Black Cat (The) AKA Il Gatto Nero
R0 - United Kingdom - Shameless Screen Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (20th June 2013).
The Film

***This is a technical review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

We all know director Lucio Fulci for his depraved nasties like New York Ripper, but if you're wondering why in France he's held in the same esteem as Hitchcock, then the deliciously eerie The Black Cat is a great place to start.

Inspired by the Edgar Allen Poe tale, this black cat is a malevolent moggy that stalks through a sleepy English town appearing to fulfil the murderous wishes of its owner, the sinister psychic medium Professor Miles (Patrick Magee in fine deranged form).

What Professor Miles has not reckoned on is his cat turning him into the next mouse to slowly kill! High on gothic atmospheric thanks to the moody cinematography of Sergio Salvati, this unusual Fulci tale of claustrophobic terror is a little seen gem that compares to the best output of the Hammer and Amicus studios.

Video

"The Black Cat" is released by independent British label Shameless Screen Entertainment in the United Kingdom, in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, which has been anamorphically enhanced. The picture is generally good, but there are several problems which have obviously been inherited from the master.

The first problem with the transfer you'll likely notice, is the vertical scratch that makes its first two appearances at the four minute mark as the camera follows the cat up the stairs. Each moment lasts just several seconds but it is an unfortunate scratch that also rears its head at the 36th, 40th and 71st minute when at its most visible. The transfer also features numerous minor scratches throughout, as well as some specks of dust here and there. This is not unexpected considering this is a low budget eighties horror. There is also some minor judder during several scenes, but it was at its worst when it happens twice in quick succession during the 55th minute.

Thankfully, there are just as many pros to this transfer. At the 32nd and 56th minutes, there are some excellent facial close-ups that would not look out of place on a current big budget movie. Even better, is the facial close-up in the 63rd minute, as Mimsy Farmer looks through the fence - where every minor blemish in her make-up can be seen, and her eyes have an eerily high level of detail. Colours never look soft or washed out and apart from the occasional bit of darkness in more enclosed shots, shows considerable sharpness. I never noticed any sort of edge enhancement or aliasing, so it appears that without the inherited problems from the master, Shameless have done a bang up job.

The disc is region 0 encoded, PAL, and runs 88:00.

Audio

There is just a single audio track included here:
- English Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono

Overall, the track is adequate, but like the transfer, does have a couple of problems. The biggest of these problems is the occasional dropout and zip, most noticably at 10:07 during a scene change. There is also some minimal background hiss during some scenes and at times, the dialogue changes pitch ever so-slightly. Still, I've owned (and do own) several releases of this movie, and this is one of the best tracks this film has received. Dialogue is always clear, and apart from a couple of scratches to the score in the 58th minute, it's serviceable, maybe even better than should be expected.

No subtitles are included.

Extras

Just a few trailers...

Theatrical trailer (2:55)
Start-up/bonus trailers for "The New York Ripper", "Manhattan Baby", "Night Train Murders", "Flavia the Heretic", "Ratman" and "Venus in Furs"

Overall

The Film: C+ Video: C+ Audio: C+ Extras: E Overall: C

 


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