The Black Cat
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
Written by Peter Ruric “suggest by” a story by Edgar Allen Poe
Content warning: animal killed off screen
So this film is basically what Manos the Hands of Fate wanted to be. It’s the same kind of ‘you’re stranded in the wilderness and you have to take shelter in this weird ass house’ storyline. And the people who live in the house just happen to be involved in some dark doings.
You know you’re in for fun when both Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi are in it.
This movie is exactly what you’re expecting it to be. It actually gave me really big flashbacks to when the Incredibly Strange Film Festival used to be a thing at the Paramount Theatre in Wellington. This is just the kind of weird old movie they’d have dug out and screened.
I remember going to see an old Vincent Price horror there one year (which felt very similar), I must’ve been a student or just out of university. It was House on Haunted Hill and it was a bit more on the batty side than Black Cat was. But I loved the feeling of going to the theatre and seeing some of my similarly geeky friends, or seeing people way cooler than me, or just seeing a whole lot of people in for some schlocky good times. The screenings were often big on audience participation with people throwing out one liners or cheering and booing. It was a big thrill if you made a joke and other people laughed at it, although not all the one liners were particularly witty.
I suspect this film would be more enjoyable with some friends and some drinks, as it is it’s a pretty stock standard horror with a satan worshipping cult and a narrow escape for our lead couple. There’s some grisly bits, some gore but nothing compared to a horror movie made today.
Does it make me love the people? Sure, although they’re all so two dimensional. Joan and Peter are our heroes and we’re rooting for them. Gotta love Bela Lugosi as well.
Bechdel test: There’s Joan and Karen and although a few of the unnamed women in white kidnap Joan, we never see them talk to each other.
Peter: this is a very tricky house, you know. The kind of place where I’d like to have company.
Joan: what happened last night? Did I do anything silly?
Peter: Silly? how could you do anything that wasn’t entirely lovely?
State of Mind: I mean, this was fine. It didn’t blow my mind, but I might be tempted to grab a couple of friends and some drinks and watch it again for the laughs. Probably I’d choose House on Haunted Hill instead just because it had a higher rate of WTF-ery going on.