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Masters of Horror: The Black Cat

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2007

 

With director Stuart Gordon, writer Dennis Paoli, star Jeffrey Combs and a heapin' helping of gore all present and accounted for, "The Black Cat" serves as a "Re-Animator" reunion. Like that film, which found life in the work of H.P. Lovecraft, this second-season episode of "Masters of Horror" also is based on a story by a legendary writer: Edgar Allan Poe.

 

Poe's story of a measly drunk whose life is made even more miserable by the arrival of a feral feline has been adapted many times before, but Gordon's take merits special notice for making the protagonist Poe himself. Usually over-the-top, Combs gives a great performance as the scribe who spends more time with a drink in his hand than a well-inked quill.

 

Over the course of the hour running time, a patient Poe tries to tend to his ailing wife (Elyse Levesque) as a crafty kitty gradually drives him to the brink of insanity, and then over it.

 

Though slow in spots, this episode is of a higher class than others, and that's with the infamous eye-popping scene included. The cinematography is great, and the effects somewhat haphazard. Speaking of that, one of the bonus features is dedicated to pulling off an ax-to-the-face shot.

 

"?Rod Lott

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