6.2/10
18,387
127 user 140 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
4,624 ( 845)
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
Learn more

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A fictionalized account in four chapters of the life of celebrated Japanese writer Yukio Mishima.

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The young, friendless daughter of Oliver and Alice Reed befriends her father's dead first wife and an aging, reclusive actress.

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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:

An erotic fantasy for the animal in us all. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Annette O'Toole talked about filming the pool scene in a 2017 interview: "I love the original Cat People, but really only the title is the same. It's a completely different story from the Schrader version. The pool scene though was something they did try to recreate exactly. It WAS scary because it was shot in Pasadena at this really old YMCA. It was the first time I had ever experienced being followed by this camera that was being operated from another room. So there was NO ONE in the pool room, except me and this enormous crane-thing with the camera following me. It really was quiet and creepy and my voice would echo in the place, so it was not hard to be scared out of my mind. Plus I was wet and cold and I was naked, which helped." See more »

Goofs

When Irena and Alice are in the bar, the ice in their drinks does not float, nor is there any condensation on the glasses, which probably indicates that "prop ice" is being used. See more »

Quotes

Irena Gallier: I flew in the day before yesterday. Went site-seeing. Forgot to eat. And you started chasing me and I just got all excited.
Oliver Yates: Yeah, well, I - I do sometimes have that affect on woman.
Irena Gallier: Oh, really?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Syndicated TV version also features brief shots of the animatronic leopards that were ultimately cut from the theatrical release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Swimfan (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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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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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