White Dog (1982)

Directed by Samuel Fuller [Other horror films: N/A]

There are some movies that you just know aren’t going to have happy endings, and while that doesn’t make the movie bad, it can impact your willingness to sit through it. This never bothered me that much – I still cry during the end of Titanic, and probably always will, but still find the film worth watching. White Dog is too a film worth watching, but it’s not one that I would say has much in the way of rewatchability.

Dealing with a pretty obscure topic (at least as far as my education was concerned) about dogs trained specifically to attack black people, it should go without saying that racism is very prevalent in this movie. Almost none of the on-screen characters are racist (save for one that shows up toward the end), but that a dog was “trained” (or beaten, depending on whether or not you’re a piece of trash who condones animal abuse) by a racist into a savage monster is just damn disheartening.

I don’t always like touching on racism, on a side-note. Partially, it’s due to the fact that I’m a white guy from Indiana who didn’t really know any black people until college, and it’s just not a comfortable topic for me. No doubt that comes from a place of privilege, and it’s just awful how backwards the USA still is when it comes to race. Still, it’s a necessary conversation, and I think this movie, which got some hate after it was released, does good with the topic.

The main character, played by Kristy McNichol (from Little Darlings, a movie I’ve not personally seen but my mother was a big fan of, so wanted to throw it a mention) strikes me as naive about some things, but really turns into a strong character, and when she confronts a racist man toward the end, it was great to see. Her performance here is pretty solid, especially during the first half as she’s learning to care about and love the dog.

McNichol isn’t the best performance though – that accolade goes to Paul Winfield. Though not an actor I’m that familiar with (I have seen him in both The Serpent and the Rainbow and The Horror at 37,000 Feet), Winfield does great here. I love his goal of attempting to recondition the dog in order to discourage racists from using them for their racist ends. About an hour in, he really goes out of his way to recondition this dog (even after the mild disagreement from McNichol’s character), and I love him for it, no matter how it ended.

Aside from these two, the only other person that really stands out is Burl Ives, who is a character that takes a little to get used to, but I did end up rather liking him. Dick Miller also pops up for a single scene, which was random but fun, and toward the conclusion, we get a little Parley Baer, playing a rather despicable character pretty well with the short screen-time he had.

It’s also worth noting that, while I have no problem with the horror label being thrown onto this movie, much of the violence is shown in a more dramatic and heart-breaking light. Sure, the movie is a downer by it’s subject itself, but aside from the second attack (of the street sweeper, played by Tony Brubaker), most of the kills don’t really feel like what you’d expect in a horror movie. That doesn’t downplay the horror of a humongous dog rushing someone down, but if someone went away from this finding it far more a drama, I couldn’t say I’d much blame them.

White Dog is a movie I’ve seen before, but like many of the movies I’ve seen in years past, I didn’t have a great memory of this one. It’s no doubt a well-made film, and is one that should be checked out if it sounds of interest, but it’s not a movie I think I’d go back to that often, and it’s definitely not what I’d call a fun viewing.

7/10

Humongous (1982)

Directed by Paul Lynch [Other horror films: Prom Night (1980), Mania (1986, segments ‘Have a Nice Day’ & ‘The Good Samaritan’)]

I think that in some ways, Humongous is an almost-decent movie, though there was most definitely room for improvements. Still, it does possess an okay atmosphere, and while far from great (and a step or two away from good), it may be worth checking out at least once.

Though unlikely to amaze anyone, I did find myself enjoying the setting (a secluded mansion on a secluded island) here, and for what little this movie did get down pat, I’d say the location was one of them. The story isn’t anything that hasn’t been seen before, but it was competent enough to be engrossing (though at times, I do think things are running a bit sluggish).

As far as performances go, I think that Janet Julian was pretty good. I don’t think she was amazing, but like much of what the movie does, she was competent, and that thin shirt she wore was A+ material. And speaking of A+ material, Joy Boushel looked quite cute in that pair of short shorts. Boushel’s (Terror Train, Cursed) character was a bit iffy in the beginning, but she got topless a couple of times, so I don’t have any real complaints. Both Layne Coleman and David Wysocki (Mortuary) struck me as forgettable. John Wildman was sort of interesting (in quite a dickish way), but we don’t really learn enough about him to fully get his character.

Most underutilized, though, was Janit Baldwin. When she first disappeared and popped up, that was fine and well, but she never really adds that much to the story, which I really felt was a shame, because though Julian was obviously more action-oriented, Baldwin struck me as a more interesting character. Just one of the potential issues with the film, albeit a small one compared to the largest issues.

And that first issue is the title, which I find horrendous. I mean, you expect someone to jump from movies like The Burning, Happy Birthday to Me, and Iced to a movie called Humongous? I just find the name hideous, but whateves. What was also lacking was lighting – so many of the scenes throughout the film are a bit too dark, and because of that, I felt the finale was lacking a real punch in regards to the reveal of the titular hulking monster.

There’s also a dearth of quality kills. I mean, a couple toward the end were okay (one individual gets their head squeezed, and another gets a snapped back from a too-eager bear hug), but neither were great, and more importantly, the ones beforehand were almost laughably bare-bones (though I do admit that it lead to a somewhat amusing gag cut).

Lastly, the way that the final girl attempted to head off the antagonist’s threat was to dress up as his mother and scold him. And if that sounds familiar, well, there’s a reason for that. Now, that’s not the end of things, as there’s a decent finale in a boat-house, and in fact, the scene itself in which she’s pretending to be his mother was moderately tense, but even so, it felt sort of funny given that this came out just a year later.

Humongous isn’t a bad movie, or at least it’s not a movie that’s without charm. I definitely think a couple of things could have been done better, such as lighting or character motivation (I still don’t entirely get Wildman’s character, which is a shame, as he’s basically the reason why these characters were in this situation to begin with), not to mention the somewhat disappointing kills, but it’s still a movie that has a little going for it (such as the opening in which a rapist is torn apart by dogs, which I can wholly support). Check it out if you’re a fan of 80’s horror – worst case scenario, I led you astray and made you hate your life a little.

6/10

Poltergeist (1982)

Directed by Tobe Hooper [Other horror films: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Eaten Alive (1976), The Dark (1979), Salem’s Lot (1979), The Funhouse (1981), Lifeforce (1985), Invaders from Mars (1986), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), Spontaneous Combustion (1990), I’m Dangerous Tonight (1990), Night Terrors (1993), Body Bags (1993, segment ‘Eye’), The Mangler (1995), Crocodile (2000), Shadow Realm (2002), Toolbox Murders (2004), Mortuary (2005), Djinn (2013)]

Very much a classic of the genre, Poltergeist isn’t my go-to when it comes to horror, but it’s a fantastic film that has a lot going for, and well-worth a look if, for whatever reason, it’s gone under your radar.

Honestly, there’s very little that I could say about this film that hasn’t been said already. Along with such films as Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Alien, and Iced, this is one of those horror films that has reached such a mainstream status that virtually everyone who has existed has likely heard of the film.

The cast is pretty solid. While I’m not deeply moved by Heather O’Rourke’s performance (don’t take it personal – very few child performers impress me), much of the central cast is fantastic, from Craig T. Nelson to JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight to Zelda Rubinstein (Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and Anguish), though I have to say, she did a shitty job cleaning that house.

While not particularly a large part of the story, I did enjoy Dominique Dunne in the film. As many know, she was killed in late 1982, and this was her only feature film. Though far from any focus, it was nice having an older kid in the house, and I think it’s a shame that, while giving a solid performance, she wasn’t used that often (though certainly, one can understand her character’s desire to get out of the house).

The special effects were generally solid, but there were a few scenes that just didn’t look great, such as the first time we see things flying around the room (and while sort of funny, that scene just struck me as too playful, too whimsical), or the delusion Martin Casella’s character has. Certainly the latter was decently violent (and really, about the only violence in the whole of the film), but boy, it looked a bit on the fake side.

Despite that, most of the movie provides a fun time. We never really know too much about exactly why this is going on (sure, they moved the tombstones but left the bodies, but why not strike out before this?), but it doesn’t really take anything away, especially given how great some of these sequences are.

As decent as the clown scene toward the end is, I personally have to rank the night of Carol Anne’s abduction higher. You have a tree attacking a kid, a horrendous storm (which included a charming tornado), and general chaos. The finale was great too, with skeletons and tombs popping out of everywhere, with that pool scene in specific a highlight. Hell, even that early table scene is A+. When this film went all out, it certainly went all out.

It is accurate to say that some of the movie felt more whimsical than I’d maybe hope for, such as Rubinstein’s “You’re right. You go” line. Other scenes felt more on the fantasy realm than they did horror, but given Steven Spielberg’s involvement, I think that can be expected, if not condoned.

Also, on a small side-note, I do love the parents in this film. Though firmly in the middle class, they have time to enjoy the pleasures life has to offer, and I’d definitely smoke some joints with them, as they seem a chill couple.

Regardless of the small flaws the film has, Poltergeist is a very solid film for plenty of good reasons. It’s not my usual jam, as the kidz say, but it’s a movie I’ve always enjoyed, and despite almost being two hours, it’s always worth the watch.

9/10

The Entity (1982)

Directed by Sidney J. Furie [Other horror films: Doctor Blood’s Coffin (1961), The Snake Woman (1961)]

The Entity is a decently strong film with somewhat harrowing subject matter, and while I think a case could be made that it runs a tad long, it may well be worth a look.

Based on a novel by Frank De Litta from 1978, I’ve seen this one once before, at least eight years ago (at the time of this writing), and I think my views are pretty consistent. The special effects are impressive when they pop up (Stan Winston’s involvement may have something to do with that), the story has its strong moments, and some scenes have fantastic suspense.

On the flip-side, it’s probably longer than it needs to be (at two hours and five minutes, it’s not a quick walk through the park), but for the most part, I think the content awards it if you can deal with it’s run-time.

Barbara Hershey (who pops up quite some time later in the Insidious series) does fantastically as the central character, and the scenes in which she’s raped are actually somewhat hard to watch. Though little is ever shown, save a specific scene or two, the performance is so real that it feels legitimately uncomfortable. I don’t know Hershey from many other things, and aside from the aforementioned Insidious, she hasn’t really been in many horror films, but her performance here is top-notch.

Most interesting to me was Ron Silver. Firstly, his character was entirely wrong about the situation that Hershey’s character was going through throughout the whole film, and yet he’s arguably one of the few who legitimately cares for her (though, I think, to the detriment of her mental well-being). On Silver himself, though, ever since I finally watched through all of The West Wing (a show in which Silver occasionally pops up on), I’ve been intrigued when I see him in other places, such as the made-for-television horror Shadow Zone: The Undead Express. His performance here is the best I’ve seen, and it’s quite riveting stuff, especially since his character is quite interesting.

No others really stood out all that much. I liked Margaret Blye, and how her character was one of the first to really believe what Hershey was going through. As much as I wished otherwise, neither of the parapsychologists stood out that well, though their superior, played by Jacqueline Brookes, wasn’t too shabby. Also, though not that relevant to the story, Alex Rocco (Moe Greene in The Godfather) randomly popping up was interesting.

The story does get a bit iffy around the hour and twenty minute mark – it’s around this time that the central character has parapsychology students swarming her house, and seems more invested in getting evidence of the entity on camera or pictures as opposed to her own well-being (though I don’t doubt that validation too would be helpful). It does lead to a somewhat interesting debate, though, between the harder sciences of psychology versus the pseudo-science of parapsychology, and those debates are always fun.

I don’t think The Entity is a great movie because elements of the conclusion could have been tightened up a little (I like much of the mock-house experiment, but I wanted more out of it), but it is a decent movie, and if supernatural phenomena is your thing, and you’ve not seen this movie, treat yourself.

7.5/10

A Stranger Is Watching (1982)

Directed by Sean S. Cunningham [Other horror films: Case of the Full Moon Murder (1973), Friday the 13th (1980), The New Kids (1985), DeepStar Six (1989), XCU: Extreme Close Up (2001), Trapped Ashes (2006, segment ‘Jibaku’)]

Perhaps most-known (when it’s known at all) for being directed by Sean S. Cunningham (DeepStar Six and more famously Friday the 13th), A Stranger Is Watching isn’t the easiest movie to categorize. It’s primarily crime, but certainly strong slasher elements persist, and while the film doesn’t end up a great movie, there’s enough here to at least recommend a single watch.

It should be said that this film is not your traditional horror movie. I think that some people see it’s directed by Cunningham, and get the idea that it’ll be another 80’s slasher. And let’s not be coy – when I say ‘people,’ I mean myself. It’s based on a novel by Mary Higgins Clark from 1977, though, and as someone who’s read a little bit of her work, once you realize it’s based on a novel, you’ll know it’s probably more influenced by mystery/crime.

Rip Torn (Dolly Dearest and Coma) did pretty great as the rather mentally-unstable killer here. He had that grimy style (which was certainly accentuated by the fantastic setting, which I’ll touch on shortly) that you have to appreciate, and a good sense of violence. This is a somewhat early role for Kate Mulgrew (who I don’t know, but see starred in Star Trek: Voyager, for any Trekkies who happen to be reading), and I thought she did a solid job, and her opposition to the death penalty was acceptable also.

And it’s on that topic I wanted to take a few moments. Part of this film deals with a potentially innocent man being sent to death based on a single witness, and I think that points out just how atrocious the death penalty is. Aside from being barbaric for a state to sentence someone to death, the very idea that an innocent person could be killed because they’re poor (because let’s be honest – how many wealthy men and women have been put to death in the USA?) shows what a terrible policy it is. Unfortunately, it’s a terrible policy that has always had over 50% approval in recent decades, which is just ridiculous.

I don’t know what Cunningham was aiming for specifically when he threw in this plot point about the death penalty (and it’s possible it’s a point straight from the novel), and it may be that he shared some of the same reservations as I do, but regardless, it did bring in a more realistic and socially-relevant subject into the film, which I appreciated.

What I also appreciated was the fact this movie wasn’t quite typical, as I mentioned earlier. As stated, while certainly horror, quite a bit of this felt like a crime film, a beautifully gritty one, at that. Once two of the characters are abducted, there’s a few sequences of them trying to escape, and while occasionally horror elements find their way into these scenes, it mostly feels more suspenseful with, of course, a dash of crime.

A Stranger Is Watching wasn’t a bad watch. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it wasn’t bad. At the same time, I can understand why I don’t really hear too much about this one, and if it had been more of a straight horror film as opposed to a crime film with strong horror elements, that may not have been the case. Still, it’s not bad if you want something a little different, or want to see what Cunningham was up to following the massively popular Friday the 13th.

7.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss A Stranger Is Watching.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace [Other horror films: Fright Night Part 2 (1988), It (1990), Danger Island (1992), Vampires: Los Muertos (2002)]

There seems to primarily be two vocal camps about this film – one camp finds it a pretty enjoyable film, the other camp despises it for multiple reasons (from no Michael Myers to a silly story). Far be it for me to say that film is perfect, as it’s not, but I find myself firmly in the first camp, and Season of the Witch is a definite favorite of mine when it comes to Halloween-themed movies.

Plenty of reasons exist for this. I find the cast pretty solid, the story (though somewhat undercooked at certain parts) intriguing, the mystery and setting pretty fun, and that finale is literally excellent in every way.

Tom Atkins (of The Fog and Night of the Creeps) isn’t the most likable lead I’ve ever seen in a movie, but he does a good job at coming across as your every-day average man. Stacey Nelkin was cute in her role, and sort of fun, but ultimately not all that crucial. I think that Dan O’Herlihy was great, though, in his role of Cochran, and I sort of loved how Santa Mira treated him as a God – it made his character even more fun.

While the special effects were occasionally questionable, I do think the effect of the masks, what with the insects and snakes, is damn terrifying, and that first test sequence is fantastic, and given the conclusion of the film, you can only wonder exactly how many more slithery bois are now exploring their new lands. Also, while sort of hokey, I liked the electrical storm those computer chips caused near the finale.

The detective work that Atkins and Nelkin do isn’t anything special, but it was fun, if not a bit obvious. Their connection was never really the deepest, but watching them sleuth around a company-ran town, complete with over-surveillance and patrols, not to mention a curfew, really possessed a quality aura.

And as I said, I find the ending spectacular. While the whole android thing was 50/50 (I sort of like how it was partially down-played, and not necessarily obvious at first), the final couple of minutes was amazing. I loved the shots of children trick ‘r treating about an hour and ten minutes in (showing just how wide-spread Silver Shamrock’s reach is, along with showing that they even have vans with loudspeakers reminding kids to get home), and in particular, that Phoenix, Arizona shot, with the silhouettes, just looks amazing.

Silver Shamrock’s commercials have an incredibly catchy jingle, even catchier than The Stuff’s (Can’t get enough OF THE STUFF!), and I just love their brand. I’m not so sure of the pagan rituals and ancient Celtic rites, but with a jingle that catchy, how could they be wrong?

I get it – there’s no Michael Myers in the movie, and this is definitely not a slasher. As a huge fan of the first two movies, I can understand the disappointment. Still, I think this movie has a lot going for it, and were it not connected to the Halloween series, a big part of me says that this would be a bit more respected (though I am seeing more positive views nowadays than I did even five years ago, so it’s a start).

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is not flawless, but it is fantastic in many ways, and I utterly adore it and all of it’s Celtic, pagan joy.

8.5/10

Trick or Treats (1982)

Directed by Gary Graver [Other horror films: The Attic (1980), Moon in Scorpio (1987), Evil Spirits (1990)]

I didn’t much care for this one the first time I saw it, primarily because I thought things were happening way, way too slowly. That hasn’t changed with a revisit, and I have to admit that, despite having potential (I mean, it’s a slasher based around Halloween from the early 80’s, how could it go wrong?), this is an entirely lackluster movie.

So how slow is the film? From my viewpoint, we don’t really see any actual dangerous horror situations until about an hour and ten minutes in. Keep in mind that the film overall is just an hour and a half, so we really only get about twenty minutes of horror, and none of it is really worth all that much, including the ending, which was just ridiculous and included only for what I guess would be shock value.

Before that, we get to watch a babysitter become frustrated with the boy she’s babysitting. And – that’s it. Well, we do get to see the deranged Malcolm, played by Peter Jason, break out of a psychiatric hospital, but he was played far too goofy to possess any type of threatening aura. He also dresses up as a woman for half the film, and yet apparently no one, from cops to homeless people, can tell that he’s a man. Certainly it’s possible that, if done well, these more comedic moments might contrast nicely with the chaos that the babysitter is facing, but she’s not facing anything so exciting, just a dick who likes playing pranks.

I can’t lie and say that the kid, played by Chris Graver (who is the son of the director), didn’t annoy me, because he most certainly did throughout the film, but even if the kid had been marginally more likable, Trick or Treats still wouldn’t have been a good movie. Hell, even if the ending was foreshadowed in some way, it still would have felt as dry as it did. Sure, Jacqueline Giroux did okay, and it was sort of nice seeing David Carradine for a few scenes, but none of it amounts to much when most of the story is just filler.

Trick or Treats isn’t a movie without any enjoyment to be had, but it’s far and few between. I didn’t care for this film when I first saw it, and I really don’t think there’s a huge reason to go out of your way to see this one. You might have an okay time with it, but more likely than not, you’ll just wish you watched They Don’t Cut the Grass Anymore again.

5.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Trick or Treats.

Visiting Hours (1982)

Directed by Jean-Claude Lord [Other horror films: The Vindicator (1986), Summer House (2008)]

I’ve seen this perhaps three times now, and I could swear that I enjoyed this a decent amount the last time I saw it. I still think it’s an okay slasher movie, but boy, this isn’t the forgotten B-flick I remember it being.

Hospital-based slashers always interested me, mainly because I just find the idea of a killer chasing someone around a brightly-lit (or rather dimly-lit, depending on the realism) place of healing rather amusing. Halloween II is of course the best one, but Hospital Massacre (also known as X-Ray, which, on a side-note, is a God-awful title) has a little charm too. I enjoy the chase scenes in this film toward the end, but a lot of the time, Visiting Hours just sorta drags.

The cast is solid, for what it’s worth. Sure, William Shatner was pretty much a waste (I think the best horror film I’ve seen him in was Kingdom of the Spiders, and that wasn’t even good because of him), but star Lee Grant was decent, and Linda Purl too. Michael Ironside (Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II) probably made the best impression, as a woman-hating psychopath. He certainly had persistence, I’ll give him that.

Overall, Visiting Hours’ story is okay, but it takes side-tracks that don’t really do it for me (such as Ironside’s character beating up a woman but not killing her, or going after Purl’s character). I enjoyed seeing Ironside’s mostly-silent killer try to outmaneuver the police to finish off his victim, but the extra stuff felt more like filler to me than anything else.

I have no objections to the kills, though I don’t think any particularly stood out. The setting, as I sort of alluded to, is on point, and I think the final twenty minutes are perhaps my favorite in the film (along with the opening attack). Also, I like the little snippets of the killer’s past that show why he’s enraged with strong women who stand up to abusive men (some context: Lee Grant’s character is an outspoken feminist journalist), which made the film slightly more interesting.

In the end, though, Visiting Hours is just okay, and a moderately-below average slasher that does some things well, but might lean toward the tedious side (and it doesn’t at all help that the movie’s an hour and 45 minutes). It’s still worth a watch, but it’s not near as good as I recalled it being.

6/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Visiting Hours.

Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Directed by Steve Miner [Other horror films: Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), House (1985), Warlock (1989), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Lake Placid (1999), Day of the Dead (2008)]

Following the first two great movies, the third film in this franchise, while still solid, doesn’t stand out quite as much, leaving us with few characters to really remember and maybe just a handful of actually memorable kills.

Throwing Jason a hockey mask halfway through the film, giving him his most classic look, was a nice touch (though I do sort of miss Part 2 Jason), as was starting the film off with the final minutes of the second film, but much of this film just does what you’d expect from a Friday the 13th movie, and like I said, I don’t think it really stands out near as well.

Chris, played by Dana Kimmell, was a decent lead (though nowhere near as good as Amy Steel’s Ginny), though her whole flashback story just felt out of place. So once, after an argument with her parents, she runs out into the woods, runs into Jason, fights him a bit, blacks out, and Jason doesn’t kill her?

Actually, somewhat interesting fact here: Jason is never once referenced by name, so whether or not these people even know this is Jason is in question. Because of this, the fact that Chris has a dream-like experience with Jason’s mother at the end leads me to think that it more likely than not actually happened.

Regardless, the whole “I met this creepy, disfigured guy before, and now he’s killing my friends because he didn’t kill me when he had a perfect chance” thing always felt really, really off to me, especially because Jason seems to realize it’s the same girl (that scene where he pulls his mask down to show her his face displays that). The whole thing’s odd.

I also wish that Vera (Catherine Parks) had more of a role in this one. She doesn’t really amount to much, but I sort of wonder if she wouldn’t have been a better final girl than Kimmell, if for nothing else to throw the audience a loop. Otherwise, aside from Shelly (played by Larry Zerner, himself a shadow of Mark Nelson’s goofball Ned from the first movie), who else here really stands out? Paul Kratka? Nick Savage? As far as memorable characters go, these people are pretty weak.

The kills aren’t that bad, though. I mean, like I said, I don’t think that many stand out, but all of them are pretty serviceable. I liked that upside-down machete slash, along with the pitchfork scene, the harpoon gun, and the guy getting his hand cut off. Heck, the knife going through someone’s throat was solid also. Still, compared to the first two movies, I don’t think there’s too many stand-out deaths here.

Finale-wise was somewhat interesting too, actually. Instead of a rather chaotic rainstorm, we’re instead treated to strong winds. I don’t like it quite as much, but the scene with Chris running into the cabin and trying to seal the wind-swept windows was decently compelling. The fight in the barn was decent, and it was fun seeing Jason sent over the edge of the barn, but the first films certainly have more memorable finales.

Of the first four movies, Part III is probably the weakest. It’s not helped by the gimmicky 3-D (and to be fair, while I started watching the 3-D version on my DVD copy, I switched to the 2-D version before too long), but what hurts it more is the utterly unremarkable characters and kills. It’s still a solid slasher, and I still, if for no reason other than nostalgia, find it above average, but I definitely think the first, second, and fourth movies are better.

7.5/10

This film has also been covered by Fight Evil’s podcast – listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this on in detail beyond imagination.

Cat People (1982)

Directed by Paul Schrader [Other horror films: Witch Hunt (1994), Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)]

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Cat People, which I saw somewhat recently for the first time, but I honestly thought this was a bit worse. I get that some of the special effects are solid, and there’s some great nudity here, but it’s an almost two-hour film, and boy, did I think it dragged at times.

As far as the cast went, I liked most of them. Nastassja Kinski was pretty cute, and did well as the star. Annette O’Toole (who surprised me turning up here, as I know her only from 1990’s It) was also cute, and as both Kinski and O’Toole have topless scenes (though unfortunately not at the same time), you’d think the movie would get a 10. Alas, that’s not the case.

Malcolm McDowell (who I barely even recognized, but was much later in the Halloween remake, not to mention Silent Night) didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t care much at all for his character, and to me, he was one of the low points of the movie. Ed Begley Jr. is a big name, but I know him only from a single episode of The West Wing, along with a short role in Better Call Saul. Here, he was okay, but much like McDowell, I didn’t much care for his character.

It’s not just a handful of characters, though, that was the problem. The story overall leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Kinski did a great job as playing a sympathetic character, but her story arc ends in a way that I really didn’t like. I didn’t love the original, like I said, but even that was a bit more satisfactory than this was.

About the pool scene, on a side-note. I do think the original movie did the sequence better, but, and this is a big but, the original didn’t have a topless O’Toole, so as classic as it was, this might just edge it out insofar as rewatchability goes, amiright?

To be honest, I just found Cat People a generally dull remake. The movie isn’t terrible, but it wasn’t my type of thing, and while it had some solid nudity, which I can’t overstate, that doesn’t make up for the fact that I didn’t care for the story, which is the fatal problem here.

5/10