It’s Edgar Allan Poe seen through the eyes of Dario Argento and George Romero. Not a bad lot of guys to have making movies based on your work, especially considering this was made before either had embarked on a mission to make tons of crappy movies and ruining their once sterling reputations. This is truly two films for the price of one: The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar and The Black Cat.
Spoilers will be present. Romero gets it kicked off with Mr. Valdemar which reminded of the type of thing you expect to see on a television episode of Tales from the Crypt. A woman marries a really old man for his money. She has a lover on the side. The lover and the gold digger conspire to get all of the old man’s money. They use some strange form of hypnosis on the old man to get him to sign a bunch of documents releasing the money into her possession. The old man comes back for revenge.
The movie brings up some interesting thoughts about other plains of existence that might be out there. This thought could have been expanded upon into a full feature and used in another type of movie. The film itself is good, as long you like the semi-cheesy no thought plot.
Argento’s The Black Cat is significantly better than Romero’s film. It’s clear within the first few minutes that this flick is going to be much more visually entertaining (Read: blood and gore) than Mr. Valdemar. Argento spins the familiar tale of a guy (Harver Keitel) descending into madness and along the way killing and walling up his girlfriend, only to be had by the damn black cat he buried with her.
Tom Savini did special effects for this flick and it shows. The dead girl and the zombie cat are gruesome to look at it. Keitel plays a guy who takes photos of horrific murders – Savini provides to grisly images that Keitel takes. The gore is typically overt and shocking. In other words, typical Savini.
When this film was originally thought up both John Carpenter and Wes Craven were supposed to do segments alongside Romero and Argento. That could have been the makings for one of the best anthologies of all time. Instead we are left with two films: one good, one not.
Rating: Valdemar: 4/10 The Black Cat: 7/10
Snore Factor: ZZ (it’s two full hours, but with the two movie format you should be able to stay awake with no problems)