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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
4,234 ( 252)

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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:

They are something more than lovers who are about to become something less than human. 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

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 colors of orange and lime are omnipresent throughout the film and their use is based on a thematic color concept for this picture. See more »

Goofs

Obvious Product Placement: 30 seconds after seeing Paul taking a picture of Billie using a Nikon camera whose name was clearly visible, we see Oliver taking Irena's picture using a camera with gaffer's tape obviously covering the brand name of Oliver's camera. See more »

Quotes

Paul Gallier: Some little mice sat in the barn to spin. Pussy came by and popped her head in. What are you doing my little men?
Paul GallierIrena Gallier: Weaving coats for...
Paul Gallier: Gent...
Irena Gallier: Gentlemen.
Paul Gallier: Very good! Shall I come in and cut your throats off?
Paul GallierIrena Gallier: Oh, no kind sir, we will snap our heads off.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Syndicated TV version has a couple additional scenes AND an altered ending. The alternate ending occurs when Oliver corners the panther that was Irena on the bridge. In the theatrical version the Irena panther jumps off the bridge and escapes. The panther kills a friend of Oliver's to become human again and hides out in Oliver's shack. Oliver finds Irena there and they both agree to make love one last time (knowing that she'll become a panther again). The last scene in the movie has Oliver petting and feeding the Irena panther in a cage at the zoo. In the syndicated TV version it ends at the bridge when Oliver shoot's the Irena panther with a knock out dart and then cuts to the scene when he feeds and pets the Irena panther at the zoo. This eliminated the need to edit down the steamy last lovemaking scene. Another additional scene in the syndicated version has Irena accidently scaring a bird in a cage to death just by her presence. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Die schlechtesten Filme aller Zeiten: Sharknado (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Why Not Tonight?
Performed by Jimmy Hughes
Courtesy of Atlantic Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
on its own terms it's 'moody', creepy, and also campy
7 July 2009 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

What made Paul Schrader tackle this production I'm not sure. In a year when John Carpenter was doing his rendition of the short story, not even entirely so much the film, of The Thing, Schrader and his screenwriter decided to go back to the source of one of those stories no one really reads but pretends they have when in reality it's the original film everyone remembers. But this is an opposite case of Carpenters: where the original The Thing was, arguably, not really the masterpiece everyone remembers (albeit influential), the remake truly was. Jacques Tourner and Val Lewton crafted one of those quintessential horror films that scares precisely because how little we see of the actual panther on camera, while Schrader's film, actually, isn't a masterpiece of horror, not quite close at all really. And it's not even because Schrader decided to show the cat on screen, many times over (maybe it's a leopard, they look similar but it's closer to panther to me).

No, it's a different film due to permissiveness of the time period (it's the 80s vs the 40s, so this time we get plenty of nudity, "bad" language, and the Giorgio Moroder musical accompaniment which has dated pretty terribly), and with its subject matter being far more based on the romantic than in the original film. It's a strange effort this Cat People, where incest even comes into question (or rather it's right out in the open, at least between the two parties), the look and feel of New Orleans and the Bayou becomes another character, and the characterizations become enhanced by the mere presence of Malcolm McDowell's inimitable face and Nastassja Kinski's irrepressible sexual charisma on camera. Not to say she can't act, since she can hold her own very well even when she's seemingly doing not much except walking naked through a field at night or, um, walking naked in a room or, you know, not naked in a swimming pool.

How much is actually taken from the original Tourner film or the short story I really can't say for certain. The pool scene is the only one I can recall specifically lifted from the original (and, not too sorry to say, 42 for the win on that one). But comparisons can get too petty in this instance, perhaps, since Schrader's goal is to analyze the characters in this setting, what sex and desire and the psychology of a were-cat does to a person, or to people who realize what they're capable of, as opposed to just simple horror. Schrader's direction has some genuine moments of thrill, or just plain artistic satisfaction, like a not-so simple composition of a tracking shot of one of the hookers walking along on a street at night at her foot level. I'm even reminded of De Palma, whom Schrader worked with once before.

But at the same time, for all of the versatility of the actors, and the occasional moments of surreal imagination, there's also much camp as well (Ed Begley's character's fate for example) and a few really cheesy parts or just scenes that don't work or, perhaps, are too saddled with a need to push the button of sex on film. It's a hot number that works well, more or less, and would take a deeper analysis to dissect than I can give it right now. It's respectable, at the least.


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