Irena (Nastassja Kinski - 'Tess') is a beautiful young woman who shares a terrifying secret with her brother (Malcolm McDowell - 'A Clockwork Orange') - when sexually aroused she transforms into a panther.
When Irena falls in love for the first time, her secret threatens the relationship. Can she bring herself to tell her new-found love that she is one of the Cat People?
The director Paul Schrader, a long time Martin Scorsese collaborator (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation Of Christ) & director of , amongst others, American Gigolo, brought a similar kind of sexual chic to this explicit horror movie. A remake of the beautiful, haunting 1942 Cat People, this version takes off from the same idea: that a woman , Irena, a member of a race of feline humans, will revert to her animalistic self when she has sex.
Arriving to meet her brother in New Orleans, she finds herself disturbed by his sexual presence. A zoo curator (John Heard) becomes fascinated by her, but he will discover that her kittenish ways are just the tip of the claw.
Schrader dresses the story up in a stylish, glossy production, keyed on Kinski's green-eyed, thick-lipped beauty; it's hard to think of another actress who could so immediately suggest a cat walking on two legs.
Luckily Kinski had a European attitude toward her body, because this film has plenty of poster-art nudity. There's also lots of gore and some wacky flashbacks to the ancient tribe of cat people, who hold rituals in an orange desert while Giorgio Moroder's music plays.
Featuring David Bowie's original version of the theme song 'Cat People (Putting Out Fire)'.