Halloween countdown banner

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Directed by Paul Leni

The wealthy Cyrus West, thought insane by his greedy relatives, has kicked the bucket and twenty years on his will and testament can finally be read in the creepy old house where he spent his final days. Of course his ghost is still hanging around, according to the severe and spooky housekeeper, but this can't keep a passel of greedy relatives away. They all show up, the will is read and news arrives that an escaped lunatic nicknamed the Cat is on the loose and probably hiding somewhere in the old house. He's called the Cat because he apparently can shred people to bloody ribbons as if they were canaries. And so a long spooky night begins in this, the finest adaptation of the 1922 John Wilard play of the same name. Much credit should be given to director Paul Leni who used touches of expressionism and inventive camera work to bring the eerie old mansion to life with shadows, cobwebs and long hallways of billowing drapes. I've always found something inherently spooky about silent movies and anything involving haunted houses and murder is a special treat, for sure. Old dark house spoofs were quite popular and this is the best. You've probably become well accustomed to the cliches and conventions of such tales which long ago became a part of pop culture (from old cartoons to the Three Stooges and so on) but "The Cat and the Canary" is the root source. It's an entertaining and humorous romp and the Cat is looking sharp with his one monstrously big eye, walrus teeth, flop hat and cape. Yikes!


Post a Comment

<< Home