is more irritating than frightening. In fact, the most horrifying thing about this film is Fulci's aggressive tendency to shoot super-tight widescreen close-ups of Magee's eyes and nose.
Rating:
R (violence, language, nudity)
Genre:
Art House & International , Drama , Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Anchor Bay Entertainment

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Cast

Patrick Magee
as Prof. Robert Miles
Mimsy Farmer
as Jill Trevers
David Warbeck
as Inspector Gorley
Al Cliver
as Sgt. Wilson
Pier Luigi Conti
as Policeman
Dagmar Lassander
as Mrs. Grayson
Geoffrey Copleston
as Inspector Flynn
Daniela Dorio
as Maureen
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Critic Reviews for The Black Cat

All Critics (4)

This is a decent Fulci film, delivering all the sleaze and some of the splatter you can expect from the Italian goremeister.

Full Review… | August 4, 2008
ESplatter

...much of the film consists of long, interminable sequences in which not much happens...

Full Review… | October 23, 2005
Reel Film Reviews

Even for a Fulci film, this is pretty lame.

August 27, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Black Cat

½

The relation between Fulci's film and Poe's story is minimal. The story of the film is a bit murky, but there are some brilliant scenes. The cat's eye view shots are classic. Not one of Fulci's best, but still an interesting piece.

Al Miller
Al Miller
½

After all the groundbreaking gore epics such as The Beyond, Zombi 2 and The House by the Cemetery, Fulci moves away from the genre, and directs a different type of horror film. This is a supernatural gothic horror tale, one that impressive. Although this film lacks any of the gore of previous Fulci works, this is still a bloody little film. However, this is a fine change of style for Fulci, and proves that he's able to do something different. If you're a diehard fan of the director, you'll probably enjoy this one. But watch this with an open mind because this film doesn't possess any of the usual tricks used by Fulci. This doesn't make Black Cat a bad film, but it is different. I personally feel it was a good thing for Fulci to make this film because it varied his work a bit more. This is an underrated film that shouldn't be dismissed so quickly. Just because it lacks the gore effects, doesn't make this a bad film. I very much enjoyed the film, and thought it was a fine supernatural horror yarn. With this film, he succeeds at delivering effective chills. The cast do a fine job here, and the standout performance is Patrick Magee in the role of Mr. Miles. This is a brilliant piece of horror, even if it's not perfect, it showcases a director who's able to break away from his traditional trademarks which made such an icon. This is a film that really doesn't deserve the flack it has received. If you love Fulci's work, then give this one a shot, and remember a little variety in a director's bag of tricks is usually a good thing. Black Cat is a very good film that delivers the chills.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

2.1/10 Lucio Fulci possesses this amazing, fascinating, one-of-a-kind ability to take gore, something that is meant to entertain, and make it just-plain boring. It's like if you've seen one of this guy's movies, you have seen them all. Frequently silly, under plotted, and brainless; Fulci just keeps getting worse and worse, as it would seen. Maybe half of his filmography shouldn't have made it anywhere outside of his home-land after all; I mean, I can live without movies like "The Beyond", which was poorly written and not quite as surreal as I expected it to be, and worst of all, borderline pretentious. I like films like "Don't Torture a Duckling" and "Zombie", but this; this is just absurd. The film I'm talking about is "The Black Cat", Fulci's adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's story of the same name. I suppose it's loosely based on Poe's literary tale; but none the less, it's not a completely original work, and it shows. The movie just sucks, and that's pretty much it. I wouldn't watch it, and I can't imagine who would. It's boring, tedious, lame, goofy, and forgettable. It has some style, but what's style without substance or artistry? Fulci is no artist; and he never will be. His films aren't surreal, artistic, or particularly interesting more than half of the time. I've disliked nearly everything I've seen out of this guy, and "The Black Cat" is one of his worst flicks yet. So basically a cat is being possessed by lost souls courtesy of its master, a psychic, to murder people by scratching them, sending them hurling towards their even more unfortunate death. If you like that kind of stuff as far as gory deaths go, then "The Black Cat" is the movie for you. On the other hand, if you want a movie that has a story to tell, or has any REAL substance whatsoever, then you may want to look elsewhere. I have no problem with the Lucio Fulci fans of the world enjoying the film, for it was made specifically for them, but I hate how the guy's a filmmaker who thinks his audience is full of idiots. We are not idiots, or at least, a good amount of us aren't. To its credit, the gore scenes are pretty mediocre, but as I mentioned earlier, they still bored me to death. Fulci lived for his fans, the kind who liked what he did, but that doesn't mean that all his works are respectable. I suppose I don't mind Lucio Fulci's body of work, as he enjoyed making these mediocre-to-just-plain-awful gore flicks, but I'm no gorehound, but I do like horror films, and "The Black Cat" has a distractingly bad sense of style, and an even worse lack of storytelling skills. There's nothing to see here. Just like there was nothing to see from "Manhattan Baby" or "The New York Ripper". Move along, people.

Ryan Marshall
Ryan Marshall

Super Reviewer

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