Edgar Allan Poe's Black Cats: Two Adaptations by Sergio Martino & Lucio Fulci
Poe's The Black Cat, like a lot of the writer's stories, has been retold over and over in various different guises and adaptations, most notably in the 1934 Universal film starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi (and again by Universal in 1941 with Lugosi and Basil Rathbone), the middle section of Roger Corman's 1962 anthology Tales of Terror and in 1990 with Dario Argento's section of Two Evil Eyes. However, Argento wasn't the only Italian director to have a go at it as Sergio Martino (Torso) and Lucio Fulci (Zombie Flesh Eaters) both tried their hands at adaptations, albeit with slightly different results.

Edgar Allan Poe's Black Cats from Arrow Video brings together two adaptions of Poe's classic tale, with some Italian flair.

Featuring Lucio Fulci's The Black Cat, and Sergio Martoni's Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key this is an interesting take on the story with two different styles. While Fulci didn't go too gory with this one, there are still moments, and he goes for the more fantastical side of the tale. Your Vice is a Locked Room takes a much more sophisticated take on the story creating a macabre tale where everybody seems to be guilty and the only thing reliable is the Giallo style murders, and of course the black cat.

The most noticeable thing about Arrow Video’s Edgar Allan Poe's Black Cats collection is how well the two movies work together. If you are in the mood for more of a fun horror then you can watch Fulci's movie, if you want a more sophistic tale of murder and intrigue you can watch Martino’s instead. With plenty of special features and an excellent presentation, this is a very good boxset that fans of horror will love.


Black Cat 1981
The Black Cat (1981):

In The Black Cat, the great David Warbeck plays a detective who is sent to a small English village to investigate a series of mysterious deaths. Corpses are turning up covered in scratches. A man crashes his car after a black cat suddenly shows up in the passenger’s seat. A young couple is found dead in a locked-up boathouse. Evidence suggests that the killer entered through a small air vent. No human could fit through that vent but…how about a cat? Warbeck enlists the aid of a visiting American photographer (Mimsy Farmer) to investigate the crimes and he soon comes across a half-crazed medium (Patrick Magee) who just happens to own an adorable, if ill-tempered, black cat...

DVD9 + BD50 | NTSC / 1080p AVC | 01:31:53 | 7.84 Gb + 38.3 Gb
Language: Italiano, English
Subtitles: English

Extras:

• Audio Commentary by filmmaker and Fangoria editor Chris Alexander
Instructive and enlightening, Alexander’s knowledge of Fulci’s filmography and horror films on the whole is quite an enjoyable listen, though this track might have benefited from having an additional voice to bounce thoughts off of. Occasionally, he take a few self indulgent, mildly distracted turns. That said, being a Buffalo resident, it was nice to hear the Cat’s Pajamas overnight show shout-out – a nice little thematic tie in.

• Poe into Fulci: The Spirit of Perverseness
Film historian and author Stephen Thrower speaks at length on Fulci’s loose Poe adaptation, the film’s casting and the some of the odd narrative opportunities lost along the way. 26 min

• In the Paw-Prints of the Black Cat
Stephen Thrower returns to take a look at some of the original Black Cat locations on the 34th anniversary of the shoot. 8 min

• Frightened Dagmar
In this brand new career interview with actress Dagmar Lassander, she tells her tale of beginning her career as a constume designer, swiftly moving before the camera and into exploitation pictures. At once candid in her discussion of onscreen nudity, she admits to her own astonished reaction to many modern films. 20 min

• At Home with David Warbeck
Recorded at his own abode back in 1995, this archive interview with The Black Cat star sees him speaking on his relationship with Fulci, his creative process and much, much more. 70 min

• Original Theatrical Trailer
"Death is not the end of everything". Taking quotes from the English-dub version, this blood soaked trailer is as wildly illogical as the film it previews. 3 min

Your Vice Is a Locked Room 1972
Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key (1972):

Washed-up alcoholic writer Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli) lives in a decadent villa, previously populated by his late beloved mother, with his unhinged wife Irene (Anita Strindberg). Throwing lavish parties for local hippies instead of writing his next novel, Oliviero finds joy in humiliating his wife in public, smacking her around and raping her in front of the shy black maid, and has a strange relationship with his pet black, Satan, who seems to have it out for Irene. A series of murders seems to implicate Oliviero as the culprit, and when the maid ends up dead one night in his mother’s favorite Victorian dress, Irene finds it hard to believe he isn’t the killer! Enter Floriana (Edwige Fenech), Oliviero’s beautiful niece, who invites herself to stay at the villa for an unspecified period of time. She begins to seduce both husband and wife, and as the murders continue, the question arises: what is Floriana’s motive for being there?

DVD9 + BD50 | NTSC / 1080p AVC | 01:36:41 | 7.70 Gb + 42.9 Gb
Language: Italiano, English
Subtitles: English

Extras:

• Through the Keyhole: An interview with Sergio Martino
At 77, director Sergio Martino is still vibrant and full of memories of the film’s shoot in this new interview. Delving into the film’s origins, he touches on Poe’s influence, his own prior picture The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, and meeting his three lead actors for the first time. 35 min

• Unveiling the Vice
Produced by No Shame Films, this revealing though visually rough making-of retrospective features interviews with Martino, star Edwige Fenech and screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi. 23 min

• Dolls of Flesh and Blood: The Gialli of Sergio Martino
This wonderful visual essay by Michael Mackenzie explores the director’s unique contributions to the giallo genre by placing it within the broader context of the giallo genre and the filmmaker’s lengthy career. 29 min

• The Strange Vices of Ms. Fenech
In yet another informative visual essay, film historian Justin Harries discusses Edwige Fenech’s prolific career and lasting impression within the giallo genre and beyond. 30 min
Eli Roth on Your Vice
Giving a brief intro into what gialli are and some of the key films that led up to modern horror and slasher films, Roth comes off as a truly well versed, well spoken horror cinephile. 9 min

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