Cat’s Eye

Is it true that a cat has nine lives, or is it rather that they are masters of self-preservation, judging when to run and when to fight, able to jump, climb and claw their way to safety, defying gravity and leaving enemies twice their size surprised in their wake? Certainly they do not allow themselves to so easily wander into danger as humans as evidenced in a trilogy of tales from the pen of Stephen King as seen from the point of view of the cat’s eye.

In New York City, businessman Dick Morrison is attempting to give up smoking with the overzealous help of Quitters, Inc who boast that they offer “the final solution,” a radical programme of aversion therapy in which all the family play a part; then, in Atlantic City, former professional tennis player Johnny Norris attempts to flee the city with the girlfriend of ruthless crime boss Mister Cressner who kidnaps him and at gunpoint forces him to accept a wager; finally, in Wilmington, young Amanda is tortured at night by the “troll in the wall” which steals her breath.

Released in 1985 and directed by Lewis Teague who had previously worked on Cujo, adapted from the novel by Stephen King, the first two segments of Cat’s Eye were adapted from King from short stories collected in Night Shift, Quitters, Inc and The Ledge, while General was conceived specifically for the film, the travelling cat who links the segments finally taking the lead role as he settles down to protect Amanda (Firestarter‘s Drew Barrymore) and given a name.

The Ledge originally published in an issue of Penthouse which is actually seen in that segment, thumbed through by Dune’s brilliant Kenneth McMillan, cruel and without a shred of empathy as he tortures Airplane!’s Robert Hays, references to other King works are present throughout, a rabid St Bernard pursuing the cat in front of a red Plymouth Fury (whose licence plate makes further reference to co-producer Milton Subotsky), a character reads Pet Sematary in bed while in another scene The Dead Zone plays on the television.

Played as much for comedy as horror and thrills between the paranoid and nicotine-deprived James Woods jumping at his own reflection as high as a cat in an electrified cage, though not as garishly comic-book oriented the closest comparison to Cat’s Eye would be the other King scripted anthology film of the period, George A Romero’s Creepshow, each of the stories is told efficiently, ending exactly when and how they should.

Scanned in 4K from the original negative for StudioCanal, the resolution showcasing Carlo Rambaldi’s animatronic troll but also making the cyclorama skyline apparent, Cat’s Eye is supported by a commentary and interview with Teague who describes the prologue excised as the studio felt it was over the top (“Have you seen the rest of the film?”), Hays gives an extensive interview covering his time balanced on The Ledge and animal trainer Teresa Ann Miller discusses the different method of coaxing dogs and cats to perform, though as with most actors patience and repetition are key.

Cat’s Eye will be released on Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and DIgital by StudioCanal on Monday 23rd May



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