Directed by: Edgar G. Ulmer
Countries & Regions: United States
Length: 65 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 27 May 2013
Cat No: SPAL013
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The Black Cat
Classic horror starring Bela Lugosi. While honeymooning in Budapest, young couple Peter (David Manners) and Joan Allison (Julie Bishop)... Read More
This is prime horror fare for those pin-up boys of thirties horror, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Japanese-style silk pajamas have never been as scary as they are on Karloff’s black-hearted Hjalmar Poelzig, a Satanist who gives shelter to a honeymooning couple Peter and Joan Alison and ex-POW psychiatrist Lugosi after their involvement in a road accident. Trapped in his ultra-modern mansion, the couple soon learn of Karloff’s dark past (he betrayed Lugosi during the war) and of his even darker intentions: to use the injured Joan for evil black magic purposes, just as he did with Lugosi’s late wife.
This first pairing of Lugosi and Karloff is their best dual vehicle, with Lugosi surprisingly effective in a sympathetic role (miles away from the cartoon-like ham he became) and Karloff reliable as ever as the personification of creeping evil. Loosely based on an Edgar Allan Poe story, The Black Cat is further distinguished by its oppressively clinical Art Deco sets and superbly shadowy lighting, and from the elements of eroticism and sadism that director Ulmer managed to slip in just before that jug-eared puritan Will Hays got his hands on Hollywood.