POE 4: The Black Cat - The Enchanted Architect
Written by Jay Creepy   
Monday, 05 February 2018
Review of POE 4: The Black Cat from The Enchanted Architect on Severed Cinema

Directed by: Chris Milewski, Domiziano Cristopharo, Brace Beltempo
Written by: Brace Beltempo, Andrea Cavaletto, Chris Milewski, Alessandro Di Rosa, Mark Thompson-Ashworth
Produced by: Tony Newton, Alessandro Di Rossi
Cinematography by: Brace Beltempo, Chris Milewski
Editing by: Daniela Morelli,
Music by: Eric Bower, Alexander Cimini, Chris Milewski, Frederic Mauerhofer
Special Effects by: Roberta Budicin, Marilena Maglio, Brace Beltempo, Chris Milewski
Cast: Karen Lynn, Giorgio Agri, Andrea Autullo, Cleverson Oliviera Rodriguez, Eric Bower, Chiara Pavoni, Jeffrey Voice, Stefano Sala, Selene Feltrin, Nicolas Dupel
Year: 2018
Country: USA
Language: English.
Runtime: 1h 18min

Studio: The Enchanted Architect

Back in Starburst, issue 48, which happened to be a zombie film special published in 1982, Lucio Fulci said in an interview, how he considered his own creation, The Beyond, and Dario Argento's, Inferno, as absolute films - “(films) of images, which must be received without any reflection

This category could be turned to the works of Chris Milewski. The bloke effortlessly makes movies which are visions -- dreamy and somewhat disconnected to one another. Most importantly, he makes new 'Italian' genre shorts from his home in the USA. By simply aping the directors, etcetera, who inspired him, he seamlessly recreates worlds long lost to the horror globe. Take my review of two of his short flicks (review here) and our discussion together about his works (interview here). Chris is a man seriously committed to his visions.

Lest we forget he is only one in an unholy trilogy of directors for this new anthology, POE 4: The Black Cat. Also taking us along for the ride is, Domiziano Cristopharo, a chap with a long CV filled with titles like, House of Flesh Mannequins (starring Giovianni Lombardo Radice) The Transparent Woman and Bloody Sin. He has worked on the three prior POE flicks as well. Last, but not least, we have newbie on the terror block, Brace Beltempo.

Let's get ready and strap ourselves in for a freaky ride into the absolute. Beginning with old school titles and a wonderful stabbing but simple piano theme, ala Nekromantik. If you haven't seen any POE's or any of Chris's mini monsters, you know damn well by now where the trail is leading. It's Chris who welcomes us in first with The House of the Black Cat.

What I find great about his style is his choice of gothic scenery and the hazy camera view as if you're recalling a dream from the night before. An ominous old home in the middle of nowhereville, and the striking close-up of a black cat's eyes. As a blind old man sits sketching, a young lady with a cruel expression walks into the room (played by Karen Lynn/aka Karen Widdoss – long-time face in his films, plus his real life fiancιe). “Mr. Allan, I have your tea.” The music is chilling from when she notices what he has been working on, to the look she gives him as she leaves the room. He sips his cuppa and she goes about her business cutting up bloody red meat. Leaving the raw flesh on a dish for perhaps a pet, she strolls out with purpose.

Meanwhile, Mr. Allan continues his sketching as we see through the camera eye, something low to the ground approaching the house. Out on the lane, a billy burglar wearing a balaclava watches her leave and grabs his tools. As he prowls the outer building, the black cat leaves remains of a dead bird for him to see – of which disappear slowly as if they never existed, and thus prowls after him.

I had to chuckle because Mr. Allan looks a lot like Canadian rap artist, Mad Child, with his shades on, creeping around the house upon hearing noises. It all ends in a brilliantly surreal sense adding a tingle of sadness, with a bit of gore and guts thrown in, plus a totally head-fuck Fulci/Bianchi homage to eyeball violence.

Story two, Black, by Domiziano Cristopharo is an altogether different tale. Brightly lit, colourful, but still holding that dreamlike quality. We meet a husband's wife and her lover stood upon a rooftop as she looks out for her missing cat, Pluto. Kitty has been gone some time, it seems. They make love, and afterwards as they chill, she notices old scratch scars plus blood on his hand after he has bitten her.

Hubby staggers home drunk. It seems the lover works at the lavish apartment building and they have a small skirmish, after which the hubby offers to have a drink with him. The lover refuses. “That's the first time you've refused a drink with me. You're fucking her! Right? How long have you been fucking her?”

“She said she'd love me forever!” The lover smirks slightly. “Forever. You shouldn't talk in absolutes.” Hubby raises up. “Spare me your shitty philosophy. You know if you hadn't been born a monkey in the jungle (the lover is black) maybe you would have made something of yourself!” Thus ends their little to-do for the moment.

Hubby paces outside for a while, then goes, as the lovers watch from her window. She laments her life with the older man, and how she is so glad to have met her younger and kinder man. It isn't long though before the grief-stricken hubby returns for violent and bloody revenge.

I don't think there's even a moment on screen for Chiara Pavoni where her breasts aren't on show, and enough moments for medium hung, Cleverson Oliviera Rodriguez, to... well hang out! Everything is positioned as having a few questions and a lot of erotic Euro-style angles, but unfortunately the conclusion seems a bit rushed with a twist that might have worked better had there been a few suggestions along the way to build up to it. To me, the end was a patchwork job. However, top marks for the slick and fluid direction making great use of colours.

Insomnia is the grand finale to our trio and a young scraggy haired lass sits in an interrogation room as a cop strolls in and glares at her. “Emily?” he announces her name a couple of times but she either ignores him or doesn't hear him. Threats of the electric chair stirs some movement. “Shall we start?” he demands.

“What happened to your family? I need you to talk!” It is minutes of goading before she screams. We flashback to what has occurred. Seems she was always the quiet morose type anyway as she sits on a bench watching her close ones – hubby, daughter and nanny. Emily doesn't sleep very well. “Her mind is somewhere else.” states Alice, their nanny. As she tells James, he is at work and doesn't see how bad Emily gets. He can see how bad Giorgia Masciari is playing, Alice. She's like a robot with glazed eyes. Jesus! Whilst Selene Feltrin and Stefano Sala do their jobs as Emily and James, she kind of ruins the whole mix in the bowl. Or she's playing a stoner. Dunno.

Emily tries to sleep that night, but all she can hear in her mind is the cries and wails of a cat. They drive her from the bedsheets in a trance outside to an amulet which hangs from a tree branch engraved by the image of a feline. Back to bed and the poor lass braves an onslaught of really fucked up dreams. This is something even a cup of Horlicks cannot mend.

When Emily awakens, she isn't the same anymore.

Insomnia has to be the gut-punch money shot to the whole thing. As much as I loved segment one, the final chapter piles on the atmosphere and lush visuals. Mind you, it could have done without the epileptic camera person performing wobble-cam at certain key moments.

I love the musical scores, especially over the end credits. Like Chris Milewski's shorts, the music takes you back to a time when horrors had wonderful but simple compositions, without any 'rock' or 'hiphop' tunes annihilating the senses.

POE 4: The Black Cat has enough gore delivered the classic way for anyone wishing to lap up the red moist stuff. Two scenes of eyeball damage, two brutal penis abuse moments, and a few random bites and stabbings.

POE 4 has three doorways to the luxury feel of absolute. Like bone-chilling fireside stories to make you think, and stay a while after you've switched the screen off.

 

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 RATING:
 MOVIE: 1 
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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Monday, 05 February 2018 )