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John’s Horror Corner: The Black Cat (1989; aka, Il gatto nero, Demons 6), yet another Italianreimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic story… but somehow with none of Poe’s story.

January 25, 2021

MY CALL: Less classy than Fulci’s The Black Cat (1981), but definitely more bonkers, this is yet another Italian adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s story. But really, we find basically none of Poe’s work in this movie outside of the lone warning of a black cat. Probably best left for fans of 80s Italian horror for its haphazard storytelling and zany effects. MORE MOVIES LIKE The Black Cat: For more movie adaptations of The Black Cat, go for The Black Cat (1981; Gatto nero), Two Evil Eyes (1990) and Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990). Fans of this wacky endeavor would likely enjoy more Fulcian gore in the form of City of the Living Dead (1980; aka Paura nella città dei morti viventi, The Gates of Hell), The Beyond (1981) and The House by the Cemetery (1981), which form Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy; and then Zombie (1979) and Demonia (1990).

Director Luigi Cozzi (Contamination, Starcrash, Paganini Horror) just might be taking even more liberties with Edgar Allan Poe’s story than even did Lucio Fulci (The Black Cat, City of the Living Dead, Zombie), which would make this second Italian adaptation of the story even more bonkers than Fulci’s first. This is as haphazard and bonkers as Italian horror comes, complete with occasionally terrible dialogue.

The colorful lighting and windows of the opening sequence cast an Argento-like giallo theme as we find Anne (Florence Guérin; Bad Girls, Bizarre) starring in a production of The Black Cat on her film set. But this film is clearly no passion of Anne’s, since she is so flattered when her husband Marc (Urbano Barberini; Gor I-II, Demons) offers her the lead in his new film. The role is of the witch Levana, the Mother of Tears from Dario Argento’s Suspiria de Profundis. Anne’s Black Cat co-star Nora (Caroline Munro; Maniac, Slaughter High, Don’t Open Till Christmas) desperately wants the role of Levana.

From the time Anne learns of her upcoming role of Levana (from 1980’s Inferno), she is haunted by the witch. Levana’s toad-like skin is covered in dense cysts from head to claw, and she spews green goop all over Anne. These nightmares are over-the-top ridiculous, and often when any sort of action or tension transpires it is accompanied by obnoxious mood-killing rock music.

It is at the estate of Marc’s intense film producer Leonard (Brett Halsey; Return of the Fly, Demonia) that we first see a black cat. But really, the black cat scenes are totally phoned-in and offer no substance to this already shoddy movie. There just happens to be a black cat and most of the deaths have nothing to do with a cat. To that point, occult professor Esther (Karina Huff; Voices from Beyond) warns that Levana is the most powerful witch to ever live. She admonishes our filmmakers only to die shortly thereafter in a rather spectacular chunk-spewing abdominal explosion. Among other special effects are writhing insect larvae (rotoscoped into Levana’s stationary face), a television explodes intestines and green slime, and Levana’s gross face and hands.

I feel the strong need to go on record. This is NOT a clever spin on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat. In fact, it has nothing to do with it. The fact that there is a sentence about black cats and witches using them as vessels does not forgive this most curious yet deliberate misnomer. Because of that, I’m comfortable saying this movie is stupid. I’d place it no better than 4th place among Black Cat movie adaptations, or maybe tied for 3rd with The Black Cat (1981), which also took some liberties but was clearly about a damned cat! Two Evil Eyes (1990) did a more satisfying job of it, whereas Tales from the Darkside: The Movie’s(1990) take on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat is untouchable in its greatness.

The end of this movie horrendously boring. But truly, fans of zany Italian horror will likely enjoy this. That said, it’s not getting my recommendation. Not when there are three better Black Cat movies.

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