6.1/10
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124 user 139 critic

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
2,300 ( 1,237)
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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$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

In one of this movie's deleted scenes, Nastassja Kinski's real-life mother played her half-cat half-human mother. See more »

Goofs

When Paul attacks Irena (at around 50 mins) he tears her top. The tear is large and almost extends to her navel. Subsequently, when Irena removes her jacket at Oliver's place (at around 56 mins), her top is intact. See more »

Quotes

Paul Gallier: Save me. Only you can stop this killing. You've got to make love with me.
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 The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs: C.H.U.D. (2019) 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

 
Sex, Violence, Silliness, and an Emerging Cult Favorite
20 May 2005 | by gftbiloxiSee all my reviews

In general terms, the basic premise of both original 1942 CAT PEOPLE and the 1982 Paul Schrader remake are the same: an exotic European beauty is given to transforming into a black panther when sexually aroused. But Schrader unravels this fantasy concept in some very overtly Freudian directions, setting his version in against the decadent charm of New Orleans, introducing a theme of incest, and ramping up the original with a lot of nudity, a lot of sex, and some of the most graphic violence around. The result is an American blood-and-gore horror film with a hypnotic European sensibility that equates both sexual frustration and orgasm with violent death.

The story line concerns two orphaned siblings (Natasha Kinski and Malcom McDowell) who are reunited in New Orleans as adults--but they are, unbeknownst to the sister, the descendants of a mutant race who can only mate with their own kind without transforming into ravening beasts who must then kill to regain their human form. When sister Natasha rejects her brother's advances and then falls in love with a hunky zoo director all hell breaks loose.

In some respects the film is extremely, extremely frustrating, often sliding over the edge from a sexually provocative shocker into moments of annoying silliness--but on the whole it works extremely well as a both a sexual fantasy and a semi-camp statement in gratuitous sex and violence. Kinski is ideally cast as the sexy but virginal Irena; you can literally see the "cat" side of her nature emerge more and more as the film progresses. McDowell is equally interesting as her mad brother, and John Heard, Annette O'Toole, and particularly Ruby Dee offer excellent performances in the supporting cast. The New Orleans backdrop is extremely effective, and (speaking as one who has been there) the darker side of the city is perfectly captured; the Moroder score--which includes some sultry vocals by David Bowie--is also extremely good.

A great many people will loathe CAT PEOPLE, and the reasons will be diverse. The film is extremely bloody, often to a can-you-stand-to-look-at-the-screen degree; there is tremendous nudity and considerably sexual activity; and the combination of sex and violence into a sadomasochistic eroticism is quite disturbing. Beyond this, more critically inclined viewers may find themselves annoyed by the script's silliness and the fact that it does not always go as far over the top as it leads you to expect, and certainly the film's very literal depiction of fantasy elements will not be to every taste. But if you have a hunger to walk on the wild side, CAT PEOPLE (which is rapidly gaining status as a cult film) will suit your need as guilty pleasure.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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