Poster for Cat People.
|Date released||2 April 1982|
|Country of origin||USA|
Cat People is a 1982 erotic horror film directed by Paul Schrader and starring Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, and John Heard. Jerry Bruckheimer served as executive producer. Alan Ormsby wrote the screenplay, basing it loosely on the story by DeWitt Bodeen, the screenwriter for original Cat People movie of 1942.
Director Paul Schrader has said in relation to the erotic and horror aspects of Cat People that it "contains more skin than blood". He has described the film as being more about the mythical than the realistic.
At the beginning of Cat People, Irena Gallier (Kinski) meets her older brother Paul (McDowell), a minister in New Orleans for the first time since their parents died and Irena was sent to a foster home. That night, a prostitute is mauled by a black leopard, which is then captured by the police, aided by a team of zoologists.
The next day Irena finds herself in the zoo where these scientists work. Drawn to the newly captured leopard, she takes a job in the gift shop. Shortly afterward, the leopard escapes; and Paul returns. He tells Irena of their family's werecat heritage: when one of them has sex with a human, it transforms into a leopard, and only by killing a human can the werecat regain human form. Only sex with another werecat prevents the transformation.
On the run from her brother, Irena takes refuge in a sexually-frustrated romance with one of the zoologists, Oliver Yates (Heard), afraid of what might happen if she consummates their passion. Paul, in leopard form, tries to kill the man; but he is killed himself, instead. However, when an autopsy is performed on the cat, Oliver discovers that the panther's body is a hollow shell: Paul has disappeared.
Eventually, Irena makes love with Oliver, transforms into a leopard and flees, sparing Oliver's life. She regains human form at a secluded lake house by killing its caretaker. Oliver confronts her, ties her arms and legs to the posts of the bed, and proceeds to make love to her, knowing what she will become. The film concludes with Oliver feeding a black leopard in a cage at the zoo.
- Adapted from the Wikipedia article on Cat People.