The Film (4/5)
Lucio Fulci’s 1990 film, Cat in the Brain has been likened to the maestro’s own version of Fellini’s 8 1/2. However, rather than coming at an earlier point in the director's career like the Fellini film, Fulci's film has the unique distinction of being one of his final films. In a way it could be considered his final cinematic triumph, and a last love letter to his fan’s though he did make a few more films after this one. It could essentially work as a summation of Fulci's career as a horror filmmaker, though it should be said that he makes the interesting choice of not using footage from his most well known and beloved films, rather choosing from his later more maligned films, and even films like Joe D'Amato's Massacre that are not even among his own.
The film stars Fulci as himself, the director of the Brett Halsey vehicle "Touch of Death". After years of directing hardcore, gory horror films the material has begun to take a toll on Fulci's psyche. These scenes of violence coupled with a series of horrific murders in Rome cause Fulci to seek the assistance of a psychiatrist. Unfortunately, for Fulci this psychiatrist is the murderer and uses the association with such a well known horror director as a spring board to commit more murders and frame the director as the killer.
Cat in the Brain is an interesting and fun film from director Fulci. For many years it was like many of his later films maligned by his fanbase. However, in later years it has picked up an audience of dedicated fans, of which I certainly include myself. The film is a truly bizarre affair from the director that operates on it’s own wavelength that feels rhythmically different from the director’s other film’s yet still part of the same overall canon.
Cat in the Brain gives off the feeling that anything can and will happen at any second in the film, and most notably for any reason. When Fulci sees a certain cut of meat, it triggers a violent response. When he is interviewed by a blonde news reporter it triggers another similar response. At other points in the film he sees a paint can, or turns on a sink, and reacts to it with visions that are over the top or violent. This may seem nonsensical to readers and to first time viewers, but it contributes to the strange fun that can be found within this film. Cat in the Brain is as absurd as it glorious, and it is blast to watch.
Grindhouse Releasing have worked their magic yet again bringing Cat in the Brain to Blu-ray in the best quality possible for the material. We have a 1:65:1 1080p AVC encoded presentation for the film. Detail is good, colors are well reproduced, and blacks are solid. However, the transfer, and this is just the nature of the overall look of Cat in the Brain itself is very soft, so keep that in mind going into it. There isn't much in the way of damage, and overall everything looks quite good.
The audio duties are handled with a quite solid DTS-HD MA 1.0 track in English. The track works quite well for the material with dialogue, score, and effects coming through with no problems at all. I did not detect any issues with the track during my play through.
It is probably no shock that Grindhouse filled their release with a wonderful array of extras sure to please fans of the film. We have an 80 minute interview with Fulci carried over from the DVD release (the interview is from 1995, and it is AMAZING), a 46 minute interview with Cat in the Brain unintentional co-star Brett Halsey. We then get a slate of new interviews and extras including interviews with the co-writer of the film, the artist behind the iconic poster, the cinematographer, Fulci favorite composer Fabio Frizzi, alongside footage of one of his recent performances. There is also a radio interview with Fulci, a short segment called Memories of Lucio with 3 short conversations about the director. The disc is rounded off by a stills gallery, and multiple trailers. The set includes a CD soundtrack, and liner notes.
Not typically included with the best of Lucio Fulci, Cat in the Brain is a fun late career entry from the director that deserves another look by fans of the Fulci. The Blu-ray looks and sounds better than the film has ever appeared on home video before, and the whole set is packed with extra features. Grindhouse has done truly tremendous work bringing Cat in the Brain to Blu-ray and this release comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.