When people start being brutally murdered, famed Italian director Lucio Fulci believes he is the one responsible as he has been having nightmares and hallucinations about his own violent horror movies.
Is Fulci any good at playing himself? Only a few people can really answer that one! In all seriousness, considering the point he was at in his life and career at the time – his declining health certainly seems to be no secret – I believe Fulci used this in his performance the best way he knew how.
I understand the wisdom in revealing the sinister plot running alongside poor Fulci losing his mind. For one thing it’s an attempt to validate the movie inserts, convincing your more impatient viewers that they have not been conned into watching the Italian horror version of a Golden Girls clip show, when really, they have.
There’s no great film score here. Gone are the creeping bass drums of Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979) and the satanic choruses of The Beyond (1981). But we do have the playful inclusion of Edvard Grieg’s In The Hall of the Mountain King, or the Alton Towers theme tune if you don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about.
Still, Cat maintains the gory grossness that became one of the trademarks of a Fulci film. And at the very least he tries to keep us guessing until the very end as to whether or not the old director has indeed descended into madness and murder.
Some interesting points are raised in the 45-minute Bonus Feature, Brain Food. A Cat in the Brain is mentioned to have gained notoriety around the time of the Jamie Bulger murder in 1993, which I found intriguing as I imagined that the manner in which Fulci loses his sense of reality and fiction must look a lot like this psychological “disease” some people seem to think is festering within the minds of all hard-core horror fans.
The notion that Cat also inspired Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) is more or less discouraged. And I agree. Ever since the original A Nightmare on Elm Street was released six years prior in 1984, one of the core ideologies of the series has always been about that question of reality. What is real and what isn’t real. With movies like Scream (1996) just around the corner, New Nightmare was just the next logical step in the evolution of Elm Street.
The movie inserts aren’t as clear in the overall transfer, but this only makes it easier for newer Fulci fans to tell old footage apart from new footage. Apart from that, what else is there to say about a movie that is made up, not primarily, but mostly of other movies from the same director. I mentioned earlier that it could be mistaken for a clip show. Personally I prefer to skip those…