Cat People (Special Edition)

Starring:
Nastassia Kinski as Irena Gallier
Malcolm McDowell as Paul Gallier
John Heard as Oliver Yates
Annette O’Toole as Alice Perrin
Ed Begley Jr. as Joe Creigh
Scott Paulin as Bill Searle
Frankie Faison as Detective Brandt
Ron Diamond as Detective Ron Diamond
Lynn Lowry as Ruthie
John Larroquette as Bronte Judson
Tessa Richarde as Billie

Special Features:
Cat People: An Intimate Portrait by Paul Schrader
Feature Commentary with Director Paul Schrader
On the Set with the Director Paul Schrader
Special Makeup Effects by Tom Burman
Cat People Matte Paintings
Filmmaker Rober Wise on the Producer of the Original Cat People, Val Lewton
Production Notes
Production Photographs
Theatrical Trailer

Other Info:
Languages: English, Spanish, French
1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Running Time: 1 Hr. 59 Mins.
Dolby Digital
2.0 Stereo
Captions Subtitles

Synopsis:
From the DVD cover: “Nastassia Kinski stars as Irena, a beautiful young woman on the bridge of sexuality; she discovers love for the first time only to find that the explosive experience brings with it tragic consequences. The tremendous passion of this girl’s first romantic love is so strong, however, it bypasses the chaos around her – including her brother’s (Malcolm McDowell) extraordinary demands – as it pushes her on to her own bizarre destiny. With a style as timeless as myth, Cat People is an erotic fantasy of the passion and terror that surround this girl’s first love. DesireÂ…passionÂ…blood, her lust transforms her into of the Cat People.”

This movie is a remake of the 1942 B-Movie “Cat People” by Val Lewton, just with more nipples. Basically, Kinski is the latest in a long line of people who turn into big cats. She must mate with her brother, another cat dude, in order to carry on their species. But her love belongs to another. What’s a girl to do?

The Movie:
Fans of this film from 1982 will be glad to find this new DVD release. The film looks great in the digital format. It probably hasn’t looked this good since it originally hit the big screen. From the opening scene set in a red African desert, you can tell that a lot of work was put into making this production look cool. And look cool it does. Despite being a relic from the 80′s, many of the scenes look good even by today’s standards. However, the great production and snazzy repackaging doesn’t save the movie itself.

The story is horribly cheesy and is nothing more than an excuse to clip together scenes of Nastassia Kinski naked. Actually, that’s not fair. McDowell and O’Toole get naked, too. Between references to incest and bestiality, there’s not much redeeming in this movie. Well, there’s a side cameo by John Larroquette (from Night Court) and we get to see Ed Begley Jr. get his arm ripped off, so it’s not a total loss.

The Extras:
For a movie that came out in 1982, the extras offer up a surprising amount of behind the scenes info. One of the more interesting extra features is a piece on the special makeup effects by Tom Burman. In this age of CG effects, it’s interesting to see how they pulled off various effects using only the basic movie tricks they had back then. They actually hold up better than many effects today. Burman also added a few touches of his own to the production that would have been glossed over if not pointed out in this documentary.

“Cat People: An Intimate Portrait” also gives an interesting glimpse into the production. Director Paul Schrader tells some amusing stories about how they got the big cats to act in the movies and the special considerations required in working with the dangerous animals (besides moody actors). Schrader also talks about the great deal of thought and talent that went into creating the production design. It makes you appreciate some of the thinking behind this otherwise pointless film.

On the Set with Director Paul Schrader is actually an interview conducted on the Cat People set back in the 80′s. Schrader comes across as rather creepy and perverted when talking about the film. He looks like he was just caught on camera walking out of an adult video store. It’s an extremely awkward interview and Schrader seems very uncomfortable talking on camera (unlike in his more recent interview on the DVD).

An interesting feature on the matte paintings and a seemingly out of place interview with Robert Wise talking about Val Lewton round out the special features on this disc.

The Bottom Line:
Save your money for another day. Only the cult followers of the film should be interested in purchasing this film.

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