• Cat’s Eye



    Released by: Umbrella Entertainment
    Released on: October 5th, 2017.
    Director: Lewis Teague
    Cast: Drew Barrymore, James Woods, Robert Hays, Alan King, Kenneth McMillan, Candy Clark
    Year: 1985
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Lewis Teague two years after the success of Cujo, his first Stephen King adaptation, 1985’s Cat’s Eye features King’s second screenplay (the trailer claims it is his first but Creepshow was written earlier and made in 1982). The film is an anthology, with its three stories linked together by the presence of a simple tabby cat.

    When we first meet the cat, he’s chased by a giant St. Bernard and almost run over by a red vintage car – both of which will look familiar to King fans. The cat hides out in a truck that then drives to New York City and once he’s let out, he’s scooped up by a man who works for a company named Quitters Incorporated. Run by Dr. Vinny Donatti (Alan King), they’ve got some very unorthodox ways of helping their clients quit smoking. Case in point? Dick Morrison (James Woods), the latest to acquire their services. Locked in Donatti’s office he’s shown a hidden room where out feline friend is electrocuted – not killed, just toasted around the paws a little bit. Morrison is told that he’ll be under constant surveillance and if he’s seen smoking, the fate that has befallen this cat will be the same fate to befall his wife and daughter (Drew Barrymore).

    The cat makes it out and then winds up travelling to Atlantic City. Here a gambler named Johnny Norris (Robert Hays) is in hot water with a big shot named Cressner (Kenneth McMillan) who is less than impressed that Johnny has been messing around with his pretty, younger wife. He has two of his goons kidnap and bring him to his top floor suite where he makes Johnny a bet: if he can make it around the hotel by walking on the five inch ledge that is just below his window, he’ll give him the money, he’ll leave him alone and he’ll let him have his wife. The catch? Well, if Johnny slips, he’ll die. Given that Cressner is probably going to kill him anyway, Johnny takes the bet – but there are twists, of course.

    In the third story, the cat winds up travelling out to the suburbs and befriending a young girl named Amanda (Barrymore again) who names him general. Her parents aren’t all that impressed but the girl is clearly attached to the animal so they let him stay. When Amanda starts complaining about a little monster that lives in her wall and trashes her room at night, however, they start to rethink their decision and mom (Candy Clark) decides to take the cat to the animal shelter assuming it to be responsible. But what is the if the strange activity was to continue…?

    Produced by Milton Subotsky of Amicus Films (his last anthology film!) fame and Dino and Martha DeLaurentis, Cat’s Eye isn’t the type of horror film to send you into screaming fits but it’s a pretty damned entertaining mix of horror, suspense and laughs. King’s always had a sense of humor and that comes through in each one of the three stories that make up this picture. There’s also some jokes made at his own expense – not just in the opening scene where Cujo and Christine make appearances, but in the first story where Morrison watches The Dead Zone on TV and casually asks his wife “Who writes this crap?” The film is also clever in its use not once but twice of The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ (though it’s a cover, not the original). Lots of comedic details are scattered throughout the picture that reward attentive viewers.

    The movie is well paced and nicely shot. There are some obvious spots where stand in locations were used in place of actual New York City locations in the first story but most won’t notice that (if you live there, that’s a different story). Production values are solid across the board, and the film benefits from a strong cast. James Woods is in fine form here, it’s fun to see him go back and forth with Alan King in the opener. Likewise, Robert Hays and Kenneth McMillan have plenty of entertaining sparring in the second story. Candy Clark and Drew Barrymore, fresh off of the success of Firestarter, another King adaptation, also do a nice job in the final chapter. Add to that some nice practical effects work in the third story and Cat’s Eye holds up nicely. This isn’t necessarily deep, but it’s pretty much the perfect popcorn movie!

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Umbrella Entertainment presents Cat’s Eye on Blu-ray framed at 2.35.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition on a 25GB disc. This is a really nice picture. The image is clean, showing pretty much no noticeable print damage, while grain is present but never once distracting. Fine detail is often times very impressive – close up shots of the cat show a lot of texture in the fur, for example, and there’s really good depth here too. Black levels are nice and shape, there’s no crush, and the image is free of any compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction. Fans should be very pleased with just how good the transfer is on this disc.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD 2.0 stereo option. Audio quality is also very strong. There’s some nice left/right channel separation in the track while dialogue is crystal clear. Hiss and distortion are never once a problem while the score and sound effects have good punch behind them without ever burying the performers. Optional subtitles are provided in English only, though there are a few odd typos that are hard not to notice.

    Extras start off with a brand new exclusive twenty-seven minute interview with Robert Hays in which he recounts how he got the part, his thoughts on working with Lewis Teague, how he was unfamiliar with King’s writing before taking the part, Drew Barrymore’s involvement in the picture and the tricks involved in working alongside a pigeon on a ledge. Also on hand is a featurette with animal trainer Teresa Ann Miller. She speaks for eight minutes about working with her father on the picture, confirms that the dog seen in the opening sequence is in fact that same dog that was featured in Cujo and offers up some more information about her work on the picture. The audio commentary with Lewis Teague that was found on the domestic Blu-ray release has not been ported over to this Australian disc.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc is the film’s original theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Cat’s Eye might not be ‘pure horror’ but it sure is a lot of fun. At times darkly humorous, this feature is fast paced, nicely acted by some great cast members and manage to cram three genuinely engaging stories into its running time. Umbrella’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds great and contains a few decent extra features as well. This makes for a very nice upgrade over the past DVD edition.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





























    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Darcy Parker's Avatar
      Darcy Parker -
      The Police song’s title is Every Breath You Take
    1. Alison Jane's Avatar
      Alison Jane -
      The dad in the Drew Barrymore story looks like Jamie Gillis.
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