*/**** Image C+ Sound B
starring Patrick Magee, Mimsy Farmer, David Warbeck, Al Cliver
screenplay by Lucio Fulci, Biagio Proietti, Sergio Salvati
directed by Lucio Fulci
by Walter Chaw Ostensibly based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story of the same name, Lucio Fulci's The Black Cat is actually more akin to John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos (brought to film twice under the name Village of the Damned), with the titular feline taking the place of the telepathic tykes of Wyndham's apocalyptic fable. Like the children of Wyndham's tale, the evil cat is a physical by-product of the Freudian id, in this case a creature/familiar that, predictably, runs amuck. Fans of the "Godfather of Gore," Lucio Fulci, and the Italian horror genre (and specifically the giallo sub-genre of the same) will doubtless be disappointed in what amounts to be a staid amalgam of lurid Hammer Studios plots and settings. Patrick Magee's performance as the human counterpart to the evil pussycat constitutes the best reason to see an otherwise lifeless gothic horror film. A role Vincent Price or Christopher Plummer would have played once, Magee is appropriately fervent and pitched to campy perfection.