Saturday, July 14, 2012

ITALIAN HORROR WEEK: A Fulci in the Brain

When it comes to Italian horror, the first name that always comes to mind is the legendary “godfather of Italian gore” himself Lucio Fulci. Fulci’s 1990 cinematic masterpiece, A Cat in the Brain, is by far my personal favorite of his and a film that I hold dear to my heart.

The film stars Fulci as himself after too many years in the business has started to effect his ability to separate his films from reality. Leading Fulci to seek the help of a psychiatrist in hopes of getting a grip on things before they spiral out of control and he loses his mind. Opening with an overhead shot of Fulci brainstorming for gruesome ways to dispatch victims in his films, then segwaying into a rather disturbing scene of a cat viciously consuming what appears to be brains and various entrails. From start to finish, the film never lets up creating an opus of violence and sexual deviancy.

Within the realm of meta-films, you will be hard pressed to find one that does it better than A Cat in the Brain. Between the inner dialog that takes place within Fulci’s head and the numerous behind the scenes look at his process when making a film. An authentic sense of realism is achieved, causing viewers to honestly buy what is unfolding in front of him, as if they are currently watching a factual retelling of the directors trip into madness. The film also acts as a brief history of his prior work with many clips from previous films.

Featuring make up from iconic artist Giuseppe Ferranti (Cannibal Ferox, Demonia) viewers are treated to a smorgasbord of graphic stomach churning gore. Creating one of the most impressive chainsaw dismemberment scenes in the history of film, gorehounds will find themselves in the midst of a blood soaked wet dream within moments. This film is definitely not one for the squeamish or the faint of heart with its ample amount of extreme violence and dark sexual frustration undertones. Up until 2009, the film remained unreleased in its uncut form until Grindhouse Releasing put out an uncut DVD.

Fulci is one of those directors that make such complex works of art that their meanings are often lost on a large part of the audience. Many tend to insist that his films are violence for the sake of violence, shock for the sake of shock, but those knowledgeable clearly understand that he is nothing short of a cinematic genius. For example, this film is a very clever and in your face look at the effects of movie violence on those who surround themselves with the medium over extended periods and in large quantities. As someone who has spent most of his life either watching or talking about the genre, I can honestly say that it does leave its mark on your psyche after awhile. Ultra vivid nightmares and a darker out look on common situations are two side effects that I have personally experienced.

Available at Diabolik DVD
If you have not experienced this film before and consider yourself a die hard fan of the genre, go out and pick up the Grindhouse Releasing DVD and bask in the glory that is one of the greatest genre directors who ever blessed the craft with his depraved and twisted tales of the macabre.

TED BROWN is a tattooed, non racist skinhead, punk rock, horror obsessed nerd college student who spends way too much time watching movies. Beyond that Ted writes for THE LIBERAL DEAD, creates amazing artwork for that site and contributes his reviews to several internet publication around the web including COMIC FORGE. Also, here's a link to one of my personal favorite entries recently written for THE LIBERAL DEAD. Ted also contributes THE LIBERAL DEAD podcast Dead Air (go give that a "like" while your at it). You can keep up to date on Dead Air HERE
On a side note, CULT COLLECTIBLES, a sponsor of one of our giveaways to be released later this week has a delightful bobble head style doll of Fulci himself rom this movie. I got a chance to see one in person at the Forum Theater screening of Demons and Bronx Warriors tonight and I can assure it is worth the pick up. Check out this craftsmanship.

Available at Cult Collectibles


  1. I picked up that DVD about a week ago... haven't watched it yet but am pretty damn excited. Now I'm even more excited.

  2. I like to think of it as this intimate time you get to spend with Fulci at the end of his life. Almost humerous in how self aware without being corny.

    1. I watched "Touch of Death" a few weeks ago... was HILARIOUS. It was after watching it that I picked this one up. Can't wait.