The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

THE BLACK CAT (1934) ***

Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi team up for the first time in this creepy Poe inspired horror thriller from director Edgar G. (Detour) Ulmer.  Karloff stars as Poelzig a Satanist with a serious widow’s peak who likes keeping women in glass cases.  He left Lugosi for dead during the war and married his daughter.  Lugosi comes to Karloff’s house seeking revenge and also has an acute fear of cats.  The movie is at its best when Karloff and Lugosi play psychological cat and mouse (no pun intended) and less so during the romantic subplot involving Jacqueline Wells and David Manners.  Lugosi gets the best line when Manners says their predicament is “supernatural baloney”, Lugosi retorts, “Supernatural… perhaps.  Baloney… perhaps not.”  (They both were in Dracula the previous year.)  The shocking ending (for 1934) has Lugosi skinning Karloff alive (offscreen) before blowing up the house.  Director Ulmer had an interesting career, directing everything from westerns, to B-Movies, to nudies.  Here he provides many atmospheric moments and moody sequences.  Karloff and Lugosi are at the top of their game and returned the next year in another Poe themed film, The Raven. 

Tags: b, horror, karloff, lugosi


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