Mania Grade: B+
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- Rated: R
- Starring: Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard, Annette O'Toole, Ed Begley Jr.
- Written By: DeWitt Bodeen (story), Alan Ormsby(screenplay)
- Directed By: Paul Schrader
- Studio: Universal Studios
- Original Year of Release: 1982
- Run Time: 118 minutes
- Distributor: Scream Factory
- Special Features: See Below
Cat People Collectors Edition Blu-ray Review
Stunning yet flawed
By Robert T. Trate
January 21, 2014
Cat People Collectors Edition Blu-ray from Scream Factory
© Scream Factory
Irena (Nastassja Kinski) arrives in New Orleans to meet her long lost brother, Paul (Malcolm McDowell). Paul appears to be a good man who is involved with the church and has spent his life time trying to find his long lost sister. Their parents were circus performers and after their death, Paul and Irena were sent off to an orphanage. With not a lot of subtly, Paul starts to reveal is affections for Irena. What we see, as the audience, is that it is more than just brotherly love.
Paul Schrader’s Cat People is a difficult to movie to understand. It is not the plot, which is fairly straight forward, it is more why we are attracted to it. There are great leaps in logic as well as huge plot holes. Granted, upon repeat viewing we can make better sense of the film, but we are left wondering why we keep coming back to it. For those who love Cat People, Scream Factory has delivered an incredible Collector’s Edition.
This is an incredibly artistic horror movie. Paul Schrader crafted more of an art house film than just a remake of a Universal classic. The best argument for this is the film’s opening scene. We see how the “cat people” came into being, how one must give him/herself over to the animal within. Where Malcolm McDowell really nails his part is how he is both the villain and the sympathetic underdog. McDowell’s Paul never asks to be what he is, it is just his life. When he seeks out Irena he is search of his mate, someone to ease his longings. It is there that we identify with his character so easily. The downside for Paul is that it is his sister that he has to be with.
I found the choice of John Heard as the leading man an interesting one. Everyone else in the film is perfectly cast. From Kinski’s cat-like features, to Annette O’‘Toole’s girl next door hotness, even Ed Begley Jr.’s bungling groundskeeper, they all belong here. Heard is neither a hero type nor the man with all the answers. Yet he is the one who we are supposed to be rooting for, not just as the lovelorn good guy, but the man who might be able to save Irena. It is one of the many flaws of Cat People.
As I said before, if you are a fan or have the incessant need to understand your fascination with Cat People, this is the Blu-ray you have been waiting for. Scream Factory has pulled out all the stops and included interviews with every major cast member, including scream queen Lynn Lowry. Annette O’Toole has incredible stories about the production. John Heard first thought he was auditioning for an adult film. McDowell states that despite it being deemed a “Cult Film”, it is not a failure. It is probably best to skip the interview with Nastassja Kinski. The woman present at the interview is not even close to being a shadow of the actress that was in the film. It might be the strangest thing on this Blu-ray. The one thing they all agree on is the sheer power of David Bowie’s opening song.
New interviews with writer/director Paul Schrader, Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard, Annette O’Toole , Lynn Lowry and composer Giorgio Moroder.