Described as an erotic thriller, Cat People is a remake of the 1942 classic B-Movie, though it bears little resemblance to the old black and white flick. Director Paul Schrader, in the commentary on the collector’s edition Blu-ray DVD, describes his vision of the story’s break from the classic by asking, “wouldn’t it be much more interesting, instead of killing the monster, make love to the monster and put it in a shrine?”
There are a lot of movies that leave you with no words, Cat People leaves me with a lot of words, I’m just not supposed to use any of them. I suppose you could sum it up with two; kitty porn.
The story follows Irena Gallier (played by a young Nastassja Kinski), who with the help of her brother Paul (McDowell), reaches her sexual awakening to find herself transformed into a black leopard. Irena is horrified and disbelieving when Paul Gallier tells her that she must make love to him. That they can only mate with family members lest they turn into homicidal cats and be unable to change back with out killing.
The Blu-Ray release includes commentary by many of the cast, including Malcolm McDowell, Annette O’Toole, Nastassja Kinski, Lynn Lowry and Paul Schrader, and is extremely amusing. The ladies all remarking that being topless must have been in the contract, McDowell lamenting on his required nudity and repeating the word erotic enough times to make a drinking game, and the Director seemingly elevating the film to high art. There are lots of fun facts to be learned, such as the big cats involved in the making were actually cougars spray painted black, because black jaguars are apparently untrainable. Fans of Kinski may be a bit dismayed by her interview, which seemed to be delivered in a daze through out, and how little she resembles the girl she was in the film. Included also are photos from the set, posters and set design sketches, most of which are pretty interesting.
This is the movie to riff on with friends, and to make unwanted family members uncomfortable enough to make a hurried exit, and has a firm place in cult classic history.
Next up: SleepWalkers….just kidding, we’ve come to our incestuous were-cats quota for the holiday season.