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The Black Cat (1981)
"Black Cat (Gatto nero)" (original title)

5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 1,513 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 41 critic

Robert Miles is a psychic that can communicate with the dead. He also has the ability to control the mind of his cat (who incidentally is black). He uses the cat to take vengeance upon his ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (story), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Black Cat (1981)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Patrick Magee ...
Prof. Robert Miles
...
Jill Trevers
David Warbeck ...
Inspector Gorley
Al Cliver ...
Sgt. Wilson
Dagmar Lassander ...
Lillian Grayson
Bruno Corazzari ...
Ferguson
Geoffrey Copleston ...
Inspector Flynn
Daniela Doria ...
Maureen Grayson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lucio Fulci ...
Doctor (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Robert Miles is a psychic that can communicate with the dead. He also has the ability to control the mind of his cat (who incidentally is black). He uses the cat to take vengeance upon his enemies. A photographer who happen to be working for the local constables begins to notice cat scratches on some of the accident victims that are turning up. She pays a visit to Magee (kitty just happens to be present) and conveys her suspicions of the cat's involvement in some of the local deaths. Kitty doesn't like this at all, and it's his turn to control the mind of owner Magee to take it's vengeance out. Written by Humberto Amador

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Flesh Ripping Felines! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

10 February 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Black Cat  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Professor Miles was intended for Donald Pleasence. See more »

Goofs

What appears to be fishing line can briefly be seen holding up the bats as they attack Jill. See more »

Quotes

[Sergeant Wilson sees Jill coming out of an underground crypt]
Sergeant Wilson: Miss, let me give you some advice, don't go down there anymore.
Jill Trevers: Why not?
Sergeant Wilson: My Grandad used to tell me when I was a lad that the dead like to be left alone. They're not very hospitable.
See more »

Connections

References Rear Window (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant Cinematography
2 May 2002 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

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(1979), The Smuggler(1980), and City of the Living Dead(1980).

Its not one of his best works, but it is a beautiful looking film, with some gracious camerawork, and impressive visuals. Based loosely on the Edgar Allen Poe short story, of which this film has no direct relationship to the plot of that horror story. The closet the film comes is during the sequence that comes near the very end of the picture. The climax is an encore of the climatic moment in Sette Note in Nero/Seven Notes in Black(1977). The POV of the cat prowling around during the opening credits scene is handled with visual spectre by Sergio Salvati.

The casting of Patrick Magee as Robert Miles is one of the best parts of The Black Cat(1980). Magee gives a performance that shows why he was a master in playing eccentric and mentally troubled characters in films like A Clockwork Orange(1971), and Marat/Sade(1970). One of five or six excellent actors to have a role in a Lucio Fulci film. He portrays in his character emotions of fear, hate, and menace just by his expressions of his face and eyes, which are more effectively presented when viewing the film in widescreen. Atmospheric and eerie use of its British locales that rivals that of Jorge Grau's Let Sleeping Corpses Lie(1974).

One scene, which reaches the dreamlike style of Fulci's other gothic pics from the early 80s is the moment when the house that Jill Travels lives in shakes, and rocks around in a frenzy after the hanging Miles cat. Its an eerie sequence that is one of the best in the film. Daniela Doria once again plays a character who comes to a gruesome end(seems to be her only function in a Fulci film). David Warbeck does ok as Inspector Gorley, but his performance here is nowhere near as good as in The Beyond(1981). The Mrs. Grayson death scene borders on the effective and ridiculous without moving totally into the realm of the latter.

Mimsy Farmer gives a bland performance here that is short of the good performances given by Catriona MacColl, who was better at making a Fulci's heroine a little more dimensional. The editing is smooth looking and fluid compared to the erratic editing of City of the Living Dead(1980), which was a weakness for that film. The death of Ferguson is crafted with hand shaking suspense and a creative payoff. Fulci's director is flamboyant and yet simple in the same time. Overall, an entertaining horror film that is one of Fulci's most underrated films, and one despite its flaws is worthwhile for anyone that loves Euro-horror, Fulci horror, or just horror films in general.


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