Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eyes – Italy, France, West Germany, 1973 – reviews

 
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‘Death means nothing to a beast with nine lives!

Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eyes is a 1973 Italian-French-West German Giallo-horror feature film directed by Antonio Margheriti (Web of the Spider; Castle of Blood; The Virgin of Nuremberg) from a screenplay co-written with Giovanni Simonelli (A Cat in the Brain; Bloody PsychoThe Crimes of the Black Cat).

The film’s score by Riz Ortolani uses musical cue’s from previous Margheriti films such as The Virgin of Nuremberg, and Castle of Blood.

A Blu-ray from 88 Films was released on 26th December 2016.

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Buy: Amazon.co.uk

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The movie stars Jane Birkin, Hiram Keller, Françoise Christophe, Venantino Venantini (City of the Living Dead), Doris Kunstmann, Anton Diffring (Mark of the DevilCircus of Horrors).

Plot:

Scotland: A man is murdered with a razor by an unknown killer. The killer drags the man’s body into a dimly lit dungeon and is followed by a ginger cat.

Dragonstone Castle, Scotland: Corringa (Jane Birkin) returns to spend summer with her mother. A gorilla is seen watching the carriage from an upper window.

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Corringa is reunited with her mother, Lady Alicia (Dana Ghia), and her aunt, Lady Mary MacGrieff (Francoise Christophe). Other castle residents include Doctor Franz (Anton Diffring), a priest (Venantino Venatini), the French teacher Suzanna (Doris Kunstmann), and her mad cousin, the son and heir of Lady Mary, Lord James MacGrieff (Hiram Keller). After a dinner party, Lady Alicia is suffocated with a pillow while the ginger cat watches…

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Review:

This gothic Giallo begins in a frenetic manner with a pre-credits murder, after which rats devour the corpse-all the while viewed by the overweight titular moggy. This unsubtle opening sets the tone for what becomes almost a black comedy in which every character either a blathering eccentric or stark raving mad (it’s no surprise that writer Simonelli and director Margheriti’s previous stab at the genre, The Young the evil and the Savage, was also full of humor).

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To top it all, there is the splendidly absurd notion that lunatic Lord James would keep a live ex-circus Gorilla caged up in his quarters, which allows for some vintage monkeying about behind wall panels by the real killer. References to chimeras and vampires and even “a new theory by someone called Freud” are thrown into the pot but go nowhere.

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The casting of Euro-Pop chantress Jane Birkin and Gallic songster Serge Gainsbourg adds novelty value to the proceedings but little else. The entertainingly overblown package is suitably complemented by Ortolani’s recycled bombastic orchestral arrangements.

Adrian J Smith, MOVIES & MANIA

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Other reviews:

” …at far too many moments the narrative seems to run out of steam and meander lifelessly from one scene to the next. Fortunately this slovenly progress is offset by some beautifully composed shots and a tense soundtrack by Riz Ortolani. Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye doesn’t pull any punches with its violence and there are number of well mounted set pieces, but this energy is only fleetingly glimpsed.” The Celluloid Highway

The thick atmosphere of the spooky castle couldn’t be cut with a knife, and definitely contributes to the weird success of this almost schizophrenic film. One moment it’s a supernatural tale of family curses, the next the threat is a human one and the suspects numerous. Margheriti delivers a number of memorable moments…” DVD Drive-In

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” …an opulent treat. Effective as both a black comedy, one where the laughs are both subtle and unobtrusive; and a sumptuous gothic melodrama-come-giallo.” Hysteria Lives

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Cast and characters:

  • Jane Birkin as Corringa
  • Hiram Keller as Lord James MacGrieff
  • Françoise Christophe as Lady Mary MacGrieff
  • Venantino Venantini as Padre Robertson
  • Doris Kunstmann as Suzanne
  • Anton Diffring as Doctor Franz
  • Dana Ghia as Lady Alicia
  • Serge Gainsbourg as a Police Inspector
  • Konrad Georg (de) as Campbell
  • Alan Collins as Angus
    Bianca Doria as Janet Campbell

Filming locations:

Incir De Paolis, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Castello Massimo, Arsoli, Roma, Italy

The film has also been released as (Italian:) La morte negli occhi del gatto, (French:) Les Diablesses, (Germany:) Sieben Tote in den Augen der Katze and Cat’s Murdering Eye.

Watch trailer on YouTube

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