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Cat People [HD DVD] [1982] [US Import]

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Product details

  • Actors: Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard, Annette O'Toole, Ruby Dee
  • Directors: Paul Schrader
  • Format: AC-3, Colour, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Dec 2007
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000T5O4BC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 150,259 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



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


After Irena (Nastassia Kinski), a young woman with a mysterious past, is reunited with her brother Paul (Malcom MacDowell), a series of bizarre events is set into motion. When Irena discovers that her sexuality is intimately linked with that of her brother's--as well as with a strange human-feline metamorphosis they secretly share--the moment is both frightening and alluring. A remake of the 1942 supernatural horror film of the same name, Paul Schrader's version of Cat People is more graphic, more eroticised, and more detailed in content. Shot in New Orleans, an eerie stillness permeates the film, coupled with naturally delivered dialogue that moves the story along. Ruby Dee provides extra mysterious insinuations as Female, the sibling's live-in servant in their French-style mansion, and John Heard is perfectly cast as Oliver, the animal biologist and love interest of Irena.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 17 Sep 2003
Format: DVD
I'm not opposed to the idea of remakes, although this film shows just why it's a better idea to remake bad films with unfulfilled potential than great ones that far exceeded theirs. Even ignoring comparisons with Val Lewton's classic, it's rare for a film to misfire on quite as many levels as this early Bruckheimer movie - and it's much more of a Bruckheimer movie than a Schrader one - but sadly, like most Bruckheimer movies, this promises much but then resolutely fails to deliver (after all, Bruckheimer is the guy who made a car chase movie and then forgot to include any car chases until the last reel). The sexual fantasies may be Schrader's, but the style is all Bruckheimer's - glossy visuals, marketable soundtrack, good-looking cast given little to work with, meandering script and a dogged refusal to make good on the hype.

However, even ignoring the fact that the producer is more interested in the marketing than the movies themselves, taken on its own merits, `Cat People' just doesn't work. For a film about a race of incestuous cat people, it's astonishingly boring. Nothing much happens in the most uninteresting way possible for 90 minutes until Kinski's character undergoes a sudden complete moral u-turn and the filmmakers try to wrap everything up in a hurry so they can get home before the pubs shut. As a film about sexuality, it has no insight. As a sex film, it has no sex or eroticism. As a thriller, it doesn't thrill. As a horror film, it has no atmosphere or menace. Worst of all, it's just so astonishingly dull. And don't expect much in the way of special effects or gore - most of what was shot hit the cutting room floor (and don't go looking for them on the DVD - no deleted scenes there).
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. Booth on 21 Aug 2010
Format: DVD
I dont usually write reviews, but am a serious film lover, and having read all these poor reviews of one of my favourite films, Cat People, it made me wonder, why did I love it so much?? I think it has alot to do with the age i was when i saw it - I was 13. And maybe the problem with the film is that it works best for younger teenagers, who enjoy minor horror, dreamlike fantasy, and mild eroticism. OK, I'll concede, it is slightly dull in places.

But it has alot going for it. First off, the soundtrack, by Giorgio Moroder, is AWESOME. For years after seeing the film i was desperate to find the soundtrack album. I still love the music to Cat People, it really got under my skin. And the theme song, Putting Out Fire by David Bowie, is a killer track, and totally ahead of its time.

Secondly, I adore Nastasja Kinski. I love the dreamlike quality of her acting in this film, she is beautiful, mysterious, detached, alluring, threatening, innocent, all at once. And i loved her journey of dark discovery. The whole film is odd, and frequently dreamlike. Its meant to be an adult erotic fantasy, but really, it works best as a mixed up adolescent dream. Watching it again now, i dont love it quite as much as i did. But I still love it, and will never forget the impression it made on me when i was 13.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cactus on 10 Jan 2010
Format: DVD
I first have to first admit that to me Nastassia Kinski will always be Tess Durbeyfield, in Roman Polanski's adaptation of Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles". So it was with some trepidation that I decided to watch "Cat People", in case my image of her was ruined forever. Fortunately it all turned out okay.

The plot follows the discovery by Nastassia Kinski's character, Irena, that she's one of the Cat People and that when she has sex she'll turn into a Black Leopard. This is a little inconvenient when you think about it. Actually most of the film follows her as she finds out about her family's 'unique selling point' rather than the consequences of it, so there aren't a great many scenes that focus on that post love-making bowl of milk, or raiding the nearest bird's nest for some food.

This is a film that brandishes its style over content and isn't ashamed to do so, despite the opportunities the story offers to make a powerful and erotic movie. There are some bits of horror and when they do come the effects are both excellent and convincing, but there aren't a great many and it's only the last quarter of the film when it seems to get going; but by then you've already curled up comfortably by the warm radiator and nothing much is going to get you to change your position, short of someone pushing the vacuum cleaner too close to you. Nastassia Kinski does seem to drift through many of her scenes just looking suitably dreamy, feline and a bit confused about everything. It's not that she did a bad job (in fact I think she plays the character of Irena very well), but the script doesn't seem to give her a great deal of opportunity to act, outside of being a slightly mysterious girl next door sort of character.
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Format: DVD
There’s a lot to like about this 80’s cult status, atmospheric ‘horror’ film. Firstly, Natassia Kinski is great as the lead role ‘Irena’ who comes from a long line of people who are ‘Were-cats’ (as opposed to Were-wolves) although she doesn’t really know this to start with. You get to see a lot of her at her gorgeous sexy best, all very tastefully done. She’s perfect in the role and becomes more feline as the story progresses.
The supporting actors are good; John Heard as her lover and curator of the zoo where Irena gets a job, and Annette O’Toole another worker at the Zoo. Malcolm McDowell stays just the right side of hammy, as her ‘brother’ and fellow cat person.
The music is just right as well, with a soundtrack by Giorgio Moroder, as it sets the dreamlike feel to the movie with a back drop of sultry New Orleans.
It’s not all that bloody apart from a few scenes, certainly by today’s standards, and I would call it more of a suspense film, than horror. It’s certainly very original, and the film that I thought of as a comparison was ‘The Hunger’ which has a similar feel to it. Forget the comparisons with the 1942 film of the same name as it shares little with it.
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