dir. jacques tourneur
Cat People should be remembered not as a great film (because truthfully it is not) but rather one of those “landmark” films tucked away in a footnote in a film history textbook. I’m not trying to be mean. It was just very disappointing and I’m very tired.
I tend to prefer my horror films as being more “imagined” than “shown”; that is, I’ll take Blair Witch over Saw because my mind can conjure up worse things being done to another person than could probably be shown on screen with any subtlety. This trope was born with Cat People, where it is only implied that the main character Irena can turn into a cat, based on stories of her ancestors that contribute to her present day fears and insecurities. We never see it, though it’s expected that we might, and it’s here where the film becomes suspenseful (in particular a stalking scene that gave birth to the popular Lewton Bus trope) just as Blair Witch does. However, Blair Witch never seems like a let down to me, and Cat People was just boring.
“You can fool everybody, but laudie dearie me, you can’t fool a cat. They seem to know who’s not right.”
Criterion Spine #833