This week in our attic we dust off a lost gem from the Master of the gore film Lucio Fulci. While not his best film, it was his last and shows that this director can still sink his claws into his unsuspecting victims.
Title: Cat In the Brain
Available: Grindhouse Releasing- Very nice edition with tons of features.
The Plot: A horror director Lucio Fulci (playing himself) slowly starts to lose his grip on reality, which is presumably as a result of his years of making gory films. Each day it seems he is haunted by bloodsoaked visions. Lucio's day time nightmares become so bad he decides to seek the help of a shrink.
Meanwhile a psycho killer is stalking and killing people based on Fulci`s gruesome scenes.Is it really a mad man that is killing these people or has the king of splatter finally lost his mind or does his shrink have something to hide?
The Review: Years before "Wes Cravens New Nightmare" was made Fulci come out with Night Concert aka Cat in the Brain which broke the forth wall and cleverly blurred the line between reality and film. Oddly enough Lucio always maintained that Wes ripped off his idea for "New Nightmare" whether or not this is true or not, its still an interesting exercise in self referencing horror that would soon become common place with another Craven film "Scream"
This film is tailor made for fans of Lucio`s films but if your not big into Fulci you might find this film tedious and self indulgent. Not suggesting you don't give this a view, but if your new to Fulci and his work this would not be a good film to start with. Being a big fan of his work I at times found this film had some pacing issues. Footage used from his previous lesser known films are used excessively and fill like padding and doesn't move the story forward.
I love that fact that the film tackles the crack pot theory that years of watching (or in this case making) gory horror films will make you be violent yourself. In a twist of irony even the killer makes the comment about the false hood of this theory, very aware of this being that he is the madman. And to show you how ahead of its time this was, it was almost ten years before violent films and games came under attack after the tragic events of Columbine in 1999.
Anyone who knows anything about Lucio knows that his trade mark is a bloody one and as is expected this film pumps out the red stuff and plenty of it. Fans of his early work however may be disappointed by the cheesy effects that seem more to fit a TV movie then a feature film. Maybe this is due in part to the theme of a film within a film. There are still some inspired moments of carnage that will leave most splatter punks purring. This is commonly mistaken for his last film, but he made several more, his last being 1991`s "Door to Silence" Cat in the Brain may be a mixed bag, it`s a very fitting tribute to a filmmaker that blazed a trail for such films as Saw and Hostel. So let the damned cat out of the bag and sink your claws into this nasty little thrill ride.