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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Uncanny (1977) - Claude Héroux


Cats are strange creatures. While I love my cat a lot. She is very lazy and expectant. She doesn't do much outside of eating, sleeping and getting belly rubs. But I have this sneaking suspicion she is planning my demise. This movie only affirms such behavior. The Uncanny is a French-Canadian/British anthology horror movie consisting of different cat themed tales.

The interweaving story is a series of true stories that Wilber (Peter Cushing) is trying to sell to his publisher. While Wilber tells these stories, he seems to grow more and more nervous about his cat "speaking" to other neighborhood cats. They are all mingling about taking the human species out.

The stories comprise feline revenge tales. Our initial tale has a woman trying to rob an old cat lady. It so happens her cats don't like that. They rip her apart. Quaint little jazzy tunes play in between stories, it breaks up the atmosphere. A lot of films from the seventies made that mistake. Like directors didn't know how to direct the soundtrack.

The next story is about Lucy, a young girl who moves into her aunt's home after her mother's death. The young girl has books on Witchcraft and also has a stereotypical black cat. Thus she begins her journey on a satanic lifestyle much to the chagrin of her oppressive aunt. Lucy shrinks her bully cousin during a dark ceremony. She shrinks her down to the size of a mouse. Perfect for the cat to bat around. These scenes are entertaining. It's fantastic when the cousin meets her horrific demise.

The last story is about a rich asshole (Donald Pleasence) in Hollywood that murders his wife on set to give the part to the young lady he is having an affair with. She's not so great either. He treats his wife's cat like shit. He is constantly yelling at it and stomping at the poor thing. So, like the other felines it tries to kill them and succeeds.

The actors performances are cheap. Typical from a movie from the late seventies. It has its moments. Peter Cushing, Donald Pleasence and Ray Milland all do fantastic. But the rest of the cast is stuck churning out daytime television performances. The segment with satanic Lucy was my favorite. And the overarching story was great. There could have had better quality picture and better dubbing. Those are my only gripes.

The Uncanny was enjoyable. It was cheap but charming. It's one of only a few movies that shine a light on the common house-cat's true intentions. Something that is respectable. All joking aside. I would recommend this movie. It's not something that a casual horror fan would enjoy but more for the horror lover. Especially if that horror lover is a fan of Hammer pictures or just British horror altogether. 

Director: Claude Héroux
Producer: René Dupont and Milton Subotsky
Writer: Michael Parry
Starring: Peter Cushing, Ray Milland and Donald Pleasence
Studio: CineVideo, TOR and Rank Films
Release date: August 26, 1977
Country: Canada/Britain
Did you know: Peter Cushing was third choice for author Wilbur Gray.








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