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Horror

TenseAndSober · 856 · 185260

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jenkins

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Reply #855 on: November 03, 2019, 03:53:17 PM
The Black Cat

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The Black Cat is considered by many to be the one that created and popularized the psychological horror subgenre, emphasizing on atmosphere, eerie sounds, the darker side of the human psyche, and emotions like fear and guilt to deliver its scares, something that was not used in the horror genre.

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First Horror film to mention Satanism as a cult. This would be one of the longest running tropes in Horror films, but here Boris Karloff is the leader of his own Satanic worship cult.

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This is the first movie to explore the concept of PTSD. Although of course the term wasn't invented yet. It illustrates how the stress of war (in this case WWI) changes a man for the worse.

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The Black Cat was the biggest box-office hit of the year for Universal and was the first of eight movies (six of which were produced by Universal) to pair actors Béla Lugosi and Boris Karloff.

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Among the unconventional elements of this film was the soundtrack. At a time (early 1930s) when movie music was usually limited to the titles and credits, Edgar G. Ulmer had an almost continuous background score throughout the entire film.

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The satanic prayer Poelzig chants during the black mass scene consists of random phrases in Latin, the most recognizable being "cum grano salis" (with a grain of salt). The complete chant, is as follows:

Latin Phrases: Cum grano salis. Fortis cadere cedere non potest. Humanum est errare. Lupis pilum mutat, non mentem. Magna est veritas et praevalebit. Acta exteriora indicant interiora secreta. Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem. Amissum quod nescitur non amittitur. Brutum fulmen. Cum grano salis. Fortis cadere cedere non potest. Fructu, non foliis arborem aestima. Insanus omnes furere credit ceteros. Quem paenitet peccasse paene est innocens.

English translation: With a grain of salt. A brave man may fall, but he cannot yield. To err is human. The wolf may change his skin, but not his nature. Truth is mighty, and will prevail. External actions show internal secrets. Remember when life's path is steep to keep your mind even. The loss that is not known is no loss at all. Heavy thunder. With a grain of salt. A brave man may fall, but he cannot yield. By fruit, not by leaves, judge a tree. Every madman thinks everybody mad. Who repents from sinning is almost innocent.

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It was also ranked #68 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments for its "skinning" scene. ("Karloff gets skinned alive at the end," noted Cramps guitarist and horror aficionado Poison Ivy, "but they show the shadow of it and somehow that's more gruesome.")