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An Erotic Fantasy For The Animal In Us All.

Cast
| Dates | DVD Special Edition | Foreign Titles | Formats | Interviews | Notes | Pictures | Quotes | Reviewing the Original DVD | Reviewing the 20th Anniversary DVD | Stories | Summary - Official | My Summary | My Review | Together Before | Together Again

Cast

Character Actor
Paul Gallier Malcolm McDowell
Irena Gallier Nastassia Kinski
Oliver Yates John Heard
Alice Perrin Annette O'Toole
Femolly Ruby Dee
Joe Creigh Ed Begley Jr.
Bronte Judson John Larroquette
Sandra Berry Berenson
Billie Tessa Richarde
Taxi Driver Patricia Perkins
Otis Fausto Barajas
Massage Parlor Manager John H. Fields
Yeatman Brewer Emery Hollier
Bill Searle Scott Paulin
Moonie Stephen Marshal
Ted Robert Pavlovich
Carol Julie Denney
Ruthie Lynn Lowry
Indian Village Mother Arione De Winter
Church Woman Francine Segal
Train Station Agent Don Hood
Man in Bar David Showacre
Cat-Like Woman Neva Gage
Indian Girl Marisa Folse 
Indian Girl Danelle Hand
Detective Brandt Frankie Faison
Detective Ron Diamond Ron Diamond
Police Officer John C. Isbell
Policeman Roger E. Reid
Policeman Charles Joseph Konya Jr.
Policeman Marco St. John
Cub Scout Brett Alexander
Cub Scout Gregory Gatto
Cub Scout Terc Martinez 
Man in Airport David Ross McCarty
First Helicopter Pilot Harold C. Hauss
Second Helicopter Pilot James Deeth 
Soap Opera Man Ray Wise
Soap Opera Woman Jo Ann Dearing
Staring man on bus David Blackwell
Voice of D.J. The Black Pope

Directed by Paul Schrader
Written by Alan Ormsby

Dates

Filming began 4/6/81
Filming wrapped 7/10/81
Theatrical release 4/2/82

DVD Special Edition

New DVD Release was 8/27/02

Small Cover Scan
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen Anamorphic - 1.85:1
Region 1, Dual Layer
Languages:  English, Spanish, French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
Subtitles:  English, Spanish, French
Color, Closed-captioned
Cat People: An Intimate Portrait by Paul Schrader
Feature Commentary with director Paul Schrader
On the Set with the Director
Special Make-Up Effects by Tom Burman
Matte Paintings
Filmmaker Robert Wise on the producer of the original Cat People, Val Lewton
Production notes
Production Photographs - Slide Show w/Bowie's Cat People Remix
Theatrical trailer

Chapter Index

1998 Release 2002 Release
1. Main Title; Desert Rites. 1. Main Titles
2. Irena Arrives in New Orleans. 2. Bride of the Leopard
3. A Circus Surprise. 3. Brother & Sister
4. Late Night Visits. 4. The Beast in Room 3
5. A Stray Cat. 5. The Audubon Zoo
6. Touring the French Quarter. 6. Irena and the Curator
7. The Audubon Zoo. 7. Killer in a Cage
8. After Hours at the Zoo. 8. You Can't Escape
9. Dinner with the Curator. 9. The Basement
10. Morning Rounds. 10. The "Photographer"
11. A Drink After Work. 11. Animal Instinct
12. Leopard Attack. 12. Made for Each Other
13. Paul Comes Home. 13. Killer in the Bedroom
14. What About the Basement? 14. The Autopsy
15. Irena Moves Out. 15. The Dream
16. The Bayou Plantation. 16. Stalked
17. Photographers and Sex. 17. Irena's Lover
18. Predators. 18. The Beast Within
19. Another Murder. 19. Free Me
20. Searching for the Leopard. 20. End Titles
21. Family Truths.
22. An Animal in the Bedroom.
23. Cat Autopsy.
24. What Am I?
25. An Explanation and a Dream.
26. In New Orleans with Alice.
27. At Oliver's Place.
28. Fulfillment.
29. Retribution.
30. Trapped on a Bridge.
31. Back at the Bayou.
32. Freeing the Leopard.
33. Return to the Zoo.
34. End Credits.

Foreign Titles

France - La Feline  (The Cat)
Germany - Katzenmenschen
Spain - El Beso de la Pantera (The Kiss of the Panther)

Formats

CED / LD / VHS - NTSC + PAL / DVD R1

Interviews

11/03 My exclusive interview with Lynn Lowry who played Ruthie
7/03 - My exclusive interview with screenwriter Alan Ormsby

4/82 - Twilight Zone Magazine with writer Alan Ormsby & FX man Tom Burman

Notes

Pictures

Exclusive of Lynn Lowry during my interview 11/1/03

Movie
Sandra (Berry Berenson) in the health club
Paul in trenchcoat / Paul naked on the bathroom floor
Irena about to stab Paul

Memorabilia
1981 T-shirt - I'm One of the Cat People/Pet Me...if You Dare!

DVD Cover - Front

DVD Cover - Back

German Lobby Cards 1-8
German Lobby Cards 9-16

German Lobby Cards Double Size 1-4

Quotes

"They told me Cat People was going to be a monster hit, but it was a very sophisticated horror movie. It did great in the big cities but it was too sophisticated for the sticks, the small towns; they expect a horror movie to be Friday the l3th." - Malcolm in Toronto Sun Sunday Showcase 5/23/83

"I think it's a good movie. It was brilliantly designed and had a great look to it. Some people argue over whether it's better than the original. I don't know about that, because the original was something special. But I enjoyed the experience. It was also my introduction to New Orleans, which I loved." -  Malcolm in Starlog 4/95

Reviewing the Original DVD

In late 2000 bought the DVD from Wal*Mart since it was only $9.99 - they dumped them and then put them out of print. The main problem with it was it contained absolutely NO EXTRAS - NOTHING!. What a total waste of time, why did they bother? It was widescreen, had scene selection, but that was it. The soundtrack was awesome, but at least it could've had the trailer and director's commentary. Some music was rescored for this version.

Sound 9.5
Picture 9 (1.85:1 aspect)
Extras 0
Overall Rating 3.5

Reviewing the 20th Anniversary DVD

I knew that when they dumped the original DVD and put it out of print that it was a good sign we would see a new version. The truth is, the 20th anniversary (what I call it - they don't call it anything) release got better treatment than it deserved. A mediocre movie getting a bunch of extras is surprising. Even more so is the fact they don't even call it a special edition or promote it at all. Maybe trying to get people to forget about the pathetic original release? As for the sound and picture it was the same exact widescreen transfer as the original release. There are no Easter eggs which would've been fun.

Cat People: An Intimate Portrait by Paul Schrader
This is a cool feature. It is a little over 20 minutes of Paul talking about the film from 11/26/00. I don't know why it took them two years for them to get the DVD together from the time this was recorded. The only thing is there is some repetition when you hear the audio commentary as both were taped on the same day. One interesting fact was that it was the first time he had seen the film since it came out. This might be because he was involved with Nastassja during the filming and she left him afterwards and that the film wasn't received very well. He also says this was his last true big Hollywood picture. He likes some of the effects better than they would be done today in a computer because they really had to work hard at it. There are also rare shots of the only deleted scene from the film - when Irena meets her mother in the dream sequence. Nastassja's real life mother was in a leopard suit with Malcolm. This is like a making of featurette that nowadays would be filmed as they were making the film.

Feature Commentary with director Paul Schrader
The only disappointing thing is there is no commentary from Malcolm, Nastassja or anyone else from the film. Paul does talk a lot though. This is one of the few commentaries I have ever heard with there is almost no dead air throughout. He covers almost everything including how it is like to film. He doesn't touch too much on his relationship with Kinski and sums it up simply "It complicated my life more than imaginable and that is all I want to say about that." He says about Malcolm that people can accept British actors better than American ones for some reason in weird roles. He thought Malcolm was perfect for the odd dialog he had to say in the film and that in his coolest scenes he improvised them and Paul let him run with it. Also interesting is that since it is widescreen during the scene when Malcolm crashes through the window you can see him before he does, which can't be seen in pan and scan. Paul didn't notice this until it happened.

On the Set with the Director
This clip is very revealing. It is 11 minutes of an interview with Paul on the zoo set in 1981. An unnamed female reporter asks him questions from off screen. He is very stiff, uncomfortable and even evasive on a couple questions. You get a great feeling that this wasn't a good time for him with the film.

Special Make-Up Effects by Tom Burman
This is a short 5 minute featurette filmed recently where the head of the cat make-up effects remembers the film. He said he had nothing but fond memories from working on the film because they had to do all the conventional affects - anything that would work, not like today when it would all be done on a computer. Some of the makeup they did for Nastassja was felt to be too grotesque and wasn't even really used. Much of Malcolm's make-up didn't get much screen time either.

Matte Paintings
This is a very short feature, around three minutes, but is very cool. It shows the layers of the film one at a time. The live action, the blue screen, the matte painting and the finished scene. It shows each scene that needed a painting - the desert and the zoo, and is set to music. This is something I haven't seen before on a DVD. Great job.

Filmmaker Robert Wise on the producer of the original Cat People, Val Lewton
This interview runs a little under four minutes and is very boring. The questions appear on the screen as text and Robert Wise responds. Basically he says everything Val did was brilliant - he was a brilliant man, brilliant writer, brilliant producer, etc. Gets very tired, very fast.

Production notes
This is a few pages of text about the film, nothing exciting.

Production Photographs
This is the jewel in the crown of the disc. It is a slide show to David Bowie's "Cat People (Fire & Gasoline) Remix". This is perfectly done and how it should be done on every DVD! Each actor gets a set of pictures then behind the scenes photos. The picture comes up then it is like a cat claw swipes left and right and then the next picture is there. It is really boring on most DVDs when you have to push the button to see each picture and there is no music. This is like a music video and since it is the remix version of the song it clocks in at over seven minutes.

Theatrical trailer
It is always cool to see the trailers for older films since most of us don't remember them or haven't ever seen them. It is quite long at three minutes and really shows you how they tried to sell the film. This goes mostly for the sexual aspects and must've confused the people who thought they were getting a horror flick.

Sound 9.5
Picture 9 (1.85:1 aspect)
Extras 10
Overall Rating 9.5

Stories

In an Oakland SlayerCon 2004 interview with James Marsters he demonstrated Spike's signature "panther walk" and admitted that he stole the idea from Malcolm McDowell in "Cat People."

Summary - Official

    Nastassia Kinski stars as Irena, a beautiful young woman on the bridge of sexuality; she discovers love for the first time only to find that the explosive experience brings with it tragic consequences. The tremendous passion of this girl's first romantic love is so string, however, it by-passes the chaos around her - including her brother's (Malcolm McDowell) extraordinary demands - as it pushes her on to her own bizarre destiny. With a style as timeless as myth, Cat People is an erotic fantasy of the passion and terror that surround this girl's first love. Desire...passion...blood, her lust transforms her into one of the Cat People.

My Summary

    The film opens on many skulls and bones on an unknown red sandy desert. Then the big, beautiful black leopards on the ground and in the trees are seen. There is a village nearby and people live in harmony with the cats. Warriors are then seen leading a woman up to a tree and they tie her to it and leave here there, presumably to die. That night one of the leopards goes up to her, stands on her shoulders and licks her face and most likely mounts her. The next day we see the woman is not dead and is led into a cave to see the leopard. The close-up on her face cuts to a close-up of a young woman in the modern day New Orleans airport.
    The woman is Irena who is meeting her brother Paul who she hasn't seen since they were separated as children. She looks around and since she doesn't see him, heads over to a nearby phone to call him. A man is following her and hangs up the phone before she can dial. He tells her he is Paul and he takes her back to his place, a Victorian style house in the French corner.
    They have dinner with his housekeeper Femolly, an older black woman who also looks out for Paul. He asks Irena if she knows how their parents died and what they said about him. She doesn't know, but she has dreamed of him ever since they were kids. He says he has had the same dreams.
    Paul takes her upstairs and explains how he has been searching for her since they were separated from the orphanage where they both lived. He unveils a large cabinet filled with family mementos of their parents who were in the circus and other people she has never seen before. He shows her pictures, juggles and sings a song they used to sing together. It is now getting late and he promises to show her the town tomorrow and she goes to sleep. When she falls asleep he changes into a black shirt and pants and jumps up on the edge of the bed and watches over her like a cat. 
    Soon after we see a hooker enter a seedy massage parlor and the manager tells her the John is in Room 3. She goes up and discusses her rules while she undresses, assuming the whole time the man is getting ready in the bathroom. She helps herself to money from his wallet and when she finishes undressing she sits on the bed. She puts her hand into some kind of gooey placenta on the sheets and then looks down and notices a paw coming out from under the bed and doesn't think much of it. The paw moves to her foot and she gets up, but the claws cut through her ankle and she falls to the floor. She makes it out, locks the door and crawls down the stairs screaming. When she hits the bottom her breasts pop out of her bra.
    The next morning the police and the people from the zoo are called in. The manager is able to see into the room on a hidden camera and they are able to see the cat. The police know that no one has left the room all night and can't understand what happened to the John or how the leopard got in there. They figure the John ran away when it came, never thinking that in fact he was the cat. Oliver, Alice and Joe are the animal control team who work at the Audubon Zoo in town. Oliver and Alice used to be lovers, but it didn't work out. They watch the cat pacing the room on the monitor and realize they need to tranquilize it, but not from the door of the room as there is no way to just grab it with a net. Oliver instead positions a ladder to climb up to the window from the street outside. The window has bars on it so he can't get through that way. The cat sees him and attacks, breaking the window. When it does he loses his footing and almost falls off the ladder. He is hanging in mid air as many police, spectators and newsmen watch on. He climbs back on the ladder, gets out his pistol and goes back up. He fires into the window and scores a hit. This makes the cat go crazy and it tears around the room and lunges at him, cracking it's skull open on the bars. Oliver is now able to enter the room from the door with Joe and grab the cat in the net and cart it back to the zoo.
    Meanwhile Irena has given up on waiting for her brother to come home and decides to tour the French Quarter on her own by bus where a strange man watches her. She visits a colorful gospel church and then takes a cab around where a screaming DJ plays on the radio and winds up in front of the zoo and orders the lady driver to stop there. She goes in and finds herself drawn to a new animal exhibit - the captured leopard that happens to be her brother. She watches with fascination and then starts to sketch the cat. 
    Inside Oliver, Alice and the rest of the crew are talking in the upstairs office and go down stairs to take care of business and talk with some administrative people. Before Irena knows it she has been there all day and into the night and the zoo has closed with her in it. Oliver is finishing up his work and  hears the cat growling, looks out his window and is surprised to see her standing there. He goes down to see what she is up to and shines a flashlight on her. She gets scared and runs, dropping her pad and purse while she does. He loses her around a corner and finds she has jumped 20 feet in the air into a tree. Neither of them know how she has gotten there since she doesn't know her cat heritage yet. He is attracted to her instantly and asks her why she ran. She tells him that he scared her. He assures her she isn't in trouble and begins to walk her back. Suddenly she says she feels faint and he puts his hand on her head and tells her she is burning up. He takes her back up to his office and gets her some aspirin. She tries to assure him she is all right and that it is just her metabolism. He boldly asks her out to dinner that night and she accepts.
    They go out to an oyster bar and she isn't too excited about the food. He shows her how to eat them and she gets into it. She tells him her story and how her brother has disappeared and he offers her a job at the zoo. She thinks that is great, but that she isn't qualified to work with the animals. He tells her it isn't anything that glamorous, just working in the gift shop. She accepts so she can be close to the leopard.
    The next day Irena starts work and nothing much is going on and Oliver comes by to visit. Of course Alice doesn't like the attention Oliver is giving Irena as she still has feelings for him. He lies to her and himself that he is isn't really interested. After cleaning some elephants, Alice then decides to go meet Irena and comes into the shop while she is busy with some cub scouts buying Empire Strikes Back trading cards. The register won't open and Alice shows her that if she hits it really hard on the side it will open. After the kids are gone Alice tells her she wants to take her out for a drink after work and Irena accepts and if she has any problems with the register again to just remember to whack it.
    After work they go to a nearby bar and while Alice goes off to get drinks there are already two guys hitting on Irena. She chases them away so they can sit down and talk together. Alice is trying to feel her out and generally likes her. Just then a strange woman in black comes up from behind Irena and says something strange to her and leaves. Neither woman knows what it was about.
    The next day Irena finishes up doing inventory in the gift shop and heads over to the animal building while Joe is feeding the animals. He feeds the lions and tigers without a problem, but when it comes time to feed the leopard the cat gets agitated because Irena is there. Oliver comes over and affixes a tranquilizer wand to Joe's arm and he sticks it in the cage. The cat won't fall for it and it soon gets a hold of Joe's arm and begins to bite. In seconds his entire arm is ripped off and he is on the floor bleeding to death in front of Irena. Oliver tries to help him, but it is too late. When they go in later to put down the cat it is gone, there is only a pile of fur and placenta on the floor.
    That night Irena is totally shaken and lying in bed when Paul finally returns home. She is so happy to see him and tells him how she saw a man die that day. He stalks around and explains the family history and how the only way they can love without changing is to have an incestuous relationship - like their parents did! It is the only way - they are linked by blood and violence. She doesn't believe him and thinks he is crazy. He goes to hold her and rips her shirt, but she pushes him away and leaps off the balcony and spins around and lands on the ground running. He flips up and over the balcony after her. Paul starts to chase her down the street, but she runs into a police car and tells him she is being chased.
    The police take her back to the house, but Paul is long gone. They search the house and question the housekeeper. They are stunned to find out what is in the basement and call Oliver and Alice over to look at it. It is like a catacomb and there is a cage and the bones of many bodies. It looks like that was where the cat was kept and Femolly fed people to the cat. The police arrest her and take her outside. A K-9 unit is out front and when Irena comes out the dog in the back goes crazy. The cop thinks the dog has found something and decides to call it in.
    Oliver tells Irena she can stay with him since she has no other place to go and gives her a room downstairs while he stays upstairs. Instead of going to work the next day because of all she has been through he decides to take her out. He takes her over to Slidell where he shares a fishing cabin in the Bayou with an old man named Yeatman. He parks his truck nearby and takes a large rowboat out of the back as that is the only way to get out to the cabin - by water. Yeatman is there when they arrive and Oliver shows Irena how to crab soon after.
    Meanwhile Paul pretends to be a photographer at a funeral and gets the interest of Billie, a pretty blond woman, and they go back to her place. 
    Oliver is also taking pictures - of Irena at dinner that night. Afterwards he starts to get passionate and thinks he will score with her.
    Before you know it Paul and Billie are naked in bed together and he has to stop the sex before he changes. He tells her he really likes her and she tells him the same. Because she thinks he is having a performance problem she tells him "Don't worry honey. Momma will make it better." Then she proceeds to please him orally from behind. 
    Oliver and Irena start to get hot and heavy and he opens her shirt and goes for her breasts She stops him and gets up. He goes over to her and they start again, but she tells him she can't do it. He admits defeat and they sleep in separate beds. When he falls asleep she goes out and hunts. She takes all of her clothes off and tracks a rabbit through the woods with her infrared cat vision. She catches it, kills it and eats it. When she comes back in, Oliver hears her and turns on the light. She is covered in blood and screams, "Don't look at me!" and swats the light away.
    Later Paul awakens naked on the floor of the bathroom. There is placenta on his body and he knows he has changed into the leopard, killed and changed back. He looks in the mirror, eats some placenta, cleans up, fixes his hair and goes out to the bedroom to find everything in chaos. The phone is beeping off the hook and there is blood everywhere. Billie's arm has been severed and she is wrapped in a bloody sheet.
    The next day Oliver returns to work and learns that the cat has killed again. Irena visits Femolly in prison and asks here, "Who am I?" She tells her not to ask question she already knows. That night Paul returns to Irena by breaking through her glass window while she is at Oliver's. He tells her she must make love to him and that it is the only way. He wants to spare her from killing her lover. She knows what he says is true now, but still won't except it. She runs away and he clears off the bed and lays down, beckoning her to him. He tells her they have to be like their parents, but she tells him she isn't like him. He tells her that is the biggest lie of them all. She walks over by the broken glass and he hands her a big shard telling her that she will love him or kill him. He holds her and starts to go down on her, but she stabs him with it in the hand and runs out screaming.
    Paul's hand starts to change and soon he is prowling after Oliver in his house. He is hiding in the dark when Oliver gets close and he is almost fully changed. Alice arrives to make sure Oliver isn't with Irena in the nick of time to shoot Paul who has now completely changed into the cat as he lunges for Oliver. Paul flies out the window and dies on the ground bleeding in the rain. The two go over to the window to see Irena there over him and then she screams and cries.
    Oliver takes the cat back to the zoo and does an autopsy on it. When he cuts open the stomach he finds a human hand and it pops out releasing a foul yellow gas. Oliver backs away and when the gas clears the body of the cat has almost completely disintegrated.
    Irena has made up her mind to run away before she too starts to kill. Oliver pulls up while she is leaving, but can't convince her to stay. He tells her he loves her. She asks him if he can still love her without being able to make love to her. He is confused by this and tells her he has looked for his whole life for something he never thought he would find and won't let her go. She goes to the train station and gives them what she has and asks how for it will take her. The clerk asks what way she wants to go and she tells him north. He says she can get as far as Richmond and she takes it.
    On the train she has a dream where she is back in the airport and walks through a door and Paul is there in the desert. Now he is able to show and explain to her their family history first hand. He shows her the tree where their mother was tied up, the leopards up there, everything. He tells he that they had sacrificed their children to the leopards and their souls became one with the leopards. They were gods then. The only way they can mate is with each other or else they have to kill to become human again. He tells her she must go back. She realizes the leopard there is her mother. Now there is no denying the truth and Irena decides to turn around and go back to New Orleans.
    The next day Alice is jogging in the park. After a while she senses she is being followed. A strange man watches her from a nearby building and then we can see an animal through the bushes chasing her. She runs even faster and when the animal jumps out on her we see it is only a big dog. She laughs and pets him and heads to a gym where her friend Sandra works. Alice convinces her to let her use the pool after they are closed for five minutes. This allows her to strip down to only her panties and swim around topless in the pool. After a minute the lights are turned out and she starts to get scared. Cat noises can be heard and Alice starts screaming and calling for Sandra. Irena appears and turns on the lights. Alice is yelling at her that she knows what she is up to and wants to kill her. Sandra appears with Alice's clothes and can't understand why she is acting that way. Irena assures her she isn't going to kill her and thinks she is just being crazy. She taunts her to leave Oliver alone because he is hers now. After she leaves the women see that Alice's clothes are all torn up with claw marks in them.
    When Oliver and Alice are driving to the scene where the police manhunt is searching for the cat she tries to talk to him, but he is agitated because Irena has left him. She tells him she isn't worried about her, it is him. He yells at her to stop. When they meet with the policeman in charge of the search they argue and Oliver punches him out. Helicopters and men on the ground are searching everywhere for the cat now.
    Oliver is downstairs in his darkroom developing the pictures he took of Irena when she shows up to seduce him. Before he can say much she heads up stairs taking off her top and unzipping her skirt. By the time he gets there she is sitting naked on his bed. He asks her if she is scared and undresses. They make love and fall asleep. She does not turn into a cat. She awakes because she hears a fly and swats at it. When she does her hand hits the bed and claws it up. She gets up and goes into the bathroom and feels the blood between her legs and licks it off her finger and goes back to bed. Now she changes while he sleeps and is soon towering over him as the cat. Not wanting to kill him and not knowing what to do she runs off and stays in leopard form.
    Eventually the police track her down and Oliver and Alice are called to the scene. They have the cat trapped in the middle of a bridge which is now blocked from both sides with helicopters overhead. When Oliver arrives the cat looks at him, paces a bit and then jumps over the side into the water and out of site. Some men fire on her, but she is nowhere to be seen. Oliver runs off and jumps into his truck knowing where she will head.
    He arrives at his bayou cabin only to find Yeatman dead, hanging from a tree outside. He has his gun ready as he enters to find Irena standing there. He says that she killed Yeatman. She doesn't deny it because it was necessary for her to change back to human form and tells him that she must kill her. He can't do it even though she insists. Since he won't do it she says he must free her then. She takes off all her clothes and stands in front of a back window so he can see her. He grabs some rope and ties her to the bed and has sex with her.
    She turns back into the cat and gets placed in the zoo so she can stay close to Oliver. The End

My Review

    Every time I see the film I get more disappointed. It is like the last time didn't happen and maybe this time it will be a great film. Sadly this is not the case. Instead I start to like it less and less for what a failure it is. There is so much potential that you can feel something special fighting to break through. Great driven acting by Malcolm, cool lighting, great use of colors, excellent sets, great ambiance from New Orleans, sex, violence, the classic beauty of Annette, the beautiful deadly animals and it still doesn't work.
    This is a classic 80s  film and also one of Malcolm's most recognized roles, but is a failure for three reasons. The first is that Paul has waited his whole life for Irena to return so they can intimately be together. He knows the deadly family secret...so what does he do? That night he just HAS to go out and get a prostitute and get caught as a leopard!? Why wouldn't he stay with his sister? He could just get hot for her or make her sexually excited and change to prove it to her. The second problem is that after he gets caught he spends most of the time as a cat. He is out of half the film and then gets killed off later. He really only has five scenes in the film as himself. The welcome, the return, the photography sex scene, the final confrontation and the dream sequence. He should've been in the film at least twice as long as he was. After all, his roll was made specifically for the film and then it was like Shrader didn't know what to do with him. The third reason is that it started out as a horror film and then tries to be erotic, but doesn't succeed on either level. There are no scares and the sex scenes aren't arousing since we know they lead to violence.
    I am a fan of all the old Universal horror films and was familiar with the original 1942 Cat People with Simone Simon. Obviously they couldn't show the cat changes or the sex back then, instead implying it by hiding it in the shadows. The plots of the two Cat People films are very different and the1982 version is not a remake as much as a reinterpretation of the movie. In the original Irena is a fashion designer who spends too much time at the zoo drawing panthers. There she meets Oliver who is a journalist and they soon marry. He soon falls out of love with her because of her paranoia about turning into a cat during sex. He then has an affair with his partner Alice and Irena goes after her. In the remake since Oliver is zookeeper it more interesting in that he is familiar with the animals and he was previously involved with Alice by the time he meets Irena. Both films have the swimming pool confrontation, but in the original it leads her husband to force her to see a psychiatrist and become committed. In the original there is no real proof she is a cat and no one believes her. In the remake there is no doubt these people are cats.
    Usually remakes are failures and are just a complete lack of originality. What is the point? If it has been done well the first time there is no need to revisit it. Is there anyone in the world who would want to see an A Clockwork Orange remake? This is not really the case with this film. The reason is that the remake says, "Let's do everything they couldn't do in the first one." Show the transformation, the feeding, the cats, the gore, etc. This makes it a very different film. When it comes to the changes it was all done right. The setting of New Orleans is always a perfect backdrop for horror. They also created the role of the brother for Malcolm which wasn't in the original. In the original there is just an allusion to the family when a woman calls her sister. Is she really a cat too, or is it something different?
    Overall it is a good solid, film though not the great film it should've been. It remains a semi-classic of the modern horror genre since there isn't another film like it. All four of the main characters are shown nude with Nastassja front and back a few times - which isn't done anymore. This film is a benchmark in Malcolm's career where he started to take smaller roles instead of the starring roles he had through the 70s minus Voyage of the Damned. Every film for most of the decade would be a supporting role. Overall I feel Malcolm was completely wasted as they couldn't figure out anything for him to do. He is only there to explain the family history, kill a slut, tempt Irena, then die. My interest always goes down when I know he isn't going to be on screen anymore unless it is a flashback. When he is there he is great and has fun with it improvising all the best parts and it remains the only remake he was involved with.

Rating 5.5/10 

Together Before

1978 - Paul Schrader directed Ed Begley Jr. in Blue Collar.
1979 - Paul Schrader directed Ed Begley Jr. in Hardcore 
(Malcolm has been mistakenly linked to this film.)

Together Again

1983 - Malcolm and Ed Begley Jr. were both in Get Crazy.
1996 - Malcolm and Nastassja both narrated on "The Great War".

Pictures 1982 Universal
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