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[tab title="Movie Review"]

Black Cat (1981) - Blu-ray Review


3 beersThere have been many adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe’s famous short story, but I have to admit that Lucio Fulci’s film is probably the most uneven of the batch. That’s not saying his take on The Black Cat isn’t without merit but, for horror fiends who really want to see where Fulci’s style gelled, this one isn’t exactly the place to start. What we have with 1981’s The Black Cat, now available with a 2k restoration on blu-ray thanks to Arrow Video, is an atmospheric cat’s eye view of victim stalking. It’s effective; it’s slinky with its use of long tracking shots; but the film is far from perfect.


Starring David Warbeck and Mimsy Farmer, The Black Cat is what happens when a Scotland Yard detective and an American photographer join forces to investigate a series of unfortunate events or accidents within a small English village. The tragedies begin to mount and the duo’s theories unravel as the clues point to the fact that these bizarre deaths aren’t accidents at all. Unfortunately, the local professor the murders lead to – a medium (Patrick Magee) with an unnatural connection to his cat – allude to abilities that transcend normal laws of physics.


Full of a good amount of atmosphere and tension, The Black Cat is never on autopilot even if its cast – especially Farmer – have to ham it up a fair amount of the time. When the cat isn’t on the prowl, the film is a bit too cheesy for its own good. Fulci might be known for his use of gore but here he lets the cat do most of the clawing and striking. Sure, we have deaths by impalement and car accidents and even rats get in on the action but the trademark Fulci gore is gone. The film – relying on the cat’s perspective for its attacks – simply doesn’t do much of anything apart from offering some detailed tracking shots.


Fans of Fulci’s work – especially The Beyond and City of the Living Dead – still bemoan the gore’s absence and, truthfully, the film could have benefitted from a sicker approach. He balances out his extreme facial close-ups with scenic shots times ten. Momentum killers for sure and while the change of pace is refreshing there’s still a sizable pothole the film fails to fill. Things here – including the idyllic English town – are far too pastoral for the film’s own good. It’s as if Fulci was trying to send home a postcard with this film. Wish you were here and whatnot salutations signed on the back of this bucolic setting.


With little of the sticky red stuff, The Black Cat simply paws at its prey. Thankfully, Sergio Salvati's skills at photography and Pino Donaggio’s epic score provide this feline’s nine lives.


[tab title="Film Details"]

Black Cat (1981) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
92 mins
: Lucio Fulci
Lucio Fulci
Patrick Magee, Mimsy Farmer, David Warbeck
: Horror
Flesh Ripping Felines!
Memorable Movie Quote: "My Grandad used to tell me when I was a lad that the dead like to be left alone. They're not very hospitable."
World Northal
Official Site:
Release Date:
February 10, 1984
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 5, 2016
Synopsis: A Scotland Yard detective and a nosy American photographer investigate a series of bizarre deaths in a small English village which are connected to a local literacy professor whom has the psychic ability to talk to dead spirits and somehow uses his gift to direct the entities to his pet black cat who becomes his instrument for revenge against those who have wronged him.


[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

Black Cat (1981) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - April 5, 2016
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Mono 1.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: A

Courtesy of British distributors Arrow Video, the 1080p transfer of Fulci’s film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and has been fully restored in 2K. The results are vibrant, strong, and definitely worth owning. Enjoy those early 80s fashions because – especially on blu-ray – there’s no denying that this was a definite period of fashion transition. Clothing is tight, ribbed, and full of textures. Colors are saturated and black levels are strong. Contrast is good. Grain is also strong, never dipping in quality. And, with lots of English countryside details filling the screen, there’s no disappointment to be had with the visual upgrade efforts. There is only a standard audio track - English LPCM 2.0 (Stereo) – but it is more than sufficient for the release.



  • Chris Alexander, Fangoria’s editor-in-chief (now retired), provides a fan’s reflection of the movie. It’s a fun listen.

Special Features:

Arrow Video offer fans a bevy of supplemental material with this release. First up is film historian Stephen Thrower’s reflection on the movie and a look at the original location of the film’s shoot. Next is a look back at actress Dagmar Lassander’s career in film. An archive interview – a lengthy one at that – conducted by Thrower inside Warbeck’s home is the final item. A theatrical trailer wraps up the release. With newly commissioned reversible art, this is another strong release from the British company.

  • From Poe into Fulci(25 min)
  • In The Paw-Prints of The Black Cat (8 min)
  • Frightened Dagmar (21 min)
  • At Home with David Warbeck (70 min)
  • Theatrical Trailer


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