The Black Cat (1934)

This first onscreen pairing of the two towering legends of Universal horror remains one of the strangest films in that company’s canon. Lasting just over an hour and bearing zero similarity to the Poe story on which it was supposedly based, ‘The Black Cat’ somehow manages to incorporate Nazi atrocities, ancient vendettas, black masses, drug abuse, a whiff of necrophilia and one of the all-time great cinematic chess games. It doesn’t make a vast amount of sense, but it doesn’t really matter: an obvious precursor to the Argento school of nightmare horror, Ulmer’s film is more about sensation and inference than straightforward storytelling. The result is haunting, beautiful and unforgettably odd. TH
Dir Edward G Ulmer (Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi)

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