Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Cat In The Brain (1990)

Lucio Fulci's demented pseudo memoir is a hell of a viewing experience. The idea is ingenious and ever so slightly cheeky, as much of the film is made up of clips of earlier works by Fulci, all tied together with original footage that tells the story of a horror film director going a bit mad. The director, called Lucio Fulci in the film, is played by, erm, Lucio Fulci himself, and is bloody and weird, as well as just bloody weird.

The fictional version of Fulci is hallucinating murderous acts inspired by the gore of his films, and as the film progresses he becomes convinced that he is responsible for a series of murders.

The English dub on the disc I watched is laughable, but the film holds the attention nonetheless. Scenes of manic ultra violence, orgies, bodies being chainsawed to pieces, people being murdered and countless other nastiness are intercut with footage of an old man losing his marbles in the name of art.

Cat In The Brain is far from your average horror film, and has been banned in several countries for years since its original release. The glorification of the gore and sleaze in this film does being to light the psychological effect that making these things must have on people after a while.

Cat In The Brain could be seen as Lucio Fulci's attack on censorship. Following so many of his films being cut to ribbons by the censors, this could be taken as a direct response to their deeds, as this film is so ludicrously obscene at times that it defies belief (and thus it couldn't really be censored as the resulting film would be about 5 minutes long). Cannibalism, flying innards, brains being chomped on, eyeballs exploding out of heads and more are fired at your from your screen, and more besides. watch this at 3am on your own with the lights off, and see how well you sleep for the weeks ahead.

Taken on another level, cat In the Brain is a cheap, relentless cash in and rush job, a 'Greatest Hits' package with some added bells and whistles. However, it is much more than that would suggest. While it does feature a ton of footage from his other films ('The Beyond' for example), it is cut together in way that is at times deeply unsettling, as well as fascinating. There are scenes from his films that are intercut with footage of Fulci 'directing' the scenes as they happen, which works really well in the context of this film.

As a film in its own right, cat In the Brain will confuse the hell out of you if you're not familiar with who Lucio Fulci was and the films he created, but for horror fans who know what to expect from a flick with his name on it, this is a thoroughly entertaining and hallucinatory experience that will probably change the way you view his films forever more.

The gore on show will not surprise fans of his work, but it is the sheer amount of gore in this film that will make some people balk at its content. This film is insane, and well deserves its status as one of the most curious horror films that has ever been made.


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