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Cat People (1982 film)

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Cat People is a 1982 American erotic horror film directed by Paul Schrader and starring Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell Jerry Bruckheimer served as executive producer Alan Ormsby wrote the screenplay, basing it loosely on the story by DeWitt Bodeen, the screenwriter for the acclaimed original Cat People 1942 Giorgio Moroder composed the film's score, including the theme song which features lyrics and vocals by David Bowie


  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Cast
  • 3 Production
  • 4 Themes
  • 5 Release
    • 51 Home Media
  • 6 Reception
    • 61 Awards and nominations
  • 7 Soundtrack
    • 71 Side one
    • 72 Side two
    • 73 Personnel
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links


Irena Gallier travels to New Orleans from Canada to reconnect with her brother Paul Both orphaned after their parents died, Irena has been in foster care her entire life Paul, not so lucky, spent his childhood in and out of institutions and jail They return to Paul's home where his Creole housekeeper Female pronounced feh-MAH-leh helps Irena settle into her brother's house Later, as Irena sleeps, Paul watches her with a predatory stare That same night, a prostitute walks into a fleabag motel to meet a john — and is instead mauled by a black panther The police capture the panther, aided by a team of zoologists: Oliver Yates, Alice Perrin and Joe Creigh

That same morning, Irena wakes to find her brother missing Female guesses he went to the mission, and will be home later She pushes Irena to enjoy New Orleans on her own When Irena visits the local zoo, she is drawn to the newly captured panther, and stays long after closing hours When Oliver, the zoo's curator, discovers her, she runs and climbs up a tree Oliver calms her, takes her to dinner, and eventually offers her a job in the gift shop Irena enjoys her time working alongside Oliver and Alice, until one day she witnesses the new panther rip Joe's arm off during a routine cage cleaning, which leads to Joe's death Oliver resolves to euthanize the cat, only to find that the animal has escaped, leaving behind a puddle of melted flesh and viscera in its cage

Soon, Paul turns up and tells Irena of their family's werecat heritage If a werecat mates with a human, the werecat transforms into a panther, and only by killing a human can the werecat regain human form He also tells her that their parents were actually brother and sister because werecats are ancestrally incestuous and only sex with another werecat prevents the transformation He makes a sexual advance towards his sister in the hopes that she will understand their predicament and accept, but she doesn't, and flees She runs and flags down a police car, only to have second thoughts about turning her brother in But it is too late, a police dog catches the scent of something within the house and a detective is called in In the Gallier's basement, police find shackles, bones, and remains of dozens of corpses They figure a wild animal was housed in the basement and call in Oliver to have a look

On the run from her dangerous brother, Irena takes refuge in a frustrated romance with Oliver, afraid of what might happen if she has sex with him One night, Paul in panther form breaks into Oliver's house, intent on killing him so he can have Irena to himself, but is shot by Alice Oliver performs an autopsy on the panther, cutting it open, a green gas escapes and he discovers a human body within the cat Before he can document the finding, the animal has melted into the same flesh and viscera pool as before

Irena, now trapped, realizes that Paul was the only person who was safe for her to mate with If she takes a human lover, she will have to kill to regain human form Eventually, Irena has sex with Oliver, transforms into a panther and flees, sparing Oliver's life She escapes, but is later trapped on a bridge by police Shortly after Oliver arrives at the scene, Irena sees him and jumps off the bridge and escapes Oliver realizes where she is headed and confronts Irena at a secluded lake house, she having regained human form by killing the house's caretaker Irena tells Oliver she did not kill him because she loves him, and begs him to let her "be with her own" Oliver ties Irena's arms and legs to the posts of the bed and proceeds to have sex with her, knowing what she will become

Later, Oliver is at the zoo working By this time, he and Alice are romantically involved He walks to a cage that contains a black panther, implied to be Irena, casually hand-feeding and stroking the animal


  • Nastassja Kinski as Irena Gallier
  • Malcolm McDowell as Paul Gallier
  • John Heard as Oliver Yates
  • Annette O'Toole as Alice Perrin
  • Ruby Dee as Female
  • Ed Begley, Jr as Joe Creigh
  • Scott Paulin as Bill Searle
  • Frankie Faison as Det Brandt
  • Lynn Lowry as Ruthie
  • John Larroquette as Bronte Judson
  • Tessa Richarde as Billie
  • Berry Berenson as Sandra


The Blu-ray features interviews with Kinski, McDowell, Heard and O'Toole as well as director Schrader and composer Moroder McDowell indicated that he was somewhat reluctant to make the film at first because he recalled the original film as "not being very good" but was convinced by Schrader's take on the material with its focus on the erotic horror elements McDowell also revealed that the scene where he leaps on the bed in a cat like fashion was shot with him jumping off the bed They then ran the film backward Heard discussed how he almost turned down the role because he believed it was a porno movie He also recalled that he felt very awkward, particularly during the nude scenes O'Toole discussed the fact that they used cougars that were dyed black because panthers are impossible to traincitation needed


Director Schrader has said, in relation to the erotic and horror aspects of Cat People, that the film "contains more skin than blood" He has described the film as being more about the mythical than the realistic He has likened the relation between Oliver and Irena to Dante and Beatrice, putting the female on a pedestal3


The film was released theatrically in the United States by Universal Studios on April 2, 1982 It grossed approximately $7 million at the US box office4

Home Mediaedit

The film has been released twice on DVD in the United States; once by Image Entertainment in 19975 and again by Universal in 20026

Shout! Factory's division Scream Factory released the film in January 2014 on Blu-ray, when they announced on their Facebook page releasing films from the 1980s in early 2014citation needed


Cat People received a variety of mixed reviews upon its initial release The film currently holds a 65% approval rating at the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes from 42 critics7

Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times, gave the film three and a half out of four star rating He stated, "Cat People is a good movie in an old tradition, a fantasy-horror film that takes itself just seriously enough to work, has just enough fun to be entertaining, contains elements of intrinsic fascination in its magnificent black leopards, and ends in one way just when we were afraid it was going to end in another"8

Weekly entertainment-trade magazine Variety also gave the film a positive rating by praising Nastassja Kinski's performance, saying: "Kinski was essential to the film as conceived, and she's endlessly watchable"9 Leonard Maltin awarded the film a mixed two out of a possible four stars, calling it "Sexxy, bloody, technically well crafted, but uneven and ultimately unsatisfying"10 However, Nastassja Kinski stated, when being interviewed by her friend and actress Jodie Foster, in Film Comment that she disliked the film, describing it as "slick" and "manipulative" This surprised Foster, who asserted she thoroughly enjoyed the film11

Awards and nominationsedit

The film was nominated for three prestigious awards:12

  • Saturn Awards
Best Actress Nastassja Kinski
  • Golden Globe Awards
Best Original Motion Picture Score Giorgio Moroder Best Original Motion Picture Song David Bowie


Cat People: Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Giorgio Moroder
Released April 2, 198213
Recorded Carla Ridge, Beverly Hills, California
Mountain Recording, Montreux, Switzerland David Bowie's vocals
Genre Electronic, synthpop, ambient
Length 35:06
Label Backstreet/MCA
Producer Giorgio Moroder
Singles from Cat People: Original Soundtrack
  1. "Cat People Putting Out Fire"
    Released: March 1982

The soundtrack album was released by MCA Records the same week as the film The theme song "Cat People Putting Out Fire" was performed by David Bowie, who wrote the lyrics to music composed by Giorgio Moroder The song was released as a single in 1982, and Bowie included a re-recorded version of the song on his album Let's Dance 1983 Bowie performed the song live regularly during his 1983 "Serious Moonlight" tour The song was also used in Quentin Tarantino's film Inglourious Basterds 2009

Bowie's re-recording had guitar by a then-unknown Stevie Ray Vaughan

All compositions by Moroder, lyrics by David Bowie on "Cat People Putting Out Fire"

Side oneedit

  1. "Cat People Putting Out Fire" – 6:43
  2. "The Autopsy" – 1:31
  3. "Irena's Theme" – 4:20
  4. "Night Rabbit" – 1:58
  5. "Leopard Tree Dream" – 4:01

Side twoedit

  1. "Paul's Theme Jogging Chase" – 3:51
  2. "The Myth" – 5:11
  3. "To the Bridge" – 2:50
  4. "Transformation Seduction" – 2:44
  5. "Bring the Prod" – 1:57


  • Bob Badami – music editor
  • Brian Banks – additional keyboards, Synclavier II programming
  • Steve Bates – assistant engineer, mixing assistant
  • David Bowie – vocals on "Cat People Putting Out Fire" & humming vocal on "The Myth"
  • Alexandra Brown – backing vocals
  • Keith Forsey – drums, percussion
  • Brian Gardner – mastering
  • Craig Huxley – blaster beam
  • Charles Judge – Prophet 5 and Jupiter 8 programming
  • Laurie Kanner – production coordinator
  • Michael Landau – guitar
  • Sylvester Levai – keyboards, arranged by
  • Paulette MacWilliams – backing vocals
  • Tim May – guitar
  • Giorgio Moroder – producer, guitar, bass, mixing
  • Brian Reeves – engineer, mixing
  • Lee Sklar – bass
  • Stephanie Spruill – backing vocals
  • Trevor Veitch – musical contractor
  • Allen Zentz – mastering Bowie's vocals


  1. ^ "CAT PEOPLE X" British Board of Film Classification 1982-04-20 Retrieved 2013-07-05 
  2. ^ a b "Cat People Box Office Data" Retrieved 2008-01-29 
  3. ^ DVD Verdict Review, Cat People HD DVD
  4. ^ "Cat People" boxofficemojocom Retrieved 2011-04-19 
  5. ^ "Cat People DVD" dvdempirecom Retrieved 2011-04-18 
  6. ^ "Cat People DVD" dvdempirecom Retrieved 2011-04-18 
  7. ^ "Cat People Movie Reviews, Pictures" Rotten Tomatoes Flixster Retrieved 2010-08-05 
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger - Review: "Cat People" - Chicago Sun-Times - January 1, 1982 - Retrieved August 5, 2010
  9. ^ Variety Staff - Review: "Cat People" - Variety - January 1, 1982 - Retrieved August 5, 2010
  10. ^ Maltin, Leonard Leonard Maltin's 2014 Movie Guide Penguin Press p 226 ISBN 9780451418104  |access-date= requires |url= help
  11. ^ Interview, by Foster, with Nastassia Kinski, in Film Comment New York, September/October 1982
  12. ^ NYTimescom, Cat People - Awards
  13. ^ Giorgio Moroder "Giorgio Moroder, Giorgio Moroder - Cat People: Original Soundtrack - Amazoncom Music" Amazoncom Retrieved 2016-12-08 
  14. ^ McDonald, Steven "Cat People > Review" Allmusic Retrieved on August 26, 2009

External linksedit

  • Cat People on Internet Movie Database
  • Cat People at the TCM Movie Database
  • Cat People at Rotten Tomatoes
  • Cat People at AllMusic

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