HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Thelma
Stratton
February
Taking of Beverly Hills, The
Marjorie Prime
Hotel Salvation
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
Flesh Feast
Gerald's Game
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  Cat People What's New Pussycat?Buy this film here.
Year: 1982
Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard, Annette O'Toole, Ruby Dee, Ed Begley Jr, Scott Paulin, Frankie Faison, Ron Diamond, Lynn Lowry, John Larroquette, Tessa Richarde, Patricia Perkins, Berry Berenson, Fausto Barajas, John H. Fields
Genre: Horror, Sex
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: In ancient times, there was an African tribe who worshipped the panthers of the plains, and young women were offered up as sacrifices to them - yet they were not to be eaten, as the panthers had other things in mind. Surely now, in modern days, such legends have no parallel? Maybe, maybe not, but when Irena (Nastassja Kinski) arrives in New Orleans from abroad she is about to find that the ghosts of the past can hold great sway over the present. She doesn't realise when her long, lost brother Paul (Malcolm McDowell) meets her at the airport, but they have more in common than blood ties, and Paul plans to capitalise on that...

Paul Schrader was pretty much suffering under the yoke of drug addiction when he made his remake of Cat People, which may explain why it was ludicrously overemphatic in comparison with the moody and restrained original. In fact, this version was so over the top in its literal-mindedness that it became in its second half a veritable orgy of bad taste; this was good for cheap laughs and cheaper thrills, but overall the production was extremely difficult to take seriously. The thinking was like, virgin Irena will turn into a panther if she has sex! So how about giving her a brother who does the same? And then offer an unwholesome solution to their problem?

And so it was that the immoral Paul, essayed by McDowell with a twinkle in his eye that suggests he's supposed to be in a saucy comedy, went about his business with normal women, turning into a panther when he shags them and then having to kill someone to transform back, usually the woman he has bedded. But no sooner has he invited Irena to his place so she can stay there until she's settled in this new city, than he accidentally fails to kill the prostitute (cult actress Lynn Lowry) he has gone to a hotel room with and ends up at the local zoo in big cat form. Whoops! Irena wonders where he is, naturally, and finds herself strangely drawn to... the zoo.

There she meets Oliver (John Heard), who has a girlfriend in the person of fellow keeper Alice (Annette O'Toole), but nevertheless is more attracted to Irena. He gives her a job at the gift shop and then goes for a fishing holiday with her, but not before Ed Begley Jr has his arm torn off and dies by the feline Paul's, er, hand. This means Paul returns to normal and all ready to put his incestuous proposition to Irena - in between murdering young ladies - but Irena is not interested. There's a love triangle of a perverse sort between the three leads, and if you know that Schrader, the uncredited co-writer with Alan Ormsby, was at the time of filming obsessed with Kinski, you can understand why her character's attentions are so highly prized.

Yet where the subtle original was at least partly on the side of Irena, here it's clear that Schrader and his movie's point of view is on the side of the men. Kinski's Irena is to be coveted and owned by them and that's her curse as much as the whole cat thing goes as well. Schrader uses a heavy hand in recreating odd scenes from the forties version, so that Alice has to be topless when menaced in the swimming pool - there's a lot of nudity, as if he thought this was prime erotic material in spite of the unsavoury aspect of most of the newfangled story's sexuality. Even the bus makes an appearance, for no other reason than it worked before, but they would have been better off without moves towards tributes here. So thick is Irena's catlike personality laid on that you half expect her to play with balls of wool and tuck into tins of Whiskas; the whole enterprise is a risible example of how one director's unhealthy obsession with one actress can lead to his cinematic downfall. Though she is well cast, to be fair. Music by Giorgio Moroder.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3079 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Paul Schrader  (1946 - )

American writer and director, a former critic, who specialises in troubled souls. After writing Taxi Driver for Martin Scorcese (who has also filmed Schrader's Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ and Bringing Out the Dead) he made his directorial debut with Blue Collar. Although this was not a happy experience, he was not discouraged, and went on to give us Hardcore, American Gigolo, a remake of Cat People, Mishima, The Comfort of Strangers, Light Sleeper, Affliction, Auto Focus and a doomed Exorcist sequel. After the latter his output became troubled in films like The Canyons or Dying of the Light. He also scripted The Yakuza and Old Boyfriends with his brother Leonard Schrader.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: