Monday, October 19, 2009

The Black Cat

I don't think I've seen a work adapted into movies as many times as The Black Cat has. Lucio Fulci did a version (additionally, his giallo Seven Notes in Black owes a lot to Poe's story), Dario Argento did a version for his half of Two Evil Eyes, Stuart Gordon did it as an episode of Masters of Horror, Sergio Martino's best-ever-titled giallo (namesake of my horror movie marathon) Your Vice is a Locked Door and Only I Have the Key is a loose adaptation.

This version may be the loosest of them all. Bela Lugosi, with a newlywed couple in tow, goes to visit his old friend Boris Karloff who turns out to be some sort of Satanist who wants to sacrifice the wife to the lord of the underworld.

Like Rue Morgue, The Black Cat has some nice atmosphere and some weird touches but doesn't add up to much; what little it has going for it isn't helped by its overly talky plot and lack of a memorable set piece.

Directed Edgar G. Ulmer went on to direct the weirdo, low budget noir classic Detour, but The Black Cat shows little of Detour's spunk or alluring peculiarity.

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