A man picks up a female hitchhiker while a serial killer of women, nicknamed The Cat is on the prowl for another victim.
Giallo / Slasher / Euro-Horror
Jean-Benoit Angely – Milicien 3
Frederic Aubry – Inconnu bar
Laurent Bonnard – Milicien Chef
Jean-Philippe Lafargue – Octavien
Francois Remigi – Il Gatto
Written and directed by Marc Dray, his only film credit to date, Il gatto dal viso d’uomo is, as you would expect- a giallo. But contrary to the title’s language it is a French rather than Italian production; coming a year before fellow French giallo Blackaria (2010), making you wonder why the sudden interest and did these films influence the work of Belgian duo Cattet and Forzani?
Clocking in at forty-two and a half minutes this short film is at times extremely stylish, in particular in its use of colour, but frustratingly at other times it betrays it’s shot on video nature making for a captivating yet infuriating watch as it threatens so much but lacks that final execution.
Beginning with a young woman hitchhiking a lift from middle-aced Octavien (Jean Phillipe Lafargue), she offers him a drink in a local bar as a thank you and it is from here the weirdness begins while we soon learn that the police are out looking for a mysterious serial-killer, known only as the cat.
Lacking a more traditional gialli lead such as an amateur sleuth, as Octavien has his own issues, the film shifts additional weighting to the killer. Although this seems a practical rather than creative decision, especially considering the duration and script, as this shift does not add much more depth to the film. However, the opposite is true about the fantastic score, channelling the spirit of Goblin (especially Tenebrae) with a hint of what Anton Maiovvi would later go on to become famous for, the soundtrack really goes on to help lift the quality of the film.
Il gatto… is clearly made by a man with a love for the genre and features the expected nods to past movies and scenes, with the killer’s disguise reminding me of Blood and Black Lace albeit with a different mask. While the movie itself also appears to have a slight undercurrent of slasher influence, although this could be more to do with the SOV quality and one murder scene than anything else.
Lacking the characters and red herrings of the initial wave of gialli the film compensates with an incohesive narrative, leading to some critics calling the film ‘Lynchian and promising’ and while it certainly has promise, the Lynch comparison is very flattering as at least with his films you feel as if there is a point or meaning beneath the surface.
Making little sense and with a largely unmemorable plot, it is the imagery and set-pieces that stick in your mind after the film has ended and while ultimately not as strong as fans of the genre would hope there is still plenty to recommend about this film for at least a single viewing.