The Uncanny (1977) – Ferocious Felines & Slapstick Script

I have been in a writing funk of sorts. I’ve been writing, but it’s not coherent (even for me) and it’s fragmentary. Bits and pieces of darkness splattered across the digital page throughout the days. Seemingly with no direction and no purpose.

I could blame the current state of the world. The disorder of my household (of course it’s the plumbing). Etc etc.

Now I have a cat.

Things have never been more dire. The cat has become suspicious of me because I keep squirting liquid in her eye and force-feeding her anti-histamine pills. Cat pilling is a creepy term for something such a horrific activity.

The dog thinks I’m a traitor.

In true “the enemy of my enemy is my ally,” I suspect the dog and cat are planning to slit my throat during the night. Or possibly during the day.

The dog works the day shift. The cat works the night shift. The goal is to ensure I never get any sleep. As a team, they are a rousing success. Rousing me from slumber whenever my eyes dare to close.

So we come round to the movie in question.

The Uncanny is proof positive that cats are out to get us all.

At this point, I have a hard time believing they don’t have the right idea.

Don’t let anyone convince you that this is a horrific movie. In any way. It’s a horror comedy and it’s fun. A three-part anthology that moves along at a brisk pace.

Mind, it does not hold up to modern standards despite originally earning an X rating in the UK. If you’re not capable of accepting the ridiculousness that a 1977 film entails, you best avoid it. This movie is corny as all git out.

There is nothing original in the three stories. Not in 1977 and not now. The effects border on ludicrous. The soundtrack is the kind of thing that is played as background music during CIA torture sessions.

For me, these aspects of the film serve to highlight the films comedic nature.

The movie starts with a great arty intro – surrealist cat paintings and ominous music. Cheesy one-liners hit you from start to finish.

This film knows who it is. I can respect that. The actors are smirking with you. The cats are confused and angry.

The jokes are crass for the time. The felines do not pull punches. The humans are deceitful and malicious.

An old lady gets eaten. A teenaged girl gets shrunk and stepped on through witchcraft. A bunch of actors die in gruesome fashion, their stage “props” used against them. A writer gets tripped.

OK, that’s not that bad, but the writer did nothing to those cats other than notice them. The thread tying the three tales together is Peter Cushing’s character, a writer and believer in conspiracy theories who is positive the cats are taking over the world (hint: they are). He’s assembled the evidence and is presenting it to his publisher (Ray Milland), who will be of no help because he is in thrall to his own cat. The evidence is our three stories.

The cast is chews the scenery. The cats chew the cast. Director Denis Héroux does what he does.

Who is bringing this weird film experience to life?

Peter Cushing (somehow the 3rd choice for this role), Ray Milland (once top-billed over John Wayne in Reap the Wild Wind), Donald Pleasence (who is shown in a picture as Blofeld with his white cat), John Vernon (Dean Wormer of Faber College), Catherine Bégin (Mademoiselle in the 2008 film Martyrs), Samantha Eggar (in 1966 she rented the Cielo Drive house where the Tate murders occurred in 1969, starred in The Brood and also every 70s and 80s TV show), and Susan Penhaligon (played Lucy in the 1977 Count Dracula, Kathy in the 1978 film Patrick, and looks great in a bodice ripped by angry cats).

The cinematographer threatened to leave because he thought the production was abusing cats. I don’t blame him. Did they learn nothing from this story? These cats aren’t evil, they are out for revenge.

This whole production is a glorious mess.

I watched it with the cat. She was oddly silent. I’ll be watching my step.

About I.M. Pangs

digital verbal smog creator
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6 Responses to The Uncanny (1977) – Ferocious Felines & Slapstick Script

  1. Hush, you always did like splatter.

  2. chicagokat3 says:

    You simply have to give over to her and become her willing minion… it’s your only chance.

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