Thursday, August 01, 2013

My Week of Movie Watching

Cat People and The Curse of the Cat People – First time seeing these. Cat People was a real little treat – A bargain-basement horror film that should be a primer on how to create fright on-screen. Director Jacques Tourneur had virtually no money to work with, but by expertly using light, shadow, and eerie sound effects, he managed to create a truly frightening film. The story concerns a mysterious woman (Simone Simon) who believes that she carries a curse that will turn her into a vicious panther if she becomes aroused. This, predictably, causes problems when she marries a kind, decent architect (Kent Smith).  Things get even more deadly when she begins to suspect that her husband is falling for one of his co-workers (Jane Randolph). Check out a scene where the co-worker is terrorized in a swimming pool. Although you see literally nothing, the scene builds an almost unbearable tension. Highly recommended.

Curse features the same cast playing the same characters, and is considered a sequel, but is a very different movie. This one follows the young daughter of the architect as she is approached by an imaginary “friend” (Simon again). There is also a relationship with a strange old woman and her frightening daughter (The daughter appears briefly in Cat People). This one is not bad, but it falls far short of the original, because the movie never quite manages to create any feeling of dread and unease. The film still has great visual appeal, but the characters don’t engage. Thus, I can’t quite recommend it.

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