A CAT IN THE BRAIN (1990)
posted 00/00/2009

Directed by:
Lucio Fulci

Starring:
Lucio Fulci ... Dr. Lucio Fulci
David L. Thompson ... Professor Egon Schwarz
Malisa Longo ... Katya Swharz
Shilett Angel ... Filippo the Producer

Country: Italy
Runtime: 87 min
Original title: Un gatto nel cervello
AKA: Nightmare Concert
       

Do you guys like films within a film, or films about filmmaking? I generally don’t because I haven’t seen many good ones except Ed Wood. I haven’t seen 8 ½ yet and maybe there are some other good ones to see but A Cat in the Brain is not one of them. When it comes to Fulci I do like most of his work but it doesn’t seem to go all the way. It doesn’t fulfill me like Argento could. Fulci plays horror fantasy in a different way from his other Italian counterparts and some find it brilliant. I find Fulci a great horror director, but not brilliant as many seem to think. But that’s just my humble opinion. With this film I get the point Fulci is trying to make very clearly, he just does a poor job of putting it all together.

Fulci stars and directs in this picture about a horror film director tormented by the excess violence and sex in his work. He wonders if he is going crazy and even if perhaps he has become a homicidal maniac. The film opens with Fulci in his study working on a script. We are taken inside his skull where a cat feverishly bites and claws at his brains, shredding it apart. We get to see bits and pieces of the new film Fulci is working on and it’s laced with what’s going on in the real world and hallucinations that Fulci begins to have. All of these mixed up clips of violence and gore loose their sting thrown together as if random.

Fulci begins to see a psychiatrist and we are treated to a twist. The psychiatrist is a killer that hypnotized Fulci to blame all the murders on him. He plans on committing them similar to the director’s work to link Fulci to the crimes. Why he picks Fulci as the scapegoat is not known but we do know he is bitter because his wife is cheating on him. Fulci goes on living in the real world (on the set and in his private life) and in his hallucinations. There are multiple beheadings with knives, blunt sticks and by chainsaw. In one of the hallucinations Fulci chases a guy on set with his car and runs him over repeatedly back and forth only to find out his wheels were mauling a mannequin instead. There is a Nazi orgy scene which is part of the movie Fulci is directing and towards the end the psychiatrist severs his cheating wife’s head with piano wire.

SPOILER ALERT!

After killing two hookers and some bystanders the killer is eventually caught and killed in a shoot-out with police. The police had been trailing Fulci all along and had picked up on the evil doctor’s doings in the end. Finally Fulci sails off on a yacht called "Perversion" for a well needed vacation with a beautiful girl by his side. He sends the girl down into the cabin to fetch some bait then descends himself to dismember her and use her fingers and ears as bait. Fooled again. We spot a documentary crew filming the end portion of a documentary on Fulci and his work.

In this film Fulci needed to vent and let the world know how it feels to be him. The many scenes of madness and violence, the hallucinations and the confusion all portray the stress and tension he must have had as a horror director. It is a very personal film. I did not like it because it had no real rhythm and the editing was weird. It was just like watching random clips of horror films with a thin string of a plot. If you’re a Fulci fan you should see it, check out the two disc version from Grindhouse Releasing. If your new to Fulci be warned, this is one of his weaker films.

- Jorge Antonio Lopez

 

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