Cat People (1982)

PAUL SCHRADER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

USA, 1982, .  Screenplay by , based on a story by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , , .  Golden Globe Awards 1982.

Remake of the forties classic that starred Simone Simon, this time with  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 (), 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 () 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 and the wonderful Ruby Dee.

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