|This lean little 1943 horror from producer Val Lewton is really an early blueprint for the modern slasher.
In a small town in New Mexico, a black leopard accidently escapes from captivity and brutally kills a young local woman.
Soon, more gruesome murders begin to plague the village. But is the dangerous cat to blame for these additional deaths...or could there actually be a psychotic human prowler in the area?
Director Tourneur delivers another well-executed monochromatic terror moodpiece, this one based on Cornell Woolrich's 1942 novel Black Alibi.
Several stalk scenes here are true standouts, most notably the nighttime sequence where castanets-obsessed Clo-Clo searches for $100 bucks she's lost...but instead finds death at the hands of a killer lurking in the shadows.
Overall, this is a taut exercise in thematic simplicity and careful pacing.
Definitely comes recommended.