The Crimes of the Black Cat – original title: Sette scialli di seta gialla [“7 Shawls of Yellow Silk”] – is a 1972 Italian ‘giallo’ horror thriller feature film directed by Sergio Pastore from a screenplay co-written with Sandro Continenza (Let Sleeping Corpses Lie) and Giovanni Simonelli. The movie stars Anthony Steffen, Sylva Koscina and Giovanna Lenzi.
The film includes a brief murder scene from Lucio Fulci’s A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (1971), also an Edmondo Amati production.
Several fashion models are killed by a murderer who poisons a black cat’s claws with curare. Each victim is given a shawl as a gift, which is laced with a chemical attracting the cat.
The first such victim, Paola, had been in a relationship with a blind composer, Peter Oliver (Anthony Steffen) who overhears a conversation he believes may help him track down the killer.
Oliver, aided by his butler Burton (Umberto Raho) tracks the cat to its owner, drug addict Susan (Giovanna Lenzi), who is murdered before she can reveal who has been using the cat…
“Italian exploitation directors are frequently criticised for their reliance on zoom shots, but here Pastore sets a new Guinness world record for overuse of this device, which is repeated to laughable effect during each of the subsequent murders.” House of Freudstein
“There are so many wonderfully cheesy snippets it’s a real shame the whole thing doesn’t hang together. The editing is appalling, and although some of it could be put down to a substandard video release, the film just doesn’t flow properly – its choppiness ruining all but the most obvious elements of the story.” Hysteria Lives!
“The murder scenes are handled with little imagination, on the whole but it has to be noted that the razor slashing at the end of the picture is one of the nastiest to be seen in a giallo of this vintage. The mean-spirited quality of the ending recalls another sloppy but endearing entry, Riccardo Freda’s The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (1971), though Pastore’s film is handled with greater professionalism on the whole.” Troy Howarth, So Deadly, So Perverse
“Memorable scenes include a corpse found propped up under a huge perspex dome and a hooded lady stalking the streets like something out of Orphée (1950). Unfortunately, the wildly pulsating zooms and heavy-handed editing effects preclude the sustained mood necessary to elevate the film from being a ‘mere’ entertainment.” Phil Hardy (editor), The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror
- Anthony Steffen – Killer Fish; Evil Eye; The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave
- Sylva Koscina – Dracula in the Provinces; Lisa and the Devil; So Sweet, So Dead
- Giovanna Lenzi – Delitti
- Renato De Carmine
- Giacomo Rossi-Stuart – Death Smiles on a Murderer, Something Creeping in the Dark
- Umberto Raho – The Sexorcist; Night of the Devils; Amuck
- Annabella Incontrera – Stigma; Black Belly of the Tarantula; The Case of the Bloody Iris
- Romano Malaspina
- Isabelle Marchall
- Imelde Marani
- Liliana Pavlo
- Lorenzo Piani
- Irio Fantini
- Shirley Corrigan – Doctor Jekyll vs. the Werewolf; Devil’s Nightmare