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Cat People (1982)

With little more than the title in common with Val Lewton's 1942 classic, Paul Schrader's 1982 Cat People stars Nastassja Kinski as a young woman arriving in New Orleans to meet her long-lost older brother (Malcolm McDowell) but instead discovers a dark family history. Ironically, when faced with making a horror film, Schrader has fashioned a lush romance far less frightening than his realist works. As a simple tale of forbidden lust,Cat People has a brooding appeal — although a taste for early-'80s pastel-toned art direction and Giorgio Moroder's pulsing synthesizer may be required to enjoy it. Kinski is luminous at times, and McDowell plays his arch role with his usual camp villainry. John Heard, too, is good as Irena's solid suitor, as is Annette O'Toole as Irena's unexotic rival for Oliver's affection. Universal presents Cat People in a clean anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) and Dolby 2.0 Surround. Accompanying the feature is a commentary by Schrader, and five featurettes looking at the director, the film's makeup, its matte paintings, and the influence of Lewton's classic '42 predecessor. Trailer, keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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