The Shadow of the Cat (1961)

Genres - Horror, Thriller  |   Release Date - May 1, 1961 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 79 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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While The Shadow of the Cat is often forgotten when discussing the films of the Hammer Studio, it's a very entertaining little horror flick that deserves a wider audience. Granted, the basic premise is undeniably silly; while cats can cause a bit of a fright and can inflict some damage upon a human, basing an entire film around a cat's attempts to avenge its owner's death does stretch things a bit. Fortunately, director John Gilling handles things with a slight touch of humor, acknowledging that "yes, this is kind of goofy, but isn't it fun?!" The premise also allows Gilling and cinematographer Arthur Grant to indulge in some cat's-eye-view lensing that is interesting, often striking and always quite effective. If Gilling's direction is overall not as involving as that of some other Hammer helmers, it still more than gets the job done. And Cat does benefit from the usual excellent Hammer editing, which is saying a lot. If the cast lacks a Peter Cushing, it does well enough, with Andre Morell's mad scene fairly delicious, and Barbara Shelley rather good all the way through. Horror aficionados looking for something a bit off the beaten track should give The Shadow of the Cat a look; they'll like what they see.