HCF may be one of the newest voices on the web for all things Horror and Cult, and while our aim is to bring you our best opinion of all the new and strange that hits the market, we still cannot forget about our old loves, the films that made us want to create the website to spread the word. So, now and again our official critics at the HCF headquarters have an urge to throw aside their new required copies of the week and dust down their old collection and bring them to the fore…. our aim, to make sure that you may have not missed the films that should be stood proud in your collection.
Running Time: 93 mins
Reviewed by: David Gillespie – Official HCF Artist
The rule seems to be that for ever successful Stephen King adaptation to the big screen (The Shawshank Redemption) there has to be countless abominations of nature (Graveyard Shift, Silver Bullet, Sleepwalkers, Dreamcatcher, Maximum Overdrive). Cat’s Eye is a fun collection of short horror similar to King’s earlier offering, Creepshow.
Cat’s Eye begins with a resourceful cat called General being approached for help by a 10 year old girl called Amanda (Drew Barrymore). She pleads that there is something living in her bedroom wall that is threatening her life. General begins the long journey from New York to Wilmington, NC to aid the young girl. However during his travels he will encounter two evil men, Vinnie Donatti (Alan King) and Cressner (Robert McMillan).
Alan King plays Vinnie Donatti, the founder of a Quitters, Inc, who offer a revolutionary new method of helping professionals quit their smoking habit. A family man called Dick (James Woods) takes the advice of a work colleague and enlists the help of Donatti’s firm. However he realises he may have bitten off more than he can chew when Quitters, Inc turns out to be run by the mafia with unorthodox methods of stopping the urge, including torturing Dick’s wife and child for every cigarette smoked. Donatti warns him, ‘you’ll never see all of us, all of the time’. When the family man inadvertently starts puffing when sat in a traffic jam, he soon realises that the gangster is a man of his word.
Robert Hays plays a ageing professional tennis player who soon regrets an affair with the wife of a crime boss called Cressner (Kenneth McMillan on fine form). The older man frames his wife’s lover for drug offences but offers him the opportunity to clear his name, leave with his wife and a stack of cash if he agrees to walk around the outside periphery of the penthouse flat. This proves to be an arduous task with the crazy crime boss, greasy ledges, neon signs and sadistic pigeons standing in his way.
The final story has the heroic moggie arrive at Amanda’s side just in time to thwart an evil troll’s attempts to steal the child’s breath. However when Amanda’s bitchy mother sends General off to the local vets for early retirement, it seems as if the young girl is defenceless against the troll.
Cat’s Eye proves to be one of the best of the horror anthologies to be released during the 1980’s. Where as Twilight Zone The Movie and Creepshow had one or two turkeys lurking within their running time, this Stephen King adaptation is fairly consistent throughout. Only the final chapter’s dated special effects let down an otherwise impressive trio of tales. The Ledge is probably the most thrilling of the segments with one particularly satisfying sequence involving Robert Hays being tormented by the pigeon from hell. The tale also concludes in a gloriously bad spirited but hilarious situation.
The performances are all solid. Drew Barrymore is great as the child in distress and James Woods is at his twitchy best as the nicotine addict. Fans of Stephen King’s work will also appreciate the numerous references to his famous work sprinkled throughout the stories.