Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cat People/Curse of the Cat People

Last night, we were sitting around, looking on Netflix. Now Netflix allows Mac users the instant watching thingy, so we were pretending we were in the old school video store, browsing all the horror movies Netflix currently offers with this feature. Most of them were either somehow affiliated with Troma or Brain Damage films (seriously, Brain Damage seemingly puts out like ten movies a week, all terrible, all forgettable, but I must give them props for being at least prolific), with the exception of Dario Argento's (made for TV?) The Card Player. So we clicked on that, watched Dario basically direct an episode of CSI, and then decided we wanted to watch something else. Cat People was just that movie and, since this movie is only an hour long, why not have a mini-marathon of sorts and watch Curse of the Cat People as well?
Cat People (the 1940's version, directed by Jacques Tourneur) isn't a bad movie. It's well shot, kinda spooky in places (the pool scene, the chase on the desolate street), and I personally really don't have any complaints with it. I actually really enjoy the underlying sexuality to it, it gives it a very noir feel. Curse of the Cat People, totally different story. 
While Curse does have the same characters reprising their roles from the first film, the premise doesn't really have much to do with the original. In this round, Oliver, is married to Alice, the woman of whom Irena (the original 'cat person' from the first film) was so jealous. They've spawned and produced Amy, a daydreaming wandering silly child, who doesn't get along well with the other children. Oliver even remarks at one point early on that Amy could be Irena's child. Alice freaks out about this, natch, because she wants to forget everything that has happened from her husband's previous marriage. Some other stuff happens, mostly people just sit around talking, I don't remember since my faculties were likely impaired by Franzia's delicious chablis that I received for Xmas, and somehow Irena presents herself in ghost-slash-snow queen-slash good witch form to Amy, and they become secret friends. I started to get a little sick of this stupid movie at this point. Where were the cat people? Where were any cats at all? Irena as a ghost was seemingly very non-threatening, she had that Glenda the Good Witch vibe going on, right down to her outfit. She was kind to Amy, a girl who felt like an outsider and needed a friend. No mention of cat people or curses of them and Amy doesn't turn into a cat or seem like she has the tendencies to do so. She's only 6 or 7, so the whole sexuality of the first doesn't play out here as far as Amy is concerned. 
And then there's the mysterious Mrs. Farron, who Amy also befriends. In her wanderings, Amy comes upon Mrs. Farrons Old Dark House and they get to chatting and Mrs. Farron gives her a ring and there is sort of a spell that goes on, maybe, and then Mrs. Farron cusses her daughter out, which is by far the best scene in the movie. She's old, has to have a cain to walk around, and she seems really nice. That is, however, until you mention the younger woman that lives in the Old Dark House along with her. She starts freaking out, She's a fraud, an imposter! I have no daughter! After she completes this tirade, she goes back to normal. Typical of 1940's overacting or just the character? Totally weird but wonderful. Mrs. Farron treats us to this melodrama a few more times before the hour and fifteen minute running time is up, and it becomes more and more peculiar. She shouts, I have no daughter! My daughter is dead to me! She died when she was six! Bahhhh! Well, the 'Bahhhh' was my addition, but it would have sounded good, trust. 
So yeah, all this stuff goes on and people are talking and it's whatever and then the movie is over. No curse, no scary stuff, not a single godddamn spooky or even atmospheric moment. No cat people, not even a real cat anywhere. I couldn't even in good conscious call this a horror movie. It's one of those horror movies that poses as a horror movie and the poster is all horror looking and stuff and then there are no thrills, no chills, no spine tingling feelings. Just some stupid girl wandering around and people referencing the sequel. Frustrating? Yep. Cat People must have made money for the studio so they churned out another one, hoping to cash in on the original concept. It's pretty obvious. 

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