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Cat People (1982)

A young woman's sexual awakening brings horror when she discovers her urges transform her into a monstrous black leopard.

Director:

Paul Schrader

Writers:

DeWitt Bodeen (story), Alan Ormsby (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
3,294 ( 130)

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nastassja Kinski ... Irena Gallier (as Nastassia Kinski)
Malcolm McDowell ... Paul Gallier
John Heard ... Oliver Yates
Annette O'Toole ... Alice Perrin
Ruby Dee ... Female
Ed Begley Jr. ... Joe Creigh
Scott Paulin ... Bill Searle
Frankie Faison ... Detective Brandt
Ron Diamond Ron Diamond ... Detective Ron Diamond
Lynn Lowry ... Ruthie
John Larroquette ... Bronte Judson
Tessa Richarde Tessa Richarde ... Billie
Patricia Perkins Patricia Perkins ... Taxi Driver
Berry Berenson ... Sandra
Fausto Barajas Fausto Barajas ... Otis
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Storyline

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 <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An erotic fantasy about the animal in us all. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 April 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cat People See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,617,636, 4 April 1982, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$7,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The police helicopter is a Bell 206L LongRanger with optional oversized skids for landing on soft terrain. See more »

Goofs

During the scene where Irena and Oliver are having dinner at the seafood restaurant, Oliver offers Irena a sip of his beer. In the first shot (over Oliver's shoulder) the beer is half-full with the rest of the glass filled with froth. When the shot reverses as Irena declines the offer, all of the froth has disappeared. See more »

Quotes

Alice Perrin: So, what happened?
Irena Gallier: Um, what did - what - I don't remember, what did...
Alice Perrin: The boy you liked.
Irena Gallier: Oh, right! So, you know, we petted and stuff like that. He wanted to go all the way and so did I; but, I don't know, I got scared. He looked so...
Alice Perrin: What?
Irena Gallier: Huge!
Alice Perrin: God! What's his name? Quick.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the theatrical version, the song "Sunday Kind of Love" by Ella Fitzgerald plays in the background during a dinner scene. In the syndicated television version, the song "Faraway Places" by Bing Crosby plays. See more »

Connections

Features Top Cat (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

What's New Pussycat?
(uncredited)
Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Sung by Ed Begley Jr.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Channeling A Sexual Beast: 80s Style
6 January 2009 | by ikennethriosSee all my reviews

Despite having been young, semi-conscious (I was under five years old) and possessing few actual memories of the nineteen eighties, the decade has a certain personal eroticism for me. The powdery skin, shimmering camera-work, the outrageous kink and camp of the clothing, the archetypal section of dim-minded actresses performing with the joyful vacant-eyed faces of children: these all stir my heart. The film Cat People was a smarter film when compared to too much of the artistic output of the nineteen eighties but it also suffered from the strangeness of the times. First of all, Nastassja Kinski has a sublime beauty that would attract in any decade but was especially characteristic of ideal notions of sexiness for those years. Her eyebrow were that exquisite Madonna-esquire thick, her lips in a permanent state of partial openness with full-on pout, her hair cut to that boyish cute, and her shoulder pads speaking volumes about her feminine authority. Even her cat-like demeanor, connected to the premise of the film, was equivalent to popular depictions of women as sex kittens. In essence, her performances in the film can be interpreted as one of the finest expressions of the nineteen eighties soft-lit, softcore pornographic aesthetic.

Secondly, as a horror film, it managed to offer moments of decent creepiness in the vein of the times. Fear, of course, has been a universal and timeless emotion yet it can be provoked in a manner reflective of the era. The Germans of centuries ago used grim and blood-spattered folk tales to frighten, director Paul Schrader used shadow. Shadows were such a magnificent aspect of the nineteen eighties aesthetic because their perfect in lockstep with the soft-lit light (consider the Vogue video). Schrader employed shadows in an eerie manner that kept the viewer guessing, achieving what few horror directors actual get from their audiences: fearful concern about what was in the dark. Consider two scenes: when Malcolm McDowell lunges from the shadows as the beast and when Nastassja Kinski has a passion moment in that darkened room. Schrader brilliance was to make the shadow both fearful and erotic: the dark has been traditional as fear-provoker and yet can be quite intimate as well. In mixing the two emotions successfully, Schrader made the film a unique creature for the horror genre.

Third, that soundtrack Giorgio Moroder and Bowie crafted must be one of the strangest in the history of film. Starting off on a campy note, the music over the reddish desert of the first scene ought to make a person either laugh or weep but it does get better. Listen to it; it goes with the images on screen like magic.


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