Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The Movie I Watched Last Night LXXIX

Cat People
Complete with a mournful David Bowie theme song, this early-80s self-described "erotic fantasy" is a wonderful example of cheesy horror/softcore crossover. A redux of the lycanthopy myth, this is a loose remake of the 1942 movie by the same title and focuses on the trials of two siblings who suffer from an age-old curse. The progeny of a race of leopard people, the two turn into voracious felines whenever they're sexually aroused, and the brother -- played by Malcolm McDowell -- tries to persuade and seduce his sister, played by the lovely Nastassja Kinski, to become his lover. Because it's only safe for family members to sleep together. Otherwise, others die. She'll have nothing to do with it and takes up with a zoo curator -- the heroic John Heard -- who strives to secure her love while unraveling the curse of the killer cats. Set in New Orleans, the movie has some nice city and country shots -- along with a stereotypical bayou bumpkin played by Emery Hollier. The suspense is light, as is the erotica, and the Maxx-like flashback exposition adds an out-of-place mythical element to the proceedings. All in all, Cat People is a nicely atmospheric period piece that attempts to blend and bend genres with some success.

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