We continue the mostly monthly series dedicated to provocative and outré films that have galvanized audiences and critics alike, incited passionate conversation, and inspired devoted cult followings among adventurous cinephiles.
1982, Paul Schrader, USA, 118 min.
With Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard
"CAT PEOPLE is a good movie in an old tradition, a fantasy-horror film that takes itself just seriously enough to work, has just enough fun to be entertaining, contains elements of intrinsic fascination in its magnificent black leopards, and ends in one way just when we were afraid it was going to end in another."—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Schrader's sex-and-violence heavy remake of Jacques Tourneur's 1942 horror masterpiece stars Kinski and McDowell as Irena and Paul, siblings descended from a line of supernatural beings who transform into panthers after having sex and back into humans after killing. While Paul attempts to pressure his sister into entering a sexual relationship with him under the auspices of furthering their family line, Irena finds herself attracted to a zookeeper (Heard) investigating a series of deaths apparently perpetrated by a large cat. Featuring an ominous synthesizer score from Giorgio Moroder and plenty of local color courtesy of its New Orleans locations, this remake diverges from the tasteful restraint of its inspiration to stake out its own ground as transcendently moody, neon-drenched pulp. 35mm. (CW)