Made between his milestones American Gigolo and Mishima, Paul Schrader’s Cat People is a blend of the more commercially minded concerns of the former and the stylistically experimental features of the latter. Like The Thing, its Universal stablemate from 1982, Schrader’s film is a very loose remake of a beloved thriller, and one that’s only become more interesting with age.
Paced more like a mood-focused art film than overt scare-fest, it’s so imbued with Schrader’s key themes in his directing and screenwriting work (sex, obsession, violent destinies, and Bresson nods) that it almost feels like an artist mythologising his own hang-ups through the framework of fantasy fiction.
Goofy at times and structurally questionable (the electric Nastassja Kinski’s full plight of being a leopard lady isn't explained until nearly 90 minutes in), Cat People, an icy art-horror that opens with what’s aesthetically a 2001 homage scored by Giorgio Moroder, nonetheless has a hypnotising quality. [Josh Slater-Williams]