The Uncanny ★★½

2019 History of Horror Challenge 37. Anthologies

You wouldn't think that with three stories as well as the wraparound, that a film that comes in at less than 90 minutes would feel dragged out, but that turns out to be the case here. In my experience four stories is usually right for a portmanteau and there's easily room enough for an extra story, but I guess they couldn't come up creepy cat based tale.

Bringing the shorts together is the combination of Peter Cushing and Ray Milland. Cushing plays the kind of wild eyes conspiracy theorist who would be completely at home on YouTube, having failed to get his books on UFOs and The Pyramids published he's having another try with one about how the cats are in charge and hoping that Milland will see it into print.

And so he tells the three stories here. The first set in the early part of the century has nephew Simon Williams and maid Susan Penhaligon conspiring to make sure that rich old lady John Greenwood doesn't leave all her money to her feline friends. The second is contemporary with a recently orphaned young girl and her cat going to stay with her aunt's family who try to get rid of poor old puss. And the third is set in 1930s Hollywood with hammy actor Donald Pleasence losing his wife in an on set 'accident', luckily he has a replacement lined up in the form of Samantha Eggar, only his late wife's cat doesn't take so kindly to the new arrangement.

The final story is by far the most fun fun, with Pleasence (playing Valentine De'ath) and Eggar hamming it up gloriously and allowing her to deliver the line "Oh V.D. I love you".

Cushing as ever gives it his all but Milland looks as if he would rather be somewhere else, perhaps at the bank cashing his cheque.

Overall one out of three is far from a great hit rate and since the film does little to make you believe that cats are inherently evil, it's only really going to work if you're scared of them in the first place.