The Cat People originated way back in time, when humans sacrificed their women to leopards, who mated with them. Cat People look similar to humans, but must mate with other Cat People before they transform into panthers. Irene Gallier was raised by adoptive parents and meets her older brother Paul for the first time since childhood. We follow brother and sister - who seem to be the only ones of their kind left.Written by
Colin Tinto <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Not as good as the original but still worth watching
****SPOILERS**** Paul Schrader's remake of the 1942 horror classic "Cat People" this time set in New Orleans La. not in New York City. Irena Gallier, Nastassja Kinski, comes to live with her older brother Paul, Malcolm McDowell, in the hot and sweltering southern city. Feeling for the first time in her life wanted Irena was orphaned at the age of four when her parents killed themselves. She spent her formidable years in and out of orphanages and it wasn't until her brother tracked her down that she fond a home of her own in Louisiana. It turns out later in the movie that what Paul wants from her is more then what Irena is willing to give him.
Nastassja Kinski in one of her most sexiest roles is both seductive and innocent as Irena and gives the film the electricity that keeps the movie going even though the cast has trouble keeping up with her performance at times. Malcolm McDowell is both creepy and unnerving as Irena's older brother Paul who's like a Tom-Cat in heat during the entire movie having no trouble getting women for his sexual pleasures. Paul also ends up murdering them because of his submerged animal instincts that those affairs bring to the surface. John Heard, Oliver Yates, is very good as the zoo curator and Irena's frustrated lover who Irena, who loves him, avoids having an affair with Oliver in order not to be forced to kill him. Annette O'Toole, Alice Perrin, is also very good in a small but important role as Oliver's co-worker in the New Orleans Zoo. Alice later becomes the focus of Irena's jealousy and resentment for being the woman who's standing between Oliver and her.
The movie recreates a number of scenes from the 1942 version with the cat-like woman coming up to Irena at a bar, in the first film it was at Irena's wedding party, and greets her in a foreign language calling her "My sister" or, what it obviously meant, fellow cat person. There's also the classic indoor swimming pool scene with Alice. This time around with Alice being topless which of course she couldn't have been in the 1942 version due to the censorship of nude scenes by the Hollywood Watchdog Hayes Commision. Alice taking a swim in the indoor swimming pool has the lights suddenly shut off and what seemed to be some kind of big cat in the shadows hounding her in the dark.
Unlike the original movie the new version of "Cat People" has a number of extremely gory scenes that are really shocking. With the black leopard in the movie who both Irena and Paul turn into being so horrific and terrifying that he makes the villains in horror/slashers movies today look as scary as Pee Wee Herman in comparison. With his eerie green eyes and ferocious and deadly fangs and claws you just cringe with fear every time the big cat comes on the screen. There's a blood splattered sequence where the enraged leopard grabs the zoo-keeper's Joe Creigh's, Ed Bagley Jr, arm between the bars of his cage. The sight of the big cat, who was really Paul, going wild when as saw Joe together with Irena, his sister, was one of the most terrifying scenes I've even seen in a motion picture. Joe foolishly tried to settle the leopard down with an electric prong as the dangerous feline suddenly and cat-like grabbed and ripped Joe's arm off with the ease as if it was attached to his body with just a rubber band. The frighting thing about the leopard's actions is that, unlike the killers in most horror films, it was so realistic knowing that a big dangerous jungle cat like that can do that in real life just like in the movies.
Even though Paul Schrader's "Cat People" doesn't in any way measure up to the original the ending was more interesting and innovative with Irena not being killed and Oliver ending up together with her instead of leaving Irena for Alice like Oliver did in the 1942 movie. In the end of the movie we see that Oliver finally accepts Irena for what she is with the knowledge that the only way he can be with her is between the bars that separate them.
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