Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cat People



In 1982, there were a couple of movies I loved so much, I went to see them again and again. Cat People was one of them.

Now, Cat People is kind of a hard film to admit you love. I can understand seeing it and laughing at its cheesiness and complete implausibility; you either go along with it, and view it as a sort of adult fairy tale, or you don't. And if you don't, I get it, believe me.

But I did go along with it, and still do. Sure, watching it in recent years I am a little less able to look past its flaws, but I still find it extremely watchable, and will still willfully admit to loving it.

Since this is a movie I ended up seeing several more times over the course of the year, I think I'll break up my thoughts on it into several different posts. I also have a lot of ephemera related to the movie that I'll have to try and dig up, and hope to post that stuff too. So for today, I'll talk about the experience of seeing it for the first time.

On Saturday, April 3rd, 1982, my parents and I ventured out to the Plaza 1&2 Theater, which was by Serramonte in Colma. Even though it was a two-screen theater, it was pretty big, and had a parking lot, which was always an added bonus on a weekend. I'm pretty sure the theater wasn't very crowded, despite the movie being released the day before, (it wasn't exactly a blockbuster), but I do remember there were two women sitting behind us who had a lot to say about Annette O'Toole's naked breasts during the movie's swimming pool scene.

So, initial thoughts first: I knew I liked Nastassja (then "Nastassia") Kinski after seeing her in One From the Heart the month before, and she was just as watchable in Cat People. Indeed, I can't imagine anyone else doing the role justice; the character of Irena has to feel almost other-worldly; you can't place where she's from, but she certainly doesn't look or sound like someone you'd meet in every day life.

Pair an actress I already knew I liked, with a genre, horror, that I was a long-standing fan of, and you've got something twelve-year-old me was almost guaranteed to love. Set the thing in New Orleans--a city I had, at that point, not been to, but held fascination for me because of family ties to the area--and bingo; I was hooked to the point of near obsession.

I'll get into some other possible explanations for loving it so much in future posts. I will say that the purchasing of things related to the movie began right after we left the theater, as we drove to a record store on Geary Street and bought the theme song single by David Bowie. (I believe the actual soundtrack LP, which I would also end up buying, hadn't been released yet.) You gotta love a song that has leopard roars in the mix!

I added quite a few newspaper ads and reviews to my "Genre Book," so let's end this with a look at those. (As always, click the images to see larger versions.) In May, I'll more to say about the movie, so stay tuned!


Here's the first part of a review from the East Bay Express...


You can read the rest of the review here, along with some other shorter pieces and listings, including another from Trashola.


This is an interview with director Paul Schrader from BAM Magazine (remember that?!). I'll have to put it in here in four parts since the original clipping is pretty large...






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