Writer/director Paul Schrader has always dealt with the line between sex and violence and how they cross. So who better to remake the 1942 sexually charged CAT PEOPLE? Basing the film on DeWitt Bodeen’s original book, adapted by Alan Ormsby, Schrader makes some interesting changes from the original film version, making the resulting film more visceral and a bit more daring thematically.
Irena Gallier (Nastassja Kinski, PARIS, TEXAS) was raised an orphan. She is finally found by her brother Paul (Malcolm McDowell, CLOCKWORK ORANGE), who invites her to come live with him in New Orleans. Right from the start, we see that Paul has an unhealthy attraction to his sister. Turns out they are descendents of the cat people, who transform into cats when they have sex with non-cat people and can only turn back after they have killed. When a prostitute is found murdered and Paul in the form of a black leopard is locked in the hotel room, animal control officers Oliver Yates (John Heard, BIG), Alice Perrin (Annette O’Toole, TV’s SMALLVILLE) and Joe Creigh (Ed Begley Jr., BEST IN SHOW) are called in. As Irena starts to believe that her brother is the leopard and that she may be one too, she begins a romance with Oliver, who used to be Alice’s lover. As Irena gets closer to Oliver and learns more about her past, the more frightened she gets.