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October 29, 2013

BlackCat comp

From Benjamin

No list of “The Architecture of Halloween-Appropriate Movies”, would be complete without mention of The Black Cat [1934]. While it includes such staples of horror as young-newlyweds-lost-in-the-rain, a hilltop mansion with a cellar dungeon, and both Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in lead roles, the look of the movie veers sharply from the genre. And what a look it’s got!  Mixing strains of German Expressionism, Russian ConstructivismFrench Art Deco, & American streamline, the sets are a machine-age phantasmagoria.  Director Edgar Ulmer studied under Werkbund architect Hans Poelzig, and it shows. And while no one would be blamed for going quite mad in the cold, hard rooms of glass block and chrome plating, the film has little in the way of the supernatural.  But what it lacks in scares, it makes up for in very cool style.

The Black Cat can be seen on the web here.

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