Billed as a horror whodunnit, The Cat Creeps was released at a time when the magic from classic genre themed movies that Universal built its name upon was beginning to wear off. Not to be confused with the 1930s feature bearing the same name, the feature would also struggle without any of the big name stars such as Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff to carry the horror torch into another generation of scares. Forming part of a double feature alongside She-Wolf of London, The Cat Creeps would also herald the last of the horror features for the film production giant for the 1940s.
Retrospectively watching the movie today, you can sense the lack of sparkle in the films narrative, centred around a black cat that is suspected of being possessed by an elderly lady who was murdered possibly for inheritance.
Character actor, Noah Beery Jr., does his best to fill the screen with presence and humour; an early indicator that serves the same comical tone that Abbott and Costello would bring to their movies through the late 40s and early 50s for Universal. The issue here though is that Beery Jr grates more than pleases in his role of Pidge “Flash” Laurie, forcing a disconnect from a modern audience. The film canters along with this black humour pace without much care to the end of the film slowly bumping off the usual suspects along the way until the real villain of the piece is revealed.
If you like a half-decent murder mystery, there’s plenty on show, but the predictability is too great with an old formula being utilised to capitalise on former success. Unfortunately, there it lacks in appeal with nothing new to show, emphasising the stale end that the decade would bring for the company.
- Saul Muerte