Starring Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, Anette O’Toole, John Heard, Ed Begley Jr.
Lurid. Striking. Intoxicating.
Centuries ago, a race of cat people came into being; men and women who transformed from black leopards into humans, and roamed the Earth. As the film progresses, a descendant, the beautiful Irene (Kinski) meets her estranged brother, Paul (McDowell) in New Orleans, and gradually learns her ancestral secret. When aroused, Irene and Paul transform back into their cat form, and kill the unfortunate people around them. A remake of an influential, B-Movie classic, this film seems to be pretty divisive. It’s pulpy, bizarre, erotic material, and no doubt uninteresting to many viewers. I love it. Somehow with its surprisingly absorbing romance, elements of body horror, neo-noir mystery, and large amount of gore and nudity, the film worked for me. Much of the credit has to go to Kinski, who commands the screen in both the virginal victim and the predatory hunter aspects of her role. David Bowie’s awesome title track goes a long way to making the film work as well.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-