Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 15th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1990
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writers: Lucio Fulci, Giovanni Simonelli, Antonio Tentori, John Fitzsimmons
Cast: Lucio Fulci, David L. Thompson, Jeoffrey Kennedy, Malisa Longo, Ria De Simone, Brett Halsey, Sacha Darwin, Robert Egon, Shillett Angel, Paola Cozzo, Layla Frank, Georgia Moore, Paul Muller, Marco Di Stefano, Maurice Poli, Lubka Lenzi, Vincenzo Luzzi
BluRay released: July 12th, 2016
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono Italian
BluRay Release: Grindhouse Releasing
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $39.95
The premise for a Cat in the Brain is essentially “a Day in the Life of” … Lucio Fulci (who plays himself in the film). The plot is made up of a combination of clips from other films and scenes shot specifically for t he film to help flesh out a narrative structure. The film’s greatest asset is how the plot mixes fact and fiction. The film is also not one that is easy to digest upon one viewing and some of its subtitles become more apparent with each new viewing. Even though the majority of the death scenes are taken from previous films they all are bloody and brutal. One of the film’s most classic, line of dialog is when Lucio Fulci comments on how the special effects look fake.
Outside of Lucio Fulci’s performance this is not an easy film to gauge since the bulk of the cast only appear in the film via clips from other films. Lucio Fulci does an exceptional job portraying to the tormented director who path perfectly parallels his own journey. One of the film’s most satisfying moments is when Lucio Fulci is walking through a foggy landscape and music from The Beyond plays in the background. Also it is worth noting that the film was scored by Fabio Frizzi whose other collaborations with Lucio Fulci include The Four of the Apocalypse, Zombie, The Psychic, Silver Saddle, Contraband, City of the Living Dead, The Beyond and Manhattan Baby. Ultimately despite its flaws a Cat in the Brain is an entertaining and amusing satire.
Cat in the Brain comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This is a film that has always looked rough around the edges and this is due to the limitations of the source materials. Fortunately, Grindhouse Releasing have once again gone above and beyond in their efforts in regards to this transfer. And the end result is easily the best this film has looked on home video to date.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS=HD mono mix in English and a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English subtitles. Outside of some very minor background hiss, both of these audio mixes sounds very good and far exceed expectations. Dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Also the film’s soundtrack sounding robust and the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack fare well.
Extras on disc one (a 25 GB single layer Blu-ray) include, the U.S. (1 minute 58 seconds) and the Italian (1 minute 46 seconds) trailers.
Extras on disc two (a 50 GB daul layer Blu-ray) include, an interview with screenwriter Antonio Tentori titled Have a Nice Vacation, Doctor Fulci (27 minutes 11 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with cinematographer Sandro Grossi titled A Nightmare in the Brain (27 minutes 50 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with composer Fabio Frizzi titled Frizzi & Fulci (30 minutes 30 seconds), a clip of Fabio Frizzi performing live in Hollywood in 2015 (7 minutes 32 seconds), an interview with poster artist Enzo Sciotti (17 minutes 52 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), Antonio Tentori’s radio interview with Lucio Fulci from 1987 (16 minutes 23 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), two on camera interviews with Lucio Fulci – the first interview is titled The Television Years (40 minutes 58 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and the second interview is titled Genre Terrorist (40 minutes 16 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with actor Brett Hasley titled Living La Dolce Vida (46 minutes 2 seconds), Jeffery Kennedy Gabrielli, Sacha Maria Darwin and Malisa Longo remember Lucio Fulci in a segment titled Memories of Lucio (4 minutes 58 seconds, in English and Italian with English subtitles) and an extra titled Stills Gallery / Fangoria Weekend of Horrors from 1996 with Lucio Fulci interview.
Topics discussed in the interview with Antonio Tentori include, how his first encounter with Lucio Fulci lead to him becoming a screenwriter, his first collaborations with Fulci – The House of Clocks and The Sweet House of Horrors, how despite their short coming Fulci’s later film’s always had at least one or two very good ideas in them, Cat in the Brain, the origins of the project, why there are two endings and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with Sandro Grossi include, Barry Lyndon and how that film influenced him as a cinematographer, the first time he encountered Lucio Fulci and their first collaborations – The House of Clocks and The Sweet House of Horrors, Cat in the Brain, Lucio Fulci’s performance and how the dubbing affected said performance, special effects, the look of the film and Lucio Fulci’s legacy as a filmmaker.
Topics discussed in the interview with Fabio Frizzi include, Four of the Apocalypse, Cat in the Brain and all the film’s that he collaborated with Lucio Fulci in-between. Other topics include, audience reaction to music from Cat in the Brain the first time is was performed live, the advantages of being flexible as a composer and not to fall in love with an idea and it is always better when the director has a clear idea of what they want.
Topics discussed in the interview with Enzo Sciotti include, his origins as an artist, his early days working as a poster artist, from beginning to the end the process he goes through in making each poster, Cat in the Brain and how he is surprised about the renewed interest in his poster art.
Topics discussed in the extra titled The Television Years include, how his brief time in medical school helped influence his filmmaking, how T.V. news is often more violent than most Horror films, how he worked on news reels for two years, the transition from news reels to making feature films, how his westerns differ from his contemporaries and various other films he worked on during the latter half of the 1960’s.
Topics discussed in the extra titled Genre Terrorist include, the main differences between a Horror film and a Thriller film, crafting films for television verse for the cinema, his cinema influences and various films that he has worked on 1970’s to present.
Topics discussed in the interview with Brett Hasley include, how he got into acting and his big break as a contract actor for Universal Studios, Return of the Fly, 20th Century Fox and leaving Hollywood for Italy, movies he has passed on throughout his career, Lucio Fulci, their first collaboration – The Devil’s Honey and other films they worked on together, violence in Lucio Fulci’s films and more recent projects he has been working on.
Other extras on disc two include, bios / filmographies for Lucio Fulci and Brett Hasley. And these items can also be located within these two extras, a brief interview clip with Brett Hasley and trailers for The Beyond, Silver Saddle, La Pretora, Beatrice Cenci, Beyond Justice, Esmeralda Bay, Roy Colt and Winchester Jack and Return of the Fly.
Rounding out extras on disc two is a Grindhouse Releasing Previews Reel and it includes the following trailers, The Beyond, Pieces, Pigs, Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Forex, The Tough Ones, Massacre Mafia Style, Gone with the Pope, An American Hippie in Israel, Corruption, The Swimmer, The Big Gundown and I Drink Your Blood.
Extras on disc three (a CD) is Fabio Frizzi’s original motion picture soundtrack for Cat in the Brain.
Rounding out the extras is a collectible postcard, reversible cover art and twenty-page booklet with four essays, the first essay about this film was written by Antonello Fulci, the second essay about this film was written by Eli Roth, the third essay titled There’s Always Room for Giallo was written by David J. Schow and the fourth essay titled Recycled Horror was written by Martin Beine. Overall Cat in the Brain gets a definitive release from Grindhouse Releasing, highly recommended.