Cat’s Eye (1985)

Directed by Lewis Teague [Other horror films: Alligator (1980), Cujo (1983), The Triangle (2001)]

This is either the second or third time I’ve seen this King-based anthology, and I’m not any more fond of it now than I was the first time I saw it. Cat’s Eye isn’t without promise, and I appreciate they decided to adapt some of King’s lesser known stories, but the movie is too comedic for me to really fully care for.

The first two stories here (all connected, as the title implies, by being witnessed by a cat) are based off short stories written by Stephen King, “Quitters, Inc.” and “The Ledge,” both published in King’s first collection of stories, Night Shift (a copy of which I’ve owned for years, and as such, it’s quite threadbare, really on it’s last legs). If you’ve read early Stephen King, you know that his writing style, especially in his short stories, can come across as clinical, very matter-of-fact. Not dry, but almost reminiscence of 70’s horror – bleak and without much in the way of hope.

Cat’s Eye throws that out the window and instead brings a lot of comedic influences into both of these stories. For ‘Quitters, Inc.,” we get an utterly ridiculous hallucination sequence with cigarettes (and quality singing from Alan King’s character), and for “The Ledge,” Kenneth McMillan’s Cressner is a lot goofier, almost a spoof of a classic mob boss.

It’s also worth mentioning that the conclusion of “The Ledge” was far better in the short story than it was in this adaptation, and that’s even discounting the dodgy special effects.

My disappointment with how they choose to adapt these stories notwithstanding, I think most of the main cast was okay. Not great – no one here really stands out exceptionally well, aside from maybe, and I say maybe, Alan King – but passable. James Woods (Videodrome) was a bit dicey, but likely did the best with the role he had. Robert Hays felt a bit uninspired as the lead in “The Ledge,” and Kenneth McMillan had potential. I was sort of surprised to see a young James Rebhorn (The Game and Independence Day), but his character didn’t really do anything, so it doesn’t really warrant this mention.

The third story, about a girl and her troubles with one trolly boi, wasn’t based off a King short story. As far as the special effects went, especially concerning the troll, it was probably the best of the three, but I also felt that it really went on too long. Candy Clark was pretty decent as a somewhat hateable mother, and Drew Barrymore (previously in Firestarter) was okay, but I didn’t care for the story.

Honestly, that sums this up. We get three stories here spanning an hour and a half, and while I like the source material for the first two, I just didn’t enjoy how they brought them to the silver screen. Also, while some might find such references cute, the opening which winked at both Cujo and Christine made me groan. It just felt forced, similar to the reference of Pinhead in Bride of Chucky.

Cat’s Eye has it’s place, and the movie certainly has it’s fans, but I can’t say I’ve ever been one, and I doubt the style they go for here will ever really work for me.


Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

2 thoughts on “Cat’s Eye (1985)”

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