‘Cat People’ (1982)

Title: Cat People (1982)
Rated: R
Written by: DeWitt Bodeen & Alan Ormsby
Directed by: Paul Schrader
Starring: Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard
Tagline: An Erotic Fantasy About the Animal in Us All!

By Jen Ellingsworth

Pre-Screening Memories: My 13-year-old conscience knew it was wrong to want to see “Cat People.”

In 1984, though, there were few things on my mind other than Duran Duran, my kick-ass Lisa Frank sticker collection and this forbidden movie I was going to watch before my parents got home from work.

With feline stealth I slunk into my older brother’s room – where he proudly displayed his latest acquisition, a Sony Betamax VCR (he paid $800 for it). I’d procured the tape from a classmate who shared my obsession with horror films.

The movie proved effective in that it scared the crap out of me.

Irena (a young Nastassja Kinski), is orphaned as an infant by her animal-trainer parents. She’s reunited with her minister brother Paul (William McDowell), who’s horny as a tomcat. It’s later revealed Irena and Paul are über-cat/humans who transform into giant panthers during intercourse with others. They return back to human only after they kill their mates.

Wow! As if that weren’t enough of an engaging plot, turns out the only way to stop the transformation is sex with a sibling. It was almost too much for me handle. I’d seen nudity in films before, sure, but this movie was so gory I had nightmares for weeks and couldn’t go near the family cat, Tigger.

I remember in one scene, Paul is transforming from cat back to human (so slick were the special effects!), and (gag) eats some glistening leftover fur-skin from his stomach.

Paul continues to sleep with, and maul, numerous lovers, while Irena starts dating a zookeeper Oliver (John Heard). Thing is, she can’t have sex with him because then she’d have to eat him. Paul’s killed while in panther form, Irena’s sexually frustrated and poor Oliver’s looking more and more like a tempting plate of Fancy Feast.

Twenty-three years later, I remember little more about this film other than a man’s arm is eaten by a panther through the bars of a cage in one of the final scenes. I’ve yet to see something so gruesome in a movie. Not even “Kill Bill” had more blood. (Editor’s note: ‘Kill Bill’ link is the over-the-top Crazy 88 scene, you have been warned.)

New Memories?

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A Very Special Episode: ‘Sex and the City’

By Rob Rector

I know this is breaking format a bit, but I think this merits a post. Two people viewing the same film: one has a 10-year history with its characters, one going into the theater cold. I coerced my editor Jen Ellingsworth to chat with me after we screened the new “Sex and the City” film, for she was a die-hard fan and I thought Vera Wang was a social disease. So, here is our discussion, following a brief preamble:

Anticipating the anguished emails of readers who may take umbrage to any critiquing whatsoever of their beloved characters from “Sex and the City,” I opted for a different (read: cowardly) approach to this review which enlists the talents of my editor, one Jen Ellingsworth – perhaps the target audience for this show.

My theory is that if the producers wanted to make a film that catered specifically to the audience, it would have been released in the comfortable confines of its HBO home. Since it was debuting at the multiplex, however, it should be fair game for a standard critique on how it stands up as a film. (For example, if Pixar films are for children, shouldn’t they be open to adult reviewers?)

Since I was a virgin to “Sex” – I have never watched an episode, nor was I overcome with any desire in which to do so – I felt the thoughts and comments of one who had spent many an hour with our fab foursome would be of relative importance.

So below is the podcast of our post-screening conversation over a few rounds of martinis and Budweiser.

As always, you can dowload the episode right here.

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