January 26, 2024

If You Liked That, You’ll Love This: The Black Cat (1934)

Just like the “Because You Watched…” lane that pops up on your favorite streaming service, Now Playing Podcast wants to help you find the perfect companion flicks. Each week, contributor Chris Bravo brings you fresh recommends that tie in with one of our reviews.

In The Ghost of Frankenstein, you may have missed the ominous presence of Boris Karloff. You may have appreciated Bela Lugosi’s efforts, but missed his over-the-top performance from Son of Frankenstein. And while you may have enjoyed this last adventure of Frankenstein’s Monster, maybe you missed the more sinister elements from the previous films. If that sounds like you, I have the solution–give The Black Cat (1934) a watch.

The Black Cat is another Universal Studios picture, but without the iconic monster. Instead, we have, I think, Boris Karloff at his creepiest, playing a sadistic scientist who also oversaw German prisons during World War I. Yes, Karloff is much more disturbing and off-putting here than in any of his Frankenstein films. Bela Lugosi is no slouch either, filling in as Karloff’s adversary with few moral qualms of his own. Throw in the search for a long-lost love, an unsuspecting honeymooning couple, and lots and lots of taxidermied bodies, and you have an unsettling stew of a movie.

The Black Cat is a chilling film that showcases Karloff and Lugosi in roles that only highlight their talents for unnerving performances. For those seeking a departure from the monster-centric narrative, this film offers a unique and unsettling journey into the darker realms of classic horror. A solid recommendation for anyone who enjoyed a Karloff-Lugosi movie.

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