Movie, Horror: The Black Cat directed by Ed Wood (1934)

imdb description: American honeymooners in Hungary become trapped in the home of a Satan-worshiping priest when the bride is taken there for medical help following a road accident.

imdb rating: 7.2

Title: The Black Cat (1934) Full Adventure Movie | Boris Karloff Full Movie (YT link) Uploaded by Grey Day.

The Black Cat directed by Ed Wood – (1934) 2 stars

Run time: 56 minutes. I watched this movie because Gnostic author Robert Sullivan said I would find Gnostic themes in it. I did find them in the two main antagonist roles played by Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, who imprisoned two hapless newlyweds and whose fate comes to rest on the outcome of a simple game of chess. The whole Gnostic structure is loosely built into the movie, with Karloff as the Demiurge who has the power of god. His home represents the soul trap or prison planet the Archons have trapped human souls in. The newlywed couple is comfortably oblivious on their travels until they are swept, either accidentally or by destiny or by synchronicity, into this terrible plot that unfolds before them and which they are barely able to do anything about.

Author Sullivan can make the case of Gnosticism, but I can also argue that this is a moving picture realization of the Bible’s Book of Job. We have Lugosi as Yahweh, who is more or less righteous and full of vengeful thoughts, before becoming endeared to the newly married Joan (played by actress Jacqueline Wells) and choosing later to save her. Karloff is a stand-in for Satan, who in Job makes a similar proposition to Yahweh, to torture poor Job until Job gives up and curses his holy maker. Further, Karloff conducts a Satanic ritual with several cult followers and a facsimile of a Christian Cross. As in Job, our protagonists are left to the whims of the gods, until the dying Lugosi manages to set them free.

Past the esoteric clues, this is not a very good movie. I can name half a dozen critical plot flaws that ruined it for me. Even looking at it from a mythical point of view, this movie falls short of reasonable credibility. It is pure fantasy with no legs to stand on. What is the moral of the story that we are left to contemplate? Don’t travel through foreign countries or accept rides from strangers? Rich architects can sometimes also be mad scientists? Or is it something deeper, such as Yahweh figuratively losing his bride to Satan, so that he is forced to look to the daughters of men to find the balance that has been taken away from him? Who cares?

I didn’t care too much myself. As far as enlightening me, this movie did nothing. As far as keeping me entertained, this movie did next to nothing. I did like the portrayal of Lugosi and Karloff, who actually had characters when compared the married couple. The young husband and wife could have been played by hand puppets, or they could have been images on someone’s tee shirt, for all their screen presence and depth. They were as bland as shortbread cookies without the milk. Anyway, I hope the next Gnostic movie with supposed revelations is a lot better than this one.


By raymondtowers Tagged

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