Back in the early 30's, Universal was riding high on the backs of horror films like Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy. While none of these films were set in a specific time period, it clearly wasn't the 1930's. These were stories set in exotic locales or in "the old world" where the same creepy castle set could be used over and over again. And then Edgar G. Ulmer adapted Edgar Alan Poe's The Black Cat and decided to transport it to an extremely modern, art deco mansion. By setting a story of Satanic mutilation in such an orderly and sterile setting, the horror was amplified rather than diminished. This is exactly what Michael Mann does with Manhunter. Say what you will about the awful, faux-deco that was so popular in the 1980's, but the red of human blood really stands out on all those white walls and duvets.