CAT PEOPLE (1982) Reviews and overview

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‘Love brought out the animal in her’
Cat People is a 1982 supernatural horror film directed by Paul Schrader, an early Jerry Bruckheimer production. It is a remake of the 1942 film of the same name.

Alan Ormsby (Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, Deranged) wrote the screenplay, basing it loosely on the original by DeWitt Bodeen. Giorgio Moroder composed the film’s score, including the theme song which features lyrics and vocals by David Bowie (The Hunger). Tom Burman (The Thing with Two Heads; The Beast Within) created the elaborate makeup and transformation effects.

The movie stars Nastassja Kinski (To the Devil a Daughter; Blind Terror (2001), Malcolm McDowell (Halloween; ExcisionZombex) and John Heard (C.H.U.D.Would You RatherSharknado). Cult actress Lynn Lowry (Shivers) also appears.

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Director Paul Schrader has said, in relation to the erotic and horror aspects of Cat People, that the film “contains more skin than blood”. He has described the film as being more about the mythical than the realistic. He has likened the relationship between Oliver and Irena to Dante and his muse Beatrice Portinari, putting the female on a pedestal.

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Irena (Nastassja Kinski) is a beautiful young woman who shares a terrifying secret with her brother (Malcolm McDowell) – when aroused she transforms into a panther.

When Irena falls in love for the first time, her secret threatens the relationship. Can she bring herself to tell her new love that she is one of the Cat People..?


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New interviews with writer/director Paul Schrader, Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard, Annette O’Toole, Lynn Lowry and composer Giorgio Moroder
Theatrical Trailer
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“Cat People is an exciting, original film of a kind not made in recent prudish times. The art direction alone makes it worthwhile. Add in complex themes, beautiful cats, and the more beautiful Nastassia Kinski and you have a compelling two hours.” Foster on Film

“As a purely aesthetic experience, Paul Schrader’s paean to “love, eros, and animals” (in his words) holds up pretty well. It is not particularly scary, and its sexual content is a little overstylized to be very erotic, but its sense of atmosphere is strong and the art design looks great. For fans of Schrader’s work, this film marks an important transition in his visual style as a director, although he might have done better to expend some of his talents on the script as well.” DVD Verdict


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