Artsy, new-wavey retread of the 40s horror classic stars Natassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell as a brother-and-sister pair who carry an ancient feline curse, which proves to be fatal for a number of New Orleans residents. Trippy visuals, lotsa gore and gratuitous nudity, neat stuff.
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Jefferson N. from BLAIRSVILLE, GA Reviewed on 7/2/2011...
The remake of Cat People starring Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell is an erotic thriller sure to appeal to anyone that is a fan of the current "paranormal romance" genre. Nastassja plays a young woman out on her own for the first time that has grown up in an orphanage. She finds she has a brother and goes to New Orleans to live with him. After her arrival, though, he starts acting strangely, perhaps stranger than someone who has just met their long-lost sister should behave. She tries to start a new life working at a zoo, since she loves animals. And slowly finds the reason for that...she is part of a race of cat people from pre-history...evolved from a tribe that bred with panthers. And she also learns the worst downside to this...anytime she makes love, she will become a panther and kill her lover. That is why her brother looked her up...he wants to mate with her since only their own kind can love without killing. But she has fallen in love with the zookeeper and wants a more pure love. But how will she handle his old girlfriend (played by the lovely Annette O'Toole)? This is a classic! With a beautiful soundtrack (including a rare David Bowie song), beautiful sets in melancholy New Orleans, a haunting perfomance from Kinski, and Malcolm McDowell in a strong peformance as the man going mad because of his sexual frustration...this is a classic.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Margaret S. (morgan2010) from GLENVIEW, IL Reviewed on 10/12/2010...
This sexual horror thriller was produced long before computer generated terror and does it extrmemly well. Black panthers mated with humans and now the humans can only have sex with another cat person or they themselves turn into a lepord and have to kill to turn back into a person. Can you imagine that there is also a really nice love story built into this movie as well. I liked it.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sex, Violence, and an Emerging Cult Favorite
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 02/28/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In general terms, the basic premise of both original 1942 CAT PEOPLE and the 1982 Paul Schrader remake are the same: an exotic European beauty is given to transforming into a black panther when sexually aroused. But Schrader unravels this fantasy concept in some very Freudian directions, setting his version in against the decadent charm of New Orleans, introducing a theme of incest, and ramping up the original with a lot of nudity, a lot of sex, and some of the most graphic violence around. The result is an American blood-and-gore horror film with a hypnotic European sensibility that equates both sexual frustration and orgasm with violent death. The story line concerns two orphaned siblings (Natasha Kinski and Malcom McDowell) who are reunited in New Orleans as adults-but they are, unbeknownst to the sister, the descendents of a mutant race who can only mate with their own kind without transforming into ravening beasts who must then kill to regain their human form. When sister Natasha rejects her brother's advances and then falls in love with a hunky zoo director all hell breaks loose.In some respects the film is extremely, extremely frustrating, often sliding over the edge from a sexually provocative shocker into moments of annoying silliness-but on the whole it works extremely well as a both a sexual fantasy and the penultimate statement in gratuitous sex and violence. Kinski is ideally cast as the sexy but virginal Irena; you can literally see the "cat" side of her nature emerge more and more as the film progresses. McDowell is equally interesting as her mad brother, and John Heard, Annette O'Toole, and particularly Ruby Dee offer excellent performances in the supporting cast. The New Orleans backdrop is extremely effective, and (speaking as one who has been there) the darker side of the city is perfectly captured; the Moroder score-which includes some sultry vocals by David Bowie-is also extremely good.A great many people will loathe CAT PEOPLE, and the reasons will be diverse. The film is extremely bloody, often to a can-you-stand-to-look-at-the-screen degree; there is tremendous nudity and considerably sexual activity; and the combination of sex and violence into a sadomasochistic eroticism is quite disturbing. Beyond this, more critically inclined viewers may find themselves annoyed by the script's occasional silliness and the fact that it does not always go as far over the top as it leads you to expect, and the film's very literal depiction of fantasy elements will certainly not to be every taste. But if you have a hunger to walk on the wild side, CAT PEOPLE (which is rapidly gaining status as a cult film) will suit your need as guilty pleasure. A personal favorite."
Joshua Koppel | Chicago, IL United States | 04/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although mostly true to the original this one adds a new element to the story. Nastassia Kinski discovers she has a brother and moves to live with him. Said brother is a little strange as is his housekeeper. They seem to know something about her that they are not saying. Then a killer panther is captured at the same time the brother disappears. The cat is housed at a local zoo and Kinski visits it. From there she gets a job at the zoo and becomes close to one of the other workers there.
But Kinski's feelings bring consequences that she can not yet understand. But as her brother gets in trouble she learns some of the truth of her heritage. Now she must try to find some way to balance what she feels in her heart with the curse she carries. With the help of her new friend she comes up with what she feels is the only solution.
While this film manages to remain fairly true to the original, even duplicating some scenes, it seems more concerned with sex than it does with the original story. Nastasha could go around topless throughout the movie and hardly reveal more than she does with all her transparent clothing. She also has a confusing change of personality when she stalks another character. But all in all it manages to be a pretty good film and a fine tribute. Check it out."
A haunting, erotic horror movie
JLind555 | 08/24/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Cat People" has two things going for it: a creepy, intriguing story line; and Nastassia Kinski. Kinski is absolutely mesmerizing in the title role; an erotic, exotic presence awakening to her own sexuality and discovering that she can only have a life with one of her own kind. Paul Schrader's direction lends a eerily spooky atmosphere to the film. Malcolm McDowell is excellent as Kinski's brother who sees her as his only salvation, as she sees him as her destruction; John Heard is okay but nothing special as Kinski's lover who finally realizes what she is and commits the act that at once sets her free and imprisons her for the rest of her life; and Ruby Dee has a small but haunting role as the landlady who knows Kinski's secret and confronts her with the devastating reality of what lies ahead for her. There's plenty of blood and plenty of gore, but it all fits in with the story. It's not a great movie, but it's a very good one that deserves a wider audience."
Lett'n the cat out of the bag....
Boggman! | Laguna Hills, CA | 09/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the tradition of erotic 80's thrillers, "Cat People" stands out as a very unique and entertaining piece of work.
Young, innocent, and virginal Irena (Nastassja Kinski) can barely remember her parents or brother. She knows they were circus performers and that is about it. Having been raised in orphanages her whole life, she is finally contacted by her long lost brother Paul(Malcolm McDowell ), who is now a priest living out in New Orleans.
So... she packs it up and hightails out there to go live with him.
What she begins to learn is that her brother is quite an oddball, and she herself is beginning to have feelings and connections that she doesn't quite understand.
Ya see, Irena and Paul are from actual feline ancestors, and they themselves turn into panthers upon heightened sexual arousal. Once they turn, they are kitty killing machines-who don't turn back to normal until after they have made a kill. AWESOME!
Not only that, but they are incestuous-and they only way for them to function as humans, have a healthy sex life and pro create is to only sleep with one another. HA HA!
As Irena begins to establish a life and job for herself, her family demons began to take shape in many bizarre ways.
As the truth unfolds, Irena is left with a series of perplexing dilemmas & questions:
1. Should she believe and join her brother? 2. Should she continue to develop a relationship with that nice man at the zoo she works at? 3. Should she give in to her daily animal instincts? 4. Should she remain a virgin out of fear of killing?
"Cat People" has a purrrrfect blend of nudity, blood, & erotic/ sexual images. I can remember how this movie would always get me fired up as a young lad, and after having just revisited the film some 20 years later-it still holds the power to mesmerize and entertain.
And folks to me.....that's what makes for a good time in front of the TV.
A welcome difference for Horror fans.
Jonathan Greenlee | 02/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is great for Nastassja Kinski fans, and it is good for Horror fans as a welcome respite from the usual Vampires and Werewolfs. Not to mention good for cat people as opposed to dog people!"