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Cat in the Brain - Grindhouse Releasing - DVD Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
Written by Jay Creepy   
Thursday, 27 April 2017
Severed Cinema review of Cat in the Brain on DVD and Blu-Ray from Grindhouse Releasing


AKA: Nightmare Concert, Un gatto nel cervello, To konserto tou tromou, I volti del terrore, O Concerto Nocturno, A Cat in the Brain.

Directed by: Lucio Fulci
Written by: Lucio Fulci, Giovanni Simonelli, Antonio Tentori
Produced by: Luigi nannerini, Antonio Lucidi
Cinematography by: Alessandro Grossi
Editing by: Vincerzo Tomassi
Special Effects by: Giuseppe Ferranti
Music by: Fabio Frizzi
Cast: Lucio Fulci, David Thompson, Malisa Longo, Shilett Angel, Brett Halsey, Vincenzo Luzzi, Paul Muller.
Year: 1990
Color: Color
Language: Italian (Dubbed English)
Country: Italy
Runtime: 1hr 35mins

Distributor: Grindhouse Releasing

Lucio Fulci, eh? What a lad he was. After years of being labelled so many bad names due to his excessive gore and women being sliced and killed in many inventive ways, it’s almost like he decided, after a run of low budget diminutive flicks, to throw everything at the viewers and critics alike. You said I use too much gore? Here's loads! Want to see me slaughter less women? How’s about I kill some close-up and brutally? In fact, why don't I take scenes of murder from prior films I did in my twilight years, along with some I was associated with, and just select blood red sick moments? Happy? Well, I am!

Lucio uses every part of his blood ammo dump in a tale about a director of horror flicks (himself, played by... erm, himself) who is finding it harder and harder to separate his fantasy world of chillers from reality itself. Cat in the Brain, a.k.a. Nightmare Concert, was once a holy grail to Italian gory pot-boiler collectors, but on first viewing seems to be a mishmash patchwork quilt of ideas burning out fast, pointless moments, and an ending which defies belief after the long attempt to create a giallo murder mystery.

However, two possible reasons exist for this film. Firstly, Fulci had exhausted his efforts and had given up trying to please fans plus make money (let's take into perspective, it wasn't long afterwards that Dario Argento lapsed into similar expeditions which failed. Secondly, Fulci didn't give a toss anymore! He wanted to explode a crazy blood-ball into everyone's faces -- damn the consequences! Handling the gallons of gruel is veteran artist, Giuseppe Ferranti, who has worked on such crazies as Nightmare City, Zombies: the Beginning, Voices From Beyond, Cannibal Ferox, Zombie Creeping Flesh, Demonia, Scalps, Touch of Death, and so many more.

Lucio Fulci, the actor, hadn't truly been able to shine previously. Appearances in a majority of his creations as a police captain, a reporter, an old school gangster, etcetera, only whetted the appetite of anybody interested in seeing him perform a meatier role. In truth, Lucio isn't a bad actor. He's more than capable of holding this up when most of the attention is on the splatter. Interesting to note that even the Italian language version has Lucio's voice dubbed by another actor.

Beginning with Lucio writing, we can hear his thoughts; “...someone chopped to bits with a chainsaw. Drowned in boiling water... A throat torn out by a maddened cat....” As he continues (“...sawn in two, crucified... decapitated...”) we see a cat puppet in his skull tearing the hell out of his brain as his words slow and speed up like a reel to reel. Cut straight into the scene of a cannibal (selected juicily from one of his own catalogue) contently chopping and mincing a corpse for his pleasure and feast. It's all a movie set which Lucio stares intently at, giving barking directions (probably nicer in character than in reality). Breaking for lunch, he finds his appetite ruined by a plate of minced meat.

Viewing a popping-eye special effect, he complains it just isn't real enough (which is a hoot and a great dig by the maestro himself at the lack of budget given to him in later years). He goes home, exhausted and fed up. Outside a bloke chops wood in a possibly blood-soaked sweater. This causes Lucio much distress, especially when he imagines the chainsaw wielding man approaching him as cries from older films fills the audio. Lucio wanders the streets and goes to his psychiatrist, Professor Swharz (David Thompson). We witness before his entry, that his chosen professional has a huge amount of problems in his home life.

Next time he's at work, we have a comedy moment as Lucio tries to explain a character to a young actor. Then it's business as usual. This time, however, Lucio has to leave the studio “What's the point anymore?” he asks himself. Meeting a few VIPs, he flips out, attacking them. Lucio begins to realise that the cat in his brain is scratching ever so deeper. His psychiatrist hypnotises him, saying some very strange things to him as the plot deepens. Soon afterwards the psychiatrist heads out and hacks up a roadside prostitute. Lucio is made to believe that perhaps he himself caused this.

Next up, accompanied by the music from The Beyond, Lucio hallucinates and sees a scene from an earlier movie... I mean he sees a graveyard ritual with zombies and stuff. But he's just walked onto a film set. His team has done the shoot without him. His assistant explains that he has been acting very strangely. A director who is replaced by his colleagues! His worst nightmare comes true. Lucio looks strained. He also convinces himself he did not murder the prostitute by working out a few things. Yet, the insane hallucinations persist. They grow stronger.

Unbeknownst to Lucio, Professor Swharz is following him, murdering people nearby and making sure Fulci sees the results to plunge him further into madness. “The violence is making me mentally and deeply disturbed...” he tells Swharz later on.

Cat in the Brain, from new effects to old effects, is just a bloody none-stop slaughterhouse! It's intended mainly as a comedy, a knowing wink to his true fans. The film has been unfairly ridiculed by sometimes his most hardcore followers. It's totally insane and is so much fun! As for the plot, it's skeletal, only holding together a string of demented images, truth be told. The ending makes you smile at its sheer cheekiness and boyish charm of Lucio Fulci.

Grindhouse Releasing has done a wonderful job on their Deluxe Edition. The menu is terrific, with its animated cat and Fulci himself. However, on the extras is a marvellous short film (22 minutes) of the master himself attending the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in 1996. He is so stunned by the heroic welcome he receives and is visibly humbled and moved. As the speaker/translator says, it is his first visit to the USA and did not expect all of it. The questions are sometimes so funny, as are his answers. He is prompt to explain how the directors of Italian horrors are generally quiet people who make horrors as a career. He clears up a lot of accusations in his life of hating women, well, sort of.

Also we have a treat served with lengthy interviews on disc 2. First the man himself, for 80 minutes as he goes on about his definition of a horror film, and a thriller movie. Horror, to him, is real life. Italian films are fantasy thrillers. He admits the Italians, himself included, recycle a lot of material over the years. We find he has a lot of ridicule for psychiatrists and psychoanalysts. He speaks deeply about his beginnings and his almost career as a doctor.

We then have a 46 minute interview with actor, Brett Halsey, who featured in some of the scenes in the main feature via chosen moments from A Touch of Death. To be honest, he's a great guy, but his voice is so monotone I kind of drifted off sometime later. Next comes a handful of people from the movie and others who recall their memories of Fulci. “He was a good guy. A very good director.” They are segments from a DVD which is compiled of memories of Lucio which runs for 90 minutes and sounds interesting. “...he was a very human man, very kind.”

Finally there are previews (from known classics, to the simply weird!), biographies, and the DVD comes with a booklet. In conclusion, the release is worth the price alone for the interviews and the incredible Fangoria Weekend appearance. The fact that, to me, Cat in the Brain, is a neglected title in his lengthy lifetime of movies and is worth a watch (or maybe another re-watch) is just a great topping to the cake.

Yes, Cat in the Brain is nowhere in the same field as his late ‘70s and early ‘80s epics, but it wipes the floor with Demonia, Voices From Beyond, Murder Rock, and others for sheer entertainment value. Really it shouldn't be taken seriously. This is Fulci at his most jovial, made to be enjoyed by his fans.

Cat in the Brain is also available on Blu-ray from Grindhouse Releasing.






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 Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 16:9
 Region: NTSC ALL
 Audio: Dolby Digital Mono

 - Interviews with Lucio Fulci, Brett Halsey
 - Lucio Fulci at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors 1996
 - Stills and Poster Art
 - Previews
 - Trailer
 - Liner Notes Booklet


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