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Seven Deaths In The Cat's Eyes - Seven Deaths In The Cat's Eyes(Blu Ray) [Twilight Time - 2021]

With a title like Seven Deaths In The Cat's Eyes, you’d probably be expecting a Giallo- but in reality, what we have here is a 1970’s old fashion murder mystery in a gothic setting. The film has subtle touches/ suggestions of Giallo and horror tropes, though largely it’s more akin to an Agatha Christie mystery- with a selection of shifty have motives characters, and Serge Gainsbourg playing the police inspector investigation, who in the English dub has a hammy Scots accent. Here from Twilight Time is a new Blu Ray release of the film- taking in a commentary track from respected Giallo/ horror expert Troy Howarth.

Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eyes ( aka La morte negli occhi del gatto) appeared in the year 1973- it was Italian, French and West German production. The film was directed by Rome born Antonio Margheriti(as Anthony M. Dawson )- who between the 1960s and late 1990’s he had fifty-three feature-length credits to his name- and was a rather genre varied director. With his output going from reporter going space Sci-fi of Assignment: Outer Space(1960), run of mill Sword and Sandals film The Fall Of Rome (1963), gothic horror of Castle Of Blood (1964), Klaus Kinski staring spaghetti western And God Said To Gain( 1970), a remake of Robert Louis Stevenson pirate adventure Treasure Island( 1972) featuring Orson Wells, heist crime film The Squeeze (1978), and cheapy action-adventure The Ark Of The Sun God( 1984). And there’s no doubt Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eyes is a well-scoped film, which starts off feeling nicely uneasy with its blend of low angle shots, brooding to angular scoring, and on the edge of a cliff Castle setting. Though sadly it fairly soon switches to cliched murder mystery tropes/ atmosphere, though from time to time the early creepy uneasy vibe returns, and this was one of the elements that kept me held through the film. Which does often feel a bit of a slog to get through.

The film is set in a cliff set castle in Scotland- and after its pre-credits/ credits featuring a dead body being attacked by rats in a stone crypt, it begins with Corringa(Jane Birkin), returning early from study to her family home. The castle is huge, and also features its own graveyard- which is of course used to great effect. And inside we have a selection of shifty/ untrustworthy folk- there’s up to no good medical man Dr Franz( Anton Driffring), seemingly unbalanced young lord James (Hiram Keller), pleasant though unknown past vicar Father Robinson(Venantino Venantini), sluttish French teacher Suzanne(Doris Kunstmann), money in her eyes Lady Alicia(Dana Ghia), and a shifty butler and housekeeper.
 
As the film's title suggests we have cat- a tubby ginger, as well as wackily enough a gorilla who keeps escaping. We have seven deaths too- and some of these have slight Giallo touches- a black-gloved killer and some of the murders are committed with a straight razor, though they are fairly tame and fleeting. We also have suggestions of a Vampiric curse on the family, but again this element is fleeting too. What the main focus here is bickering family drama and murder mystery plotting- with a good selection of red herrings along the way. For the most part, the one hour and thirty-four minutes felt rather a slog to me- as there’s not really much of an edge here at tall- it’s largely a tame murder mystery film, with very slight exploitation touches. There are some positives, the moments of a creepier/ chilling atmosphere, the very subtle Giallo touches including a brief-if-neat finale in primal colour lamplight, and the more campy/ quirky touches, as this is of course the 70’s.

 
Moving onto this new region free Blu Ray- and we find a newly remastered print, this looks largely good/ balanced, though still a little murky in the nighttime/ cellar shots. On the extras front, we get a commentary track from Troy Howarth- who is an expert on Giallo, Italian genre, and horror films. I’ve listened to many of Mr Howarth’s tracks, and he once again does another wonderful job here. He starts off by comparing the use of a cat watching murders been similar to the plotting of Hammer’s 1961 film Shadow Of The Cat. He talks about the castle location which in reality is a very long way from Scotland near Rome- giving a brief history of the building. He talks about the film being part of the sub-genre of gothic Giallo, mentioning a few other films in the genre- be they good or bad. As he moves on he gives interesting/ in-depth bios of both lead and smaller part actors. He talks about onscreen action, comments on the film's cinematography which was by Carlo Carlini- who had over a hundred credits to his name. Later on, he discusses the filmography of director Antonio Margheriti, and much more. Once again, another very well researched and entertaining track- which could easily be played more than a few times. The disc gives you the option to play the film in either English or Italian language, there are also Italian or English trailers. The release is finished off with a glossy twelve-page inlay booklet- this features a new write-up about the picture and a good collection of stills and poster artwork.
 

In finishing there’s no doubt this new Twilight Time blu ray offers us up a great presentation of this 1970’s film. I’d say you’ll have to enjoy/ be looking for the more old-fashioned murder mystery to fully enjoy Seven Deaths In The Cat's Eyes, and if you're hoping for a straight more bloody/ sleazed Giallo I think you’ll be decidedly underwhelmed by what’s on offer here- so it very depends on what you after.

Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5

Roger Batty
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