|The Black Cat (1989)|
|Starring:||Florence Guerin, Urbano Barberini, and Caroline Munro|
|The Plot: Marc is an Italian genre-film director. Like many directors, he often casts his wife in his lead roles. Anne, despite what one may think, is actually a talented actress, despite being married to the boss. As they do their best to finish their latest horror title, a giallo called “The Black Cat,” Marc and his partner come up with a great idea. Influenced by the same book that Dario Argento was for his film Suspiria, they come up with the idea to shoot a movie focusing on the evil witch Levana. The plan is for Anne to play the lead role of Levana, and at first everyone seems very excited. Every person who reads the four-page outline of the script comes up with the same result: the story is brilliant. However, as the group retires to their villa for a rest, Anne begins to have visions. The witch Levana appears to be real, and she is trying to stop this movie from being made. Anne is soon finding it difficult to differentiate between reality and fiction, because Levana seems to be filling her head with nightmarish visions on a daily basis. Her husband believes that she is going crazy, but will Anne be able to protect her family from this extremely powerful witch?|
Aesthetically, the movie continues its adoration for Dario Argento and Mario Bava. While it is not quite the tour-de-force that Amer was, there is certainly a visual tie to Italian horror from the past. The very first sequence during the movie, where Levana makes her presence known, is completely filled with references to Argento’s Suspiria. With inorganic lighting that baffles the mind, Cozzi fills his set with nightmarish green and blue lighting that presents a very eerie vibe. The only thing that could have tied the movie more closely to Argento’s film would be if he filled his sets up with white sheets that could have floated out and danced with the lighting. Unfortunately, Cozzi also borrows from another aspect of Argento’s work that I never particularly cared for: his use of heavy metal music on his soundtracks. After Argento worked on Demons, it seems as if he fell in love with the idea of telling his stories using heavy metal music. Phenomena and Opera both featured some eighties-style riffing on the soundtrack, and Cozzi seems to have picked up on this trait as well. In nearly every scene that is supposed to deliver a scare or showcase tension, Cozzi blasts high octane heavy metal over the soundtrack and it completely derails any true atmosphere that the movie may have developed. It also doesn’t help that the ghost of Levana is voiced by an utterly ridiculous, and highly over-the-top, actress. These two aspects of the movie completely kill any scares that the movie may have attempted to produce, which is a real shame because there is definitely some craftsmanship at work here.