Sunday, November 13, 2016

Cat People (1982)

Irena (Nastassja Kinski) comes to New Orleans to stay with her creepy brother Paul (Malcolm McDowell). He disappears for a few days and she manages to get herself a job at the zoo, mostly because the curator has the hots for her, and why not. The curator is also dealing with a leopard that unexpectedly showed up in town mauling people.

I requested this from the library intending on rewatching the 1942 classic. Instead, I received the 1982 remake and decided to give it a try. Wow, what a stinker. Poor camera work, sloppy editing, terrible script, and bad acting. And the score is among the worst I’ve ever heard. The whole production seems to have a crappy-as-an-artistic-statement appeal that simply did not work.

This film offers a passing resemblance with the Val Lewton classic. Irena from the original was from a mysterious eastern European village that was somehow cursed. Nastassja’s Irena came from a bizarro dessert on the Dune planet where leopards became human by eating sacrificial children, because, you know, science. If they have sex, they revert to animal form and must kill to become human again. That’s kind of a spoiler, but trust me. The film makes much more sense knowing that up front. Also, the incestuous brother angle was all new. Delightful.

Also, the pool scene (Lewton bus included) was ripped straight from the original, presented after the credits should have rolled. Cute Annette O’Toole played Alice the love rival.

Don’t get me wrong. Nastassja Kinski looked fantastic. I cannot emphasize this enough. O'Toole as well. But that's the only thing keeping this movie from a lower score. The only other thing this film has going for it is style, such as it is. Maybe it was trying for a french new wave vibe. The story wasn’t much and the acting and dialog were mind-numbingly terrible. Again, as if it was intentional. AMRU 2.

Rest in Peace Lupita Tovar.

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