Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1982. RKO Pictures, Universal Pictures. Screenplay by Alan Ormsby, based on a story by DeWitt Bodeen. Cinematography by John Bailey. Produced by Charles W. Fries. Music by Giorgio Moroder. Production Design by Edward Richardson. Costume Design by Daniel Paredes. Film Editing by Jacqueline Cambas, Jere Huggins, Ned Humphreys. Golden Globe Awards 1982.
Remake of the forties classic that starred Simone Simon, this time with Nastassja Kinski as the young woman descended from a long line of cat worshipers dating back to ancient times. Moving to New Orleans to reconnect with her estranged brother (Malcolm McDowell), Kinski finds herself strangely drawn to a rogue leopard who has been roaming the city leaving dead bodies in its wake. The fact that McDowell tends not to be around at the same time as the giant cat helps us put the pieces together, but she isn’t worried as she has a bigger problem on her hands: she is infatuated with a zoo keeper (John Heard) but is afraid to get close to him because sex might turn her into a vicious feline killer. Terrific makeup effects and an overripe, unapologetically exploitative level of sexuality make for a memorable horror film that features some truly scary moments. The leaden pace is a problem, however, as the film doesn’t keep the intensity up in the developing scenes between its juicier moments. A terrific cast helps keep this from being an insurmountable problem, also including an adorably young Annette O’Toole and the wonderful Ruby Dee.