Tuesday, March 3

A Cat in the Brain (1990)

A.K.A. Un gatto nel cervello / Nightmare Concert
Directed by Lucio Fulci
93 Minutes (uncut) / Screen Entertainment (U.K./PAL/R0) / Unmatted Full Frame

Horror film maestro Lucio Fulci seems to be suffering from some work-related stress. Troubled with horrible visions of slaughter encroaching upon his everyday life; he seeks the help of a local psychiatrist. The only problem is Fulci's sick delusions intensify after the twisted doctor hypnotizes him in an attempt to cover up his own nefarious acts.

Interesting curiosity that squeezes every last drop of usability out of several prior, mediocre Italian gorefests. The real reason to see this, besides the gore, is Lucio Fulci playing himself. The film goes long way to humanizing the director to the viewer. The veneer of the hype and myth is broken down and we're presented with a "character" that most likely isn't too far from reality. There's something a bit disarming seeing him walking about the famed Italian studio Cinecittà and rural Rome. Fulci's acting is limited, but he doesn't embarrass him either, supposedly stepping in the role after the casted actor couldn't for whatever reason. It's doubtful the film could have worked as well with any other person as the lead.

Otherwise, the film is still so-so in the shakiest terms possible. Much of the "film-within-a-film" bits barely make sense and there's many instances of characters being in all-too convenient places. There's no build to anything, with the latter half feeling like an assemblage of sequences just to fill out the runtime. Yet the film is better than the others it "borrows" from and includes the best gory chunks from them. The last bit before the credits is nicely inspired when considering everything Fulci and his work mean to horror fans across the world today.

This DVD represents a crazy slice of BBFC ratings madness. The film (under the "A Cat in the Brain" title) was effectively banned in the United Kingdom when the board rejected it for classification in 1999. A mere four years later, the board passed it fully uncut with an 18 certificate under its original Italian title. I guess they actually watched it the second time.

Film: 5/10
DVD Picture: 7/10 (despite some encoding issues, the source is outstandingly film-like)
DVD Sound: 7/10 (English Stereo)

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