Retro Review: A Cat In The Brain (1990)

It’s time to take your Horror Movie medicine again. As we make our way through Fulci February 2017, we’re taking down another dose of the Italian godfather of gore’s medicine. Sure, sometimes it’s bitter to swallow, but other times it goes down smooth like butter. Either way, in the end your horror knowledge is stronger for it. This week boils and ghouls, we’re taking a look at my #5 pick from my Lucio Fulci Top 10 of all-time list. 1990’s A Cat in the Brain (Nightmare Concert).

Lucio Fulci has always made small cameos in his horror films. This time around though, Fulci takes the lead. Portraying an embattled director on set filming his next horrific masterpiece, named Lucio Fulci. Wait, WHAT? That’s right, Fulci is actually playing himself! As if this film could get any cooler than it is already, Fulci also did his own voice over work in English. I’m already fucking sold!

A Cat in the Brain follows Fulci, who is beginning to have a mental break from reality. Constantly reliving gory scenes from his previous films in his mind over and over. Blurring his boundary of what he filmed over the years and what is reality. Fulci really did a fantastic job acting in this film. Maybe it was easier for him, knowing he was portraying himself? But, it also does make me wonder how would he have done, had he taken on more acting roles?

As I mentioned above, Fulci relives moments from his movies. Not his ‘fictitious’ films. Cat in the Brain actually uses scenes from Fulci’s previous endeavors. Not just movies he’s directed, but also ones he produced. Which I thought was an amazing way to profile some of Fulci’s lesser known films in one medium.

Scenes used from films he produced:

Bloody Psycho (1989)

Massacre (1989)

The Murder Secret (1989)

Scenes used from films he directed:

Sodoma’s Ghost (1988)

Touch of Death (1988)

Hansel & Gretel (1990)

The Beyond (1981; music only)

Fulci’s best collaborator, Fabio Frizzi is back to give this film his signature touch with the soundtrack score. Creating an ominous and downright creepy nursery rhyme for the title track. Frizzi also reuses a couple of very familiar songs from The Beyond. So, in a way Frizzi and Fulci are both showcasing their previous accomplishments on screen. To me, any Fulci film is not complete without an original score from Fabio Frizzi.

Cat in the Brain is an intruiging film. All the gore that is supplied throughout, albeit one death scene, are from other films. So, when you stop and think about it, this film was probably very cheap to make, (considering 2/3 of the film are clips from other movies). It only cost $100,000 to make! An incredibly genius way to make a highlight reel of some of his less successful films, which in turn would make those films more enticing to the viewer after watching Cat in the Brain.

To me, this film needs to be re-evaluated on my Top 10 list. I feel I may have been a bit hasty with my rankings a couple of weeks ago. After re-watching and much internal debate, I now believe that Cat in the Brain is the #3 best Fulci film followed by Zombi (1979) and The Beyond (1981) respectively. It is an amazing love letter to the career of the Italian maestro of gore. I have heard from interviews that Fulci was a tough and firm director to work with on set and strived for the best from his actors’ performances. Those although subtle nuances can be seen in Cat in the Brain. How the man was always trying to make the best film with what he had to work with.

Sadly, Fulci passed away in 1996, so he was not able to witness how popular this movie has become.

I think he would be pleased.


ZombiSurvivor: 8.0/10


Thanks as always for reading!

Like and Follow The Horror Syndicate





About Jared Letourneau 189 Articles
Hey there boils and ghouls! My love of horror films came on a dark and stormy night.... ....Truthfully, it probably happened in 1980-something during a sunny day when I was 5 or 6. That movie was JAWS. I had never been so terrified to go swimming and I live in a land-locked state! I have been a Horror Hound ever since. Having seen hundreds of films, some good and some downright dreadful, my love for horror cinema has grown stronger than ever! My wife Beth and I consume all types of horror films. One of our mutual favorites is A Serbian Film (2010). A couple of my favorite directors are Lucio Fulci and John Carpenter. Contributing here at T.H.S and being able to work with these other folks is an indescribable honor to me. I love our T.H.S team.... I will share secrets after a few drinks and I also enjoy long romantic walks in dimly-lit cemeteries. My fave top 5 films are: 1)Dawn Of The Dead (Original) 2)The Thing (Carpenter's Remake) 3)Zombie 4)The Beyond 5)Friday the 13th pt IV: The Final Chapter Stay Scared! -ZombiSurvivor