Cat in the Brain, A | Varied Celluloid

Cat in the Brain, A

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 17 - 2008


Plot Outline: Lucio Fulci, a horror film director has been having nightmarish vision’s brought on by the morbid films he’s made. He’s constantly seeing dead bodies, and flashes of murder at all times. Fulci eventually makes an appointment with a psychologist, where he is then put under hypnosis. Unbeknown to Fulci himself, the Doctor is now using Fucli so he can commit actual murders, hoping that Fulci will think it is he himself committing the crimes.


  

The Review
If Cat in the Brain were any other movie, me mentioning the doctor’s ulterior motives in the plot summary like that might have been a spoiler. Considering that Cat in the Brain is 87 minutes long, but only three or four of which deal with anything resembling a plot, there’s really not much I can spoil. Yep, this film is light on plot… even for a Fulci film. If that seems impossible to you, you’d better think again. If someone drew up a scientific graph of this film I think it would read 85% gore, 14% nudity and 1% plot. That’s being generous to the plot. The film is horrendous, appalling, but for some reason… I kind of liked it. Not even in a Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave kind of way either. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t like/like the film, but I wasn’t bored and some points in the film just felt so terrible, so appallingly bad, that I couldn’t help but either laugh or go blind. Thankfully, I still have my eyesight.

The only real positive thing I can say about this flick is it’s gory. Matter of fact, if you have a friend/enemy that you know to have a weak stomach, invite them over to watch some movies and pop this bad boy in. If they really do have a weak stomach, I can almost guarantee that they’ll walk out in the first five minutes. The film starts off with what looks like a stuffed cat, ripping through a bowl of meat that I take is supposed to be brains. Sure, it’s incredibly fake looking, but it’s effective. The next scene is a bit less fake looking and just a wee bit more disturbing. It’s probably the standout scene, and from what I hear it’s actually from another Fulci movie edited into this. Well, just so you know what I’m talking about, the scene in question is that of a man completely dismembering a woman with a chainsaw. It’s pretty disgusting, but It’s obviously a mannequin. Still, the pale white look does add some authenticity to the scene.

If I haven’t made it apparent yet, this is one mega-gory film. I feel sure that when the film was released it was probably the goriest film ever made. At least to my knowledge. Still, gore is gore and it just doesn’t stand on it’s own. For nearly all of the film’s running time, the whole film just consists of Fulci walking from scene to scene witnessing some gory act or another. That’s it, that’s basically the whole film. It’s just one death scene after another with barely anything stringing it together. I’ve read that most of all the scenes are from other Fulci movies too, so I can’t help but think why Fulci didn’t just make a ‘best of’ compilation or something. I imagine he couldn’t get the rights to show clips of The Beyond or Zombie, because I imagine he would have used them. Then again, there is a scene that uses the theme from The Beyond for some odd reason. I can’t tell you why the film was made other than to bring in a profit, but I can tell you it has only a few redeeming qualities. Most of which is the gore.

The only other redeeming quality is just how poor this film is. I guess that’s not so much a ‘redeeming quality’ as it is a bonus to laugh at. The film seems like it was shot over a weekend. There’s just no continuity at all. In one scene Fulci is told to go and take a rest, so then it shows him at home, but then for some odd reason he is in a park at night. Someone please tell me why in the world Fulci was in that park both times? He’s an elderly wealthy man, you’re telling me he just takes strolls through the park at about midnight for no reason? Maybe if the film would have mentioned he likes to jog or something, but I just can’t believe that he would go into that park in the state of dilution he was in. That’s only a small thing though, the whole film is just cram packed with stupid things like this. Like the whole plot the psychologist comes up with. When Fulci is hypnotized, the doctor plays a tape and says “When you hear this sound, your actions and your behavior will be conditioned by the thoughts I transmit to you!” can someone please tell me when psychology opened the areas of psychic phenomena? I’ve heard of people reclaiming lost memories when hypnotized, and I’ve even seen people act like chickens after being hypnotized, but to my knowledge I’ve never heard of the psychological advancements in E.S.P. Then, after telling Fulci this, the shrink only uses this gift once. Fulci starts hallucinating and seeing dead people after the shrink plays the tape… but Fulci has been hallucinating the whole time! Why did the doctor have to play the tape!? It doesn’t make sense!

The Conclusion
The biggest disappointment of the film for me though would have to be the look of it. Usually I look forward to Fulci’s films at least being pleasant to the eyes, but this film is just terrible looking. It could have been the picture quality of the copy I’ve got, but it just seemed murky and ugly. It looks like a made-for-tv movie or something, not a feature film. I suppose Fulci was under even tighter budgets than usual at the time. His starring in the film seems to be proof of this, although I’m sure ego came into play during that decision as well. You may be surprised that I’m giving it a three after all the negativity I’ve spread on it, but I couldn’t help being entertained by the film. It’s violent, and incredibly stupid. Two things that don’t always go together successfully. This time I think it did, only to a certain degree though. Don’t be fooled, this film isn’t the least big good. It’s terrible as a matter of fact, but that doctor kept me laughing so I can’t hate it.

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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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