Pop Culture 101: CAT PEOPLE
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This classic horror film was remade in 1982--also called Cat People. Directed by Paul Schrader, it starred Malcolm McDowell, Annette O'Toole, John Heard and Nastassja Kinski as Irena.
Cat People performed so well at the box office that RKO ordered Val Lewton to create a sequel called The Curse of the Cat People, which was released in 1944. It starred the same principals from the original: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, and Jane Randolph.
Cat People has remained a classic in the horror genre because it tapped into the fears of the mind, conjuring up monsters that were much more frightening when left to the imagination. The skilled and stylish subtlety with which Lewton generated horror left a lasting impact on the genre and influenced filmmakers for years to come.
Supernatural and horror films featuring cats prominently in the storyline are not uncommon in the genre and some of the more famous examples include The Catman of Paris (1946), Cat Girl (1957), The Shadow of the Cat (1961) - both of the former two starring Barbara Shelley, Eye of the Cat (1969), the 1973 made-for-TV thriller The Cat Creature, directed by Curtis Harrington, and Stephen King's Sleepwalkers (1992) to name a few.
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