THE BLACK CAT
(Il Gatto Nero di Park Lane)
The Black Cat is one of Lucio Fulcis lesser films indeed, The Black Cat could be the point from which Fulcis decline into uninspired hackwork could be measured. Part of the films failing is that its title nemesis is not threatening. There are some of Fulcis trademark gore sequences a drunk driven by the cat to fall onto spikes, two teenagers bodies gnawed by rats but they seem half-hearted and lack anything that remains in the imagination like the intestine vomiting or the harrowing pickaxe attack on the person in the coffin in City of the Living Dead, or the eyeball-impaling in Zombie Flesh Eaters.
Unfortunately, devoid of its gore artistry, there is not much else for a Lucio Fulci film to fall back on. It certainly cant be the plot. This bears almost nothing in common with the 1843 Edgar Allan Poe story (although in all fairness Poe stories tend to be a single effect and most feature-length Poe adaptations have to invent their own backstory). Fulci and co-writer Biagio Proietti add a stew of elements that include a clairvoyant and clearly demented Patrick Magee taping noises in the graveyard in the hope of picking up communication from the dead. The black cat, in one fascinatingly unexplored theme an idea later echoed in Monkey Shines (1988) functions as Patrick Magees repressed id, going out to kill for all the suppressed anger and isolation he feels. The essence of the Edgar Allan Poe Poe story with the black cat giving away the bricked-up location of the murdered body makes a brief, but hardly important, appearance toward the end.
Lucio Fulcis other genre films are: Perversion Story (1969), Lizard in a Womans Skin (1971), Dont Torture the Duckling (1972), Dracula in the Provinces (1975), The Psychic (1977), Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979), City of the Living Dead/Gates of Hell (1980), The Beyond (1981), The House By the Cemetery (1981), The New York Ripper (1981), Manhattan Baby/Eye of the Evil Dead/The Possessed (1982), Conquest (1983), Rome 2072 A.D. (1983), Murderock (1984), The Devils Honey/Dangerous Obsession (1986), Aenigma (1987), Touch of Death/When Alice Broke the Mirror (1988), Zombi 3 (1988), Demonia (1990), Nightmare Concert (1990), Voices from Beyond (1991) and Door to Silence (1992).