This movie transplants Edgar Allan Poe's classic short story to 1965 Texas! Lou (Robert Frost) and Diana (Robyn Baker) are happily married. She buys a black cat for him as a pet. He becomes obsessed with the cat and ignores her. Then he (inexplicably) becomes a violent alcoholic...
The movie gets pretty incoherent from then on. Why Lou is an alcoholic is never explained. He also viciously attacks the cat he supposedly loves and then has a complete nervous breakdown! Still, if you ignore logic or continuity, this movie is OK. It has some very graphic gore for its time (an axing at the end is particularly gruesome) and it's actually pretty well done. There's also some inappropriate (but not bad) rock numbers worked in--there's a real nice visual gag on the second number. The acting is pretty good. Frost and Baker were pretty obviously hired for their good looks but aren't that bad. Baker has her moments and Frost is actually pretty good (even if he does overdo it a few times). And it does have a real nice ending.
Taking a look at a poll being held on IMDb's Classic Film board for the best titles of 1963,I noticed that a fellow IMDb'er mentioned a film whose title appeared to be a rift on Edgar Allen Poe's famous story The Black Cat.Looking around for the movie,I was delighted to stumble upon a DVD from a company called Something Weird,which unexpectedly included a fun sounding bonus feature,which led to me getting ready to find out how lucky this black cat could be.
Celebrating their wedding anniversary, Diana gets her husband Lou a cat which they name Pluto.Hoping that the cat will heal some of the money woes which have been inflicted upon him,Diana is shocked to discover that instead of making their life better,Pluto appears to be making everything worse,with Lou drinking and becoming violent towards Diana.Feeling that his life is running out of control,Lou attempts to kill the cat,but finds out to his horror that the cat has gotten to the blood-red cream first.
View on the film:
Shooting in stark B&W,writer/director Harold Hoffman transfers Poe's story to Texas so that he can give it a deep-fried Gothic Horror atmosphere,with Hoffman covering the couple's house in dark hues,which builds a gradually fear of a dark shadow covering the house.Along with the brittle chill,Hoffman shows a real skill in timing the moments of gore,thanks to Hoffman delivering them at the precise moment that Lou and Diana's relationship is on the edge.
For the screenplay of the film,Hoffman allows the paranoid horror to slowly roll into Diana (played by a pretty Robyn Baker) and Lou's (played by a wonderfully stern Robert Frost) house,as Diana begins to witness the changes that Pluto causes on Lou,as they both start to find out how unlucky this black cat will be for them.
One of the closer adaptions of the Edgar Allen Poe tale. Though not one of my favorite adaptions of the story it was better then a thought it would be being a low budget B movie basically. Not that I don't like B movies I just didn't think it could compare to the Karloff and Lugosi version but it was actually close to it because the other version was less on track with the Poe story.
I saw this movie when it was first released; at this time, almost 35 years ago. I was all of 11 years old and found it horrifying. It is the only movie I have ever seen where I had to leave the theater during certain scenes. I doubt now that I would be that scared, but I have nevery forgotten this move. I have never seen it since that time. I cannot find it on video, nor can I even find a review of it in any of the ubiquitous movie-review catalogs. It's as if this movie never existed. If anyone knows anything at all about this movie, I would appreciate very much hearing from you.
BLACK CAT, THE (1966) D: Harold Hoffman (SPOILERS)
**1/2 (of ****)
Cheap but fun, with cool Sixties tunes ("Sinnerman" is a favorite), sung by a group with eye patches! "Cruelty to Animals" activists might get up in arms about the mistreatment of a cat this time around. Great axe-in-the-head sequence! Bad acting from the leading man.