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Cat People

Nastassja Kinski , Malcolm McDowell , Paul Schrader    VHS Tape
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Paul Schrader, the director of American Gigolo, brought a similar kind of sexual chic to this explicit horror movie. A remake of the beautiful, haunting 1942 Cat People, this version takes off from the same idea: that a woman (Nastassja Kinski), a member of a race of feline humans, will revert to her animalistic self when she has sex. Arriving to meet her brother (Malcolm McDowell) in New Orleans, she finds herself disturbed by his sexual presence. A zoo curator (John Heard) becomes fascinated by her, but he will discover that her kittenish ways are just the tip of the claw. Schrader dresses the story up in a stylish, glossy production, keyed on Kinski's green-eyed, thick-lipped beauty; it's hard to think of another actress in 1982 who could so immediately suggest a cat walking on two legs. Luckily Kinski had a European attitude toward her body, because this film has plenty of poster-art nudity. There's also lots of gore and some wacky flashbacks to the ancient tribe of cat people, who hold rituals in an orange desert while Giorgio Moroder's music plays. Cat People doesn't really make all this come together, but it's always interesting to look at, and the dreadful mood lingers. --Robert Horton

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hungry like the panther May 24 2004
"Cat People" is a dark erotic horror movie made in the early 80s; before horror meant hack and slash blood and guts (not that I am complaining). It centers on Irena (Nastassja Kinski), a young virgin who arives in New Orleans to meet her long lost brother Paul (Malcolm McDowell). One night after an awkward advance toward Irena, Paul goes missing. Meanwhile, the zoo catches a wild panther that mysteriously turns up in the city. Irena goes to the zoo, and immeadiatly feels drawn to the panther. The curator, Oliver (John Heard), falls for Irena and arranges for her to get a job. After the panther kills a zoo employee, it escapes, and then Paul comes back. <SPOILERS AHEAD!!!> Eventually this leads Irena to learn that she and Paul are the last of cat people, ancient people that can become an animal only after they have had sex, and can only transform back after they have ate a human. It is sort of a variation on the werewolf myth. Irena must decide if she wants to be a part of the human world, or the animal one. This is a very smart horror movie in a time when they were rapidly becoming mindless. Kinski is a beautiful woman, and she handles herself with grace and sleekness that puts you very much in the mind of a feline. The whole movie depends on her, and you buy her many emotions as genuine through the whole movie. McDowell dose what he dose best, play the heavy; a little more depth from him would have been nice, but I don't hold it against him. John Heard plays hurt and confused well, and it is nice to see him in a role where he isn't a slime ball. The supporting cast is filled out with excellent actors; Ruby Dee and Ed Begley Jr. do just fine in their limited roles. There is also a young and sexy Annette O'Toole, with a twist on the promiscuous female type in horror movies. Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best erotic thriller Sept. 7 2011
This is one of the best erotic thriller's ever made! Just as interesting as the origional. It has held up well in these times. If you like Nastasia Kinski you will love this movie! The effects hold up and don't look too cheesy and fake unlike other old films. The extra's included are very interesting and informative. All in all one of my all time best loved movies.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great in the 80's still great now Nov. 12 2009
I saw this movie when it first came out and immediately fell in love with the start Nastassia Kinski who had an uncanny resemblance to my new wife. The movie marked me from the music from David Bowie to the story set in Louisiana. The special effects, dating to the 80's, are still remarkable today. This is a movie well worth watching - as much today as it was 25 years ago. And as for Nastassia, well I still think she's great!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric, artistic and compelling horror! Nov. 15 2003
By Wuchak
I'm not a big horror fan, I find most slasher flicks particularly uninteresting and devoid of artistic merit, but sometimes horror is done right (e.g. "Night of the Living Dead"). "Cat People" is such a film. It came out in 1982 and is a modern take of the 1942 version.
There's something about this flick that makes it very engrossing. It has style and pizzazz. For instance, the flashback scenes of the ancient panther tribe doing rituals in an orange desert are surreal and captivating; the accompanying atmospheric music adds to the mood nicely.
Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell are siblings cursed to become were-panthers if sexually aroused. The only way they can become human again is to kill a fellow human. The idea is absurd and fantastical, but "Cat People" takes the subject absolutely seriously. John Heard plays a zoo manager who falls in love with Kinski and Annette O'Toole plays the third person in the romantic triangle.
The casting is great. Both Kinski and McDowell are properly cat-like. McDowell has a fittingly wierd and diabolic air about him. John Heard is fine and O'Toole is simply gorgeous.
If nudity offends you then you might want to skip this flick as many of the characters are shown totally nude or near nude.
Kinski is indeed quite attractive (be on the lookout for the scene of her fishing with Heard in hot pants and wader boots) but I'm a bit perplexed by Heard's decision to drop O'Toole for Kinski. Check it out and see if you share my confusion.
Keep in mind that this is without a doubt a horror flick and it can be pretty brutal at times. As a horror film, it definitely rates "5 stars;" but it will only be enjoyed by mature viewers with a touch of class, if you know what I mean (in other words, if you got excited over "Freddy V.S. Jason" you might want to skip this one).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cat People is the Best! Aug. 7 2003
By A Customer
I love this movie. It cracks me up. You can tell they were trying to make a serious movie here, with moods, tones, imagines, sexiness, the whole deal. It just doesn't really work that well and it takes itself so seriously, you can't help but to laugh. But it is an extremely interesting misfire. The imagery and photography are beautiful, the soundtrack is great, and actually, a good part of the plot and scenes do work. All of the actors are fine. It is just I could never quite get over how silly the premise is as well as the ending. The nudity, and there is a lot of it, male and female, are tastefully done, it works well for the sexy, primitive tone it seems to be going after. There is a lot of violence, but the special effects were terrible and very dated, it is almost cartoonishly funny how some of the violence is handled. Some may find it dull and not like the violence. I enjoy it for what it is. The scenes that work are great and scary and excellent. The ones that don't, you can laugh at. Still, I go into convultions laughing when that black tail comes out from under the bed at the bordello early on. The autopsy of the cat toward the end, the cat "body" looks like the poorest of the poor quality stuffed animals ever. I think I could see the price tag on it. Yet Kinski's scenes are truly mesmorizing. Strange film, but I like it.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Classic B- movie
Published 2 months ago by kenneth eastman
4.0 out of 5 stars Presentation of CAT PEOPLE
Just one point.I own CAT PEOPLE on LD and DVD and I always thought it looked so awful that it was certainly shot on 16MM(which is not the case). Read more
Published 7 months ago by RM300
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a christmas gift
once again I'm very happy about this purchase got it on the exact date but don't know yet if it works good but I would have to see t'ill after christmas the package is in good... Read more
Published 9 months ago by valerie pilon
4.0 out of 5 stars C'est mon film fitiche
C'est un film à la fois sensuel et effrayant. Il a dans ce film un aspect de contine de pays lointain et de réalité moderne, qui tranche. J'aime beaucoup.
Published 19 months ago by Ginette Pilon
4.0 out of 5 stars The Guy with The Rope
See these eyes so green...they see for a thousand years. You've read a bit about this flick's faults but it stands its ground for all those except The Hunger produced since about... Read more
Published on April 1 2008 by A "Jake"
2.0 out of 5 stars if it weren't for the exquisite Natassia Kinski...
...I would've given this zero stars.
It felt like a bad 1970s made-for-TV movie: clumsy pacing, cheesy keyboards on the soundtrack, tacky "matte" color photography,... Read more
Published on June 5 2004 by Eduardo Abdullah Nagasaki
5.0 out of 5 stars That dude from Austin Powers is sweet in this
There's all kinds of people (women) walking around totally naked in this movie. I give it my full support there. Read more
Published on April 21 2004 by Chad Kultgen
2.0 out of 5 stars Question about DVD
Just a general question to other buyers of this DVD -- my copy does't seem to have a working title screen. The disc plays the FBI warning, followed by a black screen. Read more
Published on March 28 2004 by Eric C. Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars The movie's a bit dated, but still is exotic & haunting
Cat People does a darn good job of combining sexual intensity with dark horror. Such a combination may not be your cup of tea, but if it is, you might really like this movie. Read more
Published on March 25 2004 by Mark Guzowski
5.0 out of 5 stars STRANGE AND FANTASTIC
In 1982, I snuck into the theater to see this. I was 15. In all honesty, I was shocked. There was so much nudity, I was unnerved.
Now, I'm 37. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2004
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