Rerelease: 'The Cat o’ Nine Tails'
Following his debut feature in 1970, Italian horror director/writer Dario Argento released The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971). As the second entry in his “Animal Trilogy”, the film’s title takes a metaphorical approach (referring to the number of leads the protagonists follow to solve a mystery). Arrow Video presents The Cat o’ Nine Tails with plenty of extras. Now in Blu Ray, with 4k resolution, and a variety of commentary, this release makes for another worthy addition for every Argento fan.
Following the formula of giallo cinema, The Cat o’ Nine Tails is a thrilling ride. The story revolves around a reporter and blind man investigating a series of murders that take place after a research institute is robbed. As the title suggest, each of their nine leads takes the duo on a journey of suspense and violence.
Ennio Morricone presents a captivating score that offers a variety of feelings to the film. While there are plenty of times where the music exudes chills, there’s also moments where it’s funky. This plays into the thriller elements of the picture, with the reporter and blind man following each clue they discover. It gives the film a more playful, fun detective vibe (rather than the ominous tone of The Bird With The Crystal Plumage).
Enrico Menczer takes on the cinematography, presenting obscurity and excitement throughout the film. There's a great blend of imagery that emits eerie vibes (as well as your standard blood and gore). One use of chilling imagery is that of a creepy eye that appears whenever the killer shows up. The camera will shift into first-person, following the victim as they are attacked, the eye popping up sporadically. Throughout the picture the camera will jump around in perspective, adding a sense of anxiety to the action.
One particular scene shows the reporter getting a shave, with the barber talking about how a crazy barber would kill someone. We see the reporter begin to sweat and tremble with each stroke of the blade as the barber continues talking. The shifting camera perspectives bring a great deal of concern, keeping the viewer wondering if something may happen. These qualities lead to some of The Cat o’ Nine Tails best moments, and how it keeps the suspense flowing.
The Cat o' Nine Tails is all about its story, and even though the characters act more as plot devices, they help to keep the momentum moving. The witty and fun detective dialogue between our two protagonists keeps the plot interesting, building anticipation towards the killer's reveal.
Argento has stated that The Cat o’ Nine Tails isn’t one of his favorite works; but in regards to his fans, this restoration is worth their time. The visuals offer exciting and chilling scenes throughout the picture, with the score fueling the adrenaline. The Cat o’ Nine Tails is an enjoyable ride of giallo filmmaking, exploring an interesting and satisfying story. It offers viewers plenty of extra treats, along with a riveting mystery.