Fulci’s next film is a very loose interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s story of the same name. The Black Cat centers on a psychic who specializes in communication with the dead. He also believes that he is able to control his murderous black cat’s mind. A spoiler-free plot synopsis is as simple as that: a homicidal black cat kills. The events surrounding the psychotic pairing of man and beast are under investigation by a detective from Scotland Yard, who recruits the help of an American photographer.
The framework of the film is really several parts in one: a creature feature, a loose interpretation of a literary classic, and partial elements of a giallo. Don’t get me wrong, the film as a whole is not a giallo, but it does contain similar elements. As a giallo would, The Black Cat has several twists toward the end that make it a very enjoyable finale. The gore is excellent, although it is toned down in comparison to several of his others. Perfect use of effects and cinematography throughout the movie create memorable images. And as usual, Fulci’s adept skill for storytelling comes through as he ties several elements from multiple Edgar Allan Poe stories into the film.
Overall, though it is not one of the most recognized Fulci films, it is a must-see for fans. That being said, this entry on his long resume is easily overshadowed by the two films that immediately surrounded it chronologically: City of the Living Dead (1980) and The Beyond (1981). And although I wouldn’t rank it nearly as high as those two, fans will certainly want to get their hands on The Black Cat.