Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Uncanny, The (1977)

Uncanny, The (1977)

This British/Canadian horror anthology film directed by Denis Héroux offers three tales of horror all revolving around cats.

The film opens in Montreal where nervous author Wilbur Gray (Peter Cushing) visits his publisher Frank Richards (Ray Milland) with his latest book – all the while being secretly followed by a black moggy.

The dubious publisher listens as Gray explains that he has discovered that cats secretly run the world and his book will prove it. “You let them prowl about just as they please, hardly noticing them, and all the time they’re watching us, spying on us, making sure we behave. Cats have been exploiting the human race for centuries!”

Richards, despite the presence of his own cat making Gray even more nervous, is not convinced but listens while the author presents three strange cases in an attempt to prove his theory . . .

The first story is set in London in 1912. Wealthy bedridden dowager Miss Malkin (Joan Greenwood) has a house full of cats and plans to leave everything to them in her will to spite her selfish nephew Michael (Simon Williams).

Her maid Janet (Susan Penhaligon) gets wind of this plan when solicitor Wallace (Roland Culver) visits the house and leaves a copy of the will in his briefcase in the hall.

During dinner later on in town, Janet tells Michael and shows him the copy of the will she stole. Unsurprisingly, Michael is annoyed that his inheritance is going to a load of cats instead of him and tells Janet that she must get hold of the other will in Miss Malkin’s safe so they can destroy it.

Janet must accomplish this task without waking her cat-loving employer but with the house full of the furry scamps this will be easier said than done.

The second story is set in Quebec Province in 1975. After the death of her parents in a plane crash, young Lucy (Holden) has to go and live with her only relative Mrs Blake (Alexandra Stewart) and her stuck up daughter Angela (Chloe Franks) – who is a bully and makes Lucy’s life a misery with her remote-controlled plane hijinks and general lack of sensitivity about Lucy being an orphan.

Lucy’s only solace comes in the form of her beloved cat, Wellington, and some mementoes from her mother – including some occult black magic books.

Lucy is therefore not amused when Wellington is threatened with the boot because Angela keeps blaming him for accidents she caused.

The final story is set in Hollywood in 1936. Ham actor Valentine De’ath (Donald Pleasance) does away with his wife in inventive fashion through an on-set accident and replaces her with his dim girlfriend Edina (Samantha Eggar) both onscreen and off.

Problems arise from his late wife’s cat – who still lives at the house and duly enters into an escalating battle of wits with De’ath, who is not a cat lover at all.

The film finally returns to Wilbur Gray for one final twist which proves that Wilbur was indeed right all along about cats being evil.

Wilbur Gray
Peter Cushing
Frank Richards
Ray Milland
Miss Malkin
Joan Greenwood
Roland Culver
Susan Penhaligon
Simon Williams
Mrs Blake
Alexandra Stewart
Mr Blake
Donald Pilon
Chloe Franks
Katrina Holden Bronson
Mrs Maitland
Renée Girard
Valentine De’ath
Donald Pleasence
Samantha Eggar
John Vernon
Catherine Bégin
Jean LeClerc
Sean McCann

Denis Héroux