Lucio Fulci’s self-parody, Nightmare Concert (a.k.a. A Cat in the Brain), opens on the filming of Touch of Death. The Italian godfather of gore stars as himself in a story that blurs the lines between his films and his personal life. As he begins to become concerned with his inability to separate the two, he visits a psychiatrist for help. Unfortunately it would appear that the psychiatrist has more devious plans: to exact a killing spree of his own and frame Fulci.
A Cat In the Brain is a truly fascinating watch, especially for Fulci fans. With clips from his other films Touch of Death and Sodoma’s Ghost blended together with clips from films that he had a lesser part in and scored with music from The Beyond, it is a swan song of sorts (although not his final work). It’s also intriguing to see Fulci portray an unstable form of himself.
Although most the effects and gore are not original to A Cat In the Brain, the compilation of a handful of new gore scenes and all the best scenes from the other mentioned films makes this one of the most stomach-churning endeavors in film history. Since that is what Fulci is known for, that’s what makes this film so great.
I’ve read several discussions over the artistic aspects such as metafictional components, social statements of movie violence, and even a horror-director stereotype. I’m particularly fascinated with the stereotype discussions. Perhaps Fulci was playing on the image that many viewers might develop of him, or even playing with the idea of self-portrayal in any form of art. I also find a good bit of irony in the fact that the film takes blatant shots at the concern that film violence causes the viewer to be violent, and upon its release A Cat In the Brain was banned in the UK and Germany.
Fulci fans will certainly want to get their hands on this film. As for all other horror fans, I would suggest it on a case-by-case basis because it is a very untypical movie. Chances are, if you’re curious after reading this review, you’ll find something to enjoy in it.