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Cat In The Brain
Il Maestro Lucio Fulci starts to go crazy in the coconut, and Grindhouse Releasing brings us the results in inimitably perfect fashion. Touted as 'the most violent movie ever made' and starring Fulci himself as his fictional self, Cat In The Brain has never been noted as one of the director's best horror efforts, but as an entertaining, blood-soaked diversion it deserves this stellar Blu-ray edition anyway. If you're a Fulci completist or enthusiastic horror collector, you'll find this release quite worth the money.
Beating Wes Craven (New Nightmare) to the punch by a long shot, Cat In The Brain finds Fulci overwhelmed by the horrors he films. He's so rattled, in fact, he begins to think he's committing the murders in his films, or something. We're thrown into the filth early on, as an effete weird-beard cooks a juicy steak sourced from a human corpse, which he then lovingly cuts up with a chainsaw in graphic detail. Then Fulci yells 'cut' and we realize it's all just a movie. But when he goes out to eat, the offers of 'fillet steak' or steak tartar just make him flash back to the actor grinding up his victim's guts.
As this is a Fulci movie, things get weirder and more nonsensical from this point on. Weird neighbor smeared with red paint, chainsawing at firewood in the street? Check. Cue hallucination. Friendly girl in wheelchair wants her daily help down the stairs? Check. Cue Hallucination. Necks slowly sliced through with piano wire, faces melted in the oven, little kids getting their heads chopped off with an axe! So much blood that Fulci is compelled to see a psychiatrist, which turns out to be a decidedly bad idea.
Cat In The Brain provides a unique, fictionalized view into the director's psyche. One can't help but wonder how much of the 'real' Fulci makes it into the movie, probably precious little, as his dyspeptic sad-sack persona (he's a woebegone, lonely grandfather) seems at odds with the stories some actors tell about him. Still, it's a brave move for the famed director to make, bringing viewers just a little closer to the man than he would probably have liked.
The movie itself is about 33% recycled footage, mostly kill-scenes from a series of 'Presented By Lucio Fulci' television horror movies that never saw much daylight in their individual forms. (This is a boon, as if we were made to re-watch our favorite kills from well known Fulci films we'd feel pretty ripped off.) Though lending the film a somewhat fractured feel, these scenes are integrated as best as can be, and they deliver the gory goods. Fulci directs two of the movies, but several others come from the likes of Andrea Bianchi, Giovanni Simonelli, Enzo Milioni and others. This footage is liberally reused through flashbacks, the kid loses his head more than once, which only adds to your feelings of disorientation.
Cat In The Brain doesn't rep one of Fulci's best efforts, introspection and gore don't often go hand in hand, either. However, as a blood-filled nightmare unmoored from the likes of logic, it's a hell of a lot of nasty fun. Grindhouse releasing does their usual superb job with this three-disc release, packed to the gills with extras. The attention to detail on the slipcover alone swings this one right into the DVD Talk Collector Series.
Presented in an AVC encoded high definition digital restoration of the original Uncensored Director's Cut, in a 1.65:1 aspect ratio, Cat In The Brain suffers in comparison to other Blu-rays. More often than not relatively sharp and detailed, (think of an upscaled DVD) the image slides into softness with some regularity. Softer, less finely detailed images generally come from the recycled footage, with bits from Touch Of Death (chainsaw dismemberment) bearing the brunt. Colors are reasonably natural and punchy, and film grain comes and goes throughout. There isn't any serious print damage to note, and on the whole, it's hard to expect the movie to look much better than this.
Your audio options are 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio sound mixes, in either English or in the original Italian language track with subtitles. Though quite obviously subdued in terms of an enveloping mix (there isn't one) both tracks are clean, mixed well, and distortion-free. Fabio Frizzi's score sounds good, and overall, though there isn't anything sonic to get excited about, there's nothing to complain about either.
From the Embossed Slip-Cover with its own sort-of Easter Egg, to the Bonus CD - the Original Soundtrack by Fabio Frizzi, Grindhouse Releasing and Box Office Spectaculars simply overload this edition with awesome extras. Do you want an Original Art Lucio Fulci Portrait (limited to an edition of 3000, so get it quick)? You got it. What about a Reversible Cover Art Insert? Sure, we got that. There is an Easter Egg on the first disc, as well as the Original Trailer in both English and Italian. An 18-Page Booklet has essays by Antonella Fulci, (haunting, revealing) Eli Roth, David J. Schow, and Martin Beine (who lays out in great detail the recycled footage used in the movie).
Disc Two wallows in Interviews, including some ported over from the previous DVD release. Co-writer Antonio Tentori gets 28 minutes, as does Cinematographer Sandro Grossi. Composer Fabio Frizzi gets a full half hour to speak, as well as 8 minutes of Fabio Frizzi: Live in Hollywood, (2015) during which he and his badass band show off. Awesome Poster Artist Enzo Sciotti takes 18 minutes to show us his technique as he talks about his work on horror movie posters. You get a full-length (80 minutes) Fulci Biography from 1995, a 17-minute Fulci Radio Interview from 1987, and a 2005 interview with actor Brett Halsey, who talks about his career as a whole, while taking time to express his displeasure at finding out footage of him, unpaid, was recycled in Cat In The Brain. Memories Of Lucio takes a few minutes to allow colleagues to speak of the maestro, while a Stills Gallery burns another 23 minutes on Fulci's 1996 appearance at the Weekend Of Horrors. Plus, there's a little bit more.
Cat In The Brain isn't one of Fulci's best efforts, introspection and gore don't often go hand in hand. However, as a blood-filled nightmare unmoored from the likes of logic, it's a hell of a lot of nasty fun. Grindhouse releasing does their usual superb job with this three-disc release, packed to the gills with extras. The attention to detail on the slipcover alone swings this one right into the DVD Talk Collector Series.