Cat People ('82)


The best remakes take the premise of an outdated film and expound upon them. That's what 1982's Cat People does. The original didn't stun me, so I was looking forward to see what director Paul Schrader did with the concept. He knocked it out of the ballpark! This flick is coated in eye-popping visuals that held my attention (I'm a moron, you see; I like colors and shapes). It would entertain an infant. Luckily, there is a bit of substance underneath the style. Cat People is all about the luscious, beguiling Nastassja Kinski and her layered performance as Irena, everyone's favorite Siberian pussy monster. Hmm, I think I just stumbled upon a subtitle for a sequel.

Every scene is charged with sexual energy. We get loads of delectable nudity, including a perpetually topless (not to mention bottomless) Kinski. Cat People does flirt with vacuity like any other erotic horror film, but I sensed enough depth to sustain the dazzling imagery and the uncomfortable sex scenes. Speaking of uncomfortable, I dug Malcolm McDowell's bizarro turn as Irena's incestuous brother. John Heard and Annette "cutie pie" O'Toole are believable in their respective roles. The special effects are just as believable, and I'm giving high marks in the gore/goo department on the strength of a couple of disembodied arms. They hit the spot.

I can't say enough about the mouth-watering images on display. Schrader had a blast with red filters, rainy nights, and the cinematic features of Nastassja Kinski. The florid flashback is worth the price of admission alone. I didn't care for the overblown ending. Did they really need a helicopter and an entire fleet of cops to corner a goddamn leopard? Oh, they did? My apologies. Cat People is a cool movie.


  1. I've been a fan of this movie ever since I saw it. What first attracted me was Tom Burmon's special effects makeup and Paul Schrader's direction. I first read about this film in a magazine called Cinefantastique, which I used to subscribe to many many years ago. Infact, I have the original soundtrack on my new Ipod. Nice tracks. And nice review, dude.

  2. Thanks! Yeah, the effects surprised me. I liked the transformation sequences. Parts of the film reminded me of The Howling.

  3. I've never seen it :( It's just one I missed although I'm familar with the cover, always saw it when browsing. I also have the film score.

  4. Dude, you beat me to it! I was planning on reviewing this one because I recently saw Natasja Kinskis first film role in To the Devil a Daughter and this one popped up.

    Its a good example of what films were like in the 80s. I look at it and it just looks like 1980.

  5. Ha! Looking forward to your review. That Kinski makes for a great cat!

  6. That first line of the review is integral to any remake, which is why I absolutely loved the TCM remake. Same theme, entirely different movie. I am a big fan of this one as well, though I havent seen the original just yet. I only wish they would have filmed a companion piece called "ALL THIS MOVIE IS IS KINSKI NAKED."