They are something more than lovers who are about to become something less than human.
Directed by Paul Schrader
Reviewed by Deep Red
Stars Nastassja Kinski as Irena Gallier, Malcolm McDowell as Paul Gallier, John Heard as Oliver Yates, Annette O’Toole as Alice Perrin, Ruby Dee as Female, Ed Begley Jr. as Joe Creigh, Scott Paulin as Bill Searle, Frankie Faison as Detective Brandt and Tessa Richarde as Billie.
I thought I’d watch Cat People for the umpteenth time, and review it. This film is mother’s milk to me when I’m down in the dumps. It is a remake of the classic Cat People (1942) directed by Jacques Tourneur. The director of this, Paul Shrader, also directed Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist(2005) and wrote Taxi Driver (1976), interesting. Giorgio Moroder composed the score including the theme song Cat People (Putting Out Fire) which is sung by David Bowie, who also wrote the lyrics. Awesome song, my favourite Bowie song.
Irena moves in with her older brother Paul, the first time they’ve met since their parents died. That night a prostitute is killed by a black leopard. A team from the zoo, Oliver, Alice and Joe, capture it. Irena goes to the zoo and finds herself drawn to the black leopard, sketching it. She meets Oliver, the curator, gets on with him, and he offers her a job in the gift shop. Something terrible happens at the zoo. Later that night in a conversation with Paul, Irena learns a little about who she is. I’m not going to reveal plot details that are worth experiencing first-hand by watching it.
This is a very easy film to get into, great story. The cast are brilliant, Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell are perfect in their roles but the rest do a great job too. There are memorable scenes and some gore too but this film’s real strength is in how mesmerising it is as a whole and with such a superb soundtrack too, it’s endlessly watchable; the music and theme song just blow me away every time I watch it. I seem to remember it being quite controversial when it came out, in the 80s, due to its erotic nature, nudity and so on. I think there’s a hell of a lot more to the film than nudity and I find the idea of what nudity there is causing offence as ludicrous. Sexual themes in horror are as valid as anything else. What is more human than sexuality? Oh look, a naked woman, pubic hair, grow the fuck up! If that offends you.
What the film is, is compelling stuff. I wish I’d seen the original to compare but if the original is better then it must be bloody good, really got to check it out. Not a remake I’d like to see remade though as I can only imagine that the result would be a lot less gutsy and just, oh I don’t know, dire probably, CGI garbage. And who the hell could replace Nastassja Kinski or Giorgio Moroder’s score? Gimme a break.
Massively recommend but only because I love it. I don’t know what other people will think, if I did I’d be rich or something. This film is one of my comfort foods and a lot less unhealthy than beans with cheese triangles, not yet melted in the hot bean juice, against their hot bean bodies.
Anyway, check it out. A slightly different 80s classic but an 80s classic that shines nonetheless. Class. There’s a sadness too and the story pulls you in from the beginning and ends perfectly, in my opinion. Star Nastassja Kinski described the film as slick and manipulative apparently, which I really don’t get, I would describe it as wonderfully dark, and I think she helped to create something very special. I hate it when I hear stars put down a film they’ve been in, that I really like, but their opinions are also interesting and obviously valid, they were in it. I love Cat People. Purr-fection.
DVD includes an interview with Paul Schrader, good stuff, interesting guy.