Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cat on the Brain (1990)

**1/2 (out of four stars)

Cat on the Brain is one of those flicks that took me three times to view. It was just a hard film to get into. Naturally, when the human mind can't grasp onto something that it deems "confusing", or "bizarre", we arrogantly throw it to the side - letting the film bury itself with dust. However, respecting Lucio Fulci - the director and the man - I had to give this film a fair shot.

Many fans of Fulci will name his most notable works first. Films like: Zombie, City of the Living Dead, The Beyond and House by the Cemetery have given him (like H. G. Lewis) the nickname, The Godfather of Gore. These films have also given him the notoriety that he deserves. And although Cat on the Brain is a very different film from the above mentioned, it's still one every Fulci fan should seek out.

Cat on the Brain is said to be Fulci's 8 1/2 or Eraserhead. The film is a self referential piece that depicts Lucio Fulci as himself - a director that is gradually failing to differentiate his films from reality. As his psychosis spins rapidly out of control, Fulci seeks the help from a psychiatrist. However, the psychiatrist has problems of his own. His marriage is failing, so killing is his way to vent, I guess. The Psychiatrist goes on a killing rampage (that resembles the violence in Fulci's films), and is sure that everyone will target Fulci because he makes disgusting movies. See the reference there?

I mentioned above that this movie was different from most of Fulci's other horror films. However, there is still tons of gore for all you gore hounds to feast your eyes on. The movie within the movie, depicts some of the more grotesque gore, with a chain saw as the weapon of choice. A piece of meat is cut out of a thigh from a cadaver and then fried up and eaten just like that of a succulent stake. Yummy! The psychiatrist who does most of the killing in the film has some pretty great scenes too. The gore is excellent in some of the more prominent "reality" parts of the film.

This film has somewhat of a commentary to it as well. In this movie the psychiatrist is the killer and tries to get Fulci blamed for his crimes, because of the films he makes. In interviews (that are actually on the disc from Grindhouse Releasing) Fulci clearly states his disdain for psychiatrists. It also says something about the way ordinary audience members perceive filmmakers of the horror genre. They're often looked down upon by mundane movie goers. They couldn't have emotions, could they? No, they're evil and they make trashy, sadomasochist films. I say keep making the trash and I'll keep watching.

Thanks to Grindhouse Releasing, this film is brought to you with a bunch of extra goodies. There is a "Heroic" appearance by Lucio Fulci at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors back in '96, just shortly before his passing. There is also another great interview with the Maestro about his opinions on thrillers and horror films. It's a very candid and very straight forward interview. Any Fulci fan will love it. There's also another interview with actor, Brett Halsey. And much, much more. Let's just say Grindhouse did it right! My money was well spent.

Starring: Lucio Fulci, David L. Thompson and Malisa Longo

Directed by: Lucio Fulci

Screenplay by: Lucio Fulci, Giovanni Simonelli and Antonio Tentori

87 mins


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