Thursday, April 13, 2017

I Could Stare For A Thousand Years, or Thoughts on Cat People

Essentially a sexy werewolf movie, Paul Schraeder’s Cat People (1982) is an erotic supernatural thriller with a heavy emphasis on the erotic, and includes heaping spoonfuls of bestiality, incest and murder set in apre-Katrina, pre-True Blood, 80’s New Orleans.  Nastassja Kinski, luminous and feline, much like a young Audrey Hepburnportrays Irena Gallier, an 18-year-old orphan who reunites with her long lost brother Paul, portrayed by the equally feline but far creepier Malcom McDowall.  Both siblings will transform into black panthers if they have sex with a human and can’t regain their human form unless they kill.  Irena is unaware of her heritage because she’s a virgin, but she happens to meet handsome zookeeper John Heard as Oliver Yates, and there’s your movie.
From director Paul Schraeder, the writer of Raging Bull (1980) and The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and the director of American Gigolo (1980), The Comfort of Strangers (1990), Cat People is most remembered as a stylish, 80’s portrait of New Orleans with a soundtrack by Giorgio Moroder, who wrote some of the best soundtracks of the 80’s including American Gigolo (1980), Midnight Express (1978), Flashdance (1983) and The NeverEnding Story (1984).  And then there’s Nastassja Kinski at the height of her otherworldly beauty, and that memorable theme song by David Bowie.
Also with Annette O’Toole as Alice Perrin, another sexy redheaded New Orleans zookeeper (I know, right?  Who knew there were so many attractive zookeepers in the 80's), Ed Begley Jr. and John Larroquette. Written by Alan Ormsby, and if he sounds familiar that’s because he’s the writer and director of Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1973).  It's a glaring example of yet another remake I love, the original being Val Lewton’s Cat People (1942).

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