Director: Paul Schrader
Cast: Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard
By Brian M. Sammons
In 1982, forty years after the original Cat People came out from Universal Studios, they did a remake of it. Unlike most remakes done today, it was pretty darn good. It took the subtle and hinted at sexual themes of the original movie and turned them all the way up. The new movie was a highly erotic thriller that didn’t hint about anything. Everything in this film was overt and in your face, but did that make the movie better, worse, or just different? Well now that Scream Factory has released this on Blu-ray, let’s find out.
A very young and lithe Nastassja Kinski plays Irena who goes to New Orleans to meet her brother, a man she has never met. Her brother, Paul, is played to creepy perfection by Malcolm McDowell and it soon becomes clear that Paul is hiding something. Something other than his incestuous desirers for his attractive sister. There is a prostitute-attacking black panther on the loose in the Crescent City and somehow it is mixed in with Paul and Irena. This becomes more evident when Paul ups and disappears one night.
Enter John Heard and Annette O’Toole as big cat experts from the local zoo who not only capture the renegade panther, but all too soon John’s character soon becomes smitten with Irena. Unfortunately for all involved, Irena is a lot like her brother. When she gets turned on, well let’s just say that she gets wild. Really, really wild. What, did you think this movie was called Cat People for nothing?
This film is a well done erotic thriller made before the term become over used. Well directed by Paul Schrader and very well acted by all involved. This is a movie about people that turn into cats when they become horny, yet despite that rather silly premise, everything is treated seriously and with respect in the type of first rate horror film that seems to be is short supply these days. It alternates between sexy and scary expertly and is loaded with good gore gags, some neat werepanther shape changing effects, not to mention lots of nudity and sex. You know, all the things that makes movies worth watching.
This new Blu-ray from Scream Factory first and foremost looks amazing. Additionally, there are a bunch of interviews with the cast and crew on here that comprise most of the release’s special features. There are seven interviews, to be exact, and they feature actors Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard, Annette O’Toole, Lynn Lowry, composer Giorigo Moroder, and writer/director Paul Schrader. While all the interviews are rather short, ranging from six to nine minutes in length, all together they equal nearly 50 minutes. In addition to the interviews there is a trailer, TV spots, photo gallery, and a collection of posters and production art.
Simply put, Cat People is a good movie. It is erotic, mysterious, scary, and well-made throughout. I am very pleased that it is out on Blu-ray and you should be too, as I can easily and highly recommend it to anyone. Pick up a copy when it comes out on January 21st.