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The Uncanny

UK/Canada 1977
produced by
Claude Héroux, Milton Subotsky, René Dupont, Harold Greenberg (executive), Robert A.Kano (executive), Richard R.St. Johns (executive) for Cinévidéo, Tor Productions, the Rank Organisation
directed by Denis Héroux
starring Peter Cushing, Ray Milland, Joan Greenwood, Susan Penhaligon, Simon Williams, Roland Culver, Katrina Holden, Chloe Franks, Alexandra Stewart, Donald Pilon, Renée Girard, Donald Pleasence, Smantha Eggar, John Vernon, Catherine Bégin, Jean LeClerc, Sean McCann
written by Michel Parry, music by Wilfred Josephs, conducted by Philip Martell, special effects by Michael Albrechtsen

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Wilbur (Peter Cushing) is a science writer who has a terrible fear of cats, and he has written a book about cats being the real masters of the world, which he now tries to pitch to his publisher (Ray Milland) - who wouldn't you know it has a cat.to convince the publisher about hsi book, Wilbur tells him three stories about evil cats:

  • The first story concerns old Mrs Malkin (Joan Greenwood) who wants to leave her entire fortune to her cats - much to the dismay of her nephew Michael (Simon Williams), who wanted the money for himself. But Michael still has an ace up his sleeve, Janet (Susan Penhaligon), Mrs Malkin's maid, who is secretly also his girlfriend, and she tries to steal the will out of the old woman's safe soon enough - but when Mrs Malkin catches her, Janet kills her ... and is immediately attacked by the cats, managing to save her life only when she locks herself in a cupboard. Eventually, she realizes the cats have calmed down and makes another attempt to get her hands on the will - but then she sees Mrs Malkin's dead body partially being eaten up by the cats and has a severe shock - which is when the cats make another attack and kill her. Days later, Michael arrives at the place with the police and finds both his aunt and his lover dead. Immediately he tries to take hold of the situation and get his hands on the will as well, when the cats attack him too.
  • Lucy's (Katrina Holden) parents have just died in a plane crash, and now she and her cat are moved to her aunt (Alexandra Stewart), wheree she is soon subjected to her cousin Angela's (Chloe Franks) jealousy, which really gets the better of Angela when she realizes that Lucy's cat loves only Lucy and won't play with her. So Angela sees to it that the cat is being taken away, and that Lucy learns who was responsible for it. Somehow though the cat returns, and Lucy knows a thing or two about black magic, like causing Lucy to shrink in the finale and having her chased by the cat for a while like a mouse, before Lucy herself smashes bratty Angela.
  • Actor Valentine De-Ath (Donald Pleasence) sees to it that his wife (Catherine Bégin) is killed on the set of his latest horror movie and his mistress Edina (Samantha Eggar) gets her job. Thing is, Valentine's wife had a cat, and cats can be vengeful beasts - and despite their best efforts, Valentine and Edina just can't manage to get rid of the animal. Instead one night, the cat visits Valentine and Edina on the set of the film one night and sees to it that Edina is killed in an iron maiden before attacking Valentine, killing him too.

Having finished his stories, Wilbur leaves his manuscript in the publisher's care and heads home - but is killed by a bunch of cats on the way. The publisher meanwhile is hypnotized by his cat into burning the manuscript and give the cat a new bowl of milk.

 

The idea of cats ruling the world is actually pretty amusing, and a horror film with something as cute as cats being the monsters is at least inspired - but unfortunately, The Uncanny makes the least of its premise, reduces it to one story of Birds-like animal horror, a black magic tale with traits of The Incredible Shrinking Man that never actually gets off the ground, and one very predictable revenge story that is somehow reminiscent of Tom and Jerry - without really being meant to be funny. Of course, nice sets, a decent if old-fashioned direction and above all excellent actors see to it that the film is not a total loss - it's jsut far from being a winner either.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD