Cat’s Eye is an anthology horror film written by Stephen King that never quite reached the popularity of King’s other anthology horror film, Creepshow. And, to be honest, it is a bit average. It doesn’t rank as one of my favorite anthology horror movies, but it does have a number of good moments.
Cat’s Eye contains 3 stories, all told through the eyes of a stray cat, journeying across the East Coast to reach a little girl (Drew Barrymore) he senses is in danger. Along the way he is witness to several horrors.
The first story features James Woods (Videodrome) as Dick Morrison, a hopeless chain-smoker seeking aid from “Quitters Inc.” Quitters Inc. is willing to help him kick his smoking habit, but only by using the most extreme measures. Much against his will, they have Dick monitored day and night. Should he be caught smoking, they threaten to kidnap his wife and torture her with electro-shock. Should he be caught a second time, they will dish out the same torture to his daughter. A third offense would result in his wife being brutally raped by one of their more deranged employees. And a 4th offense…well, you don’t wanna know. Dick is horrified at the penalties and must choose between his sweet sweet lung candy or the love of his family.
A pretty good story. Cat’s Eye is noticeably tongue-in-cheek, despite having some very dark content (that’s Stephen King for you). So as nasty as this story sounds, they toss in lots of really weird humor to kick it up a notch. Also, being a non-smoker, they managed to find a way to make cigarettes look more disgusting than ever (there’s an especially gross hallucination sequence). James Woods is excellent in the story, but then, he’s excellent in just about everything.
The second story features a down-on-his-luck tennis player being taken hostage by a millionare gambler. As it turns out, the tennis player had stolen his wife and he wants payback. Always a betting-man, the millionare offers a wager to the tennis yuppie: climb all the way around the ledge of his 30 story skyscraper and he’ll let him go. The tennis player takes the challenge, but as you can guess, finds a few surprises he hadn’t expected.
Now this is the best story in the film, and the simplist of them all, to boot. The whole scenario is nerve-racking to anyone who is even remotely afraid of heights. Director Lewis Teague hightens the tension by setting up several obstacles in the yuppie’s path, including territorial pigeons, electric signs and the millionare-himself, popping in and out of windows in attempts to frighten the yuppie off the ledge. A great story with some awesome pay-off at the conclusion.
The final story is, unfortunately, the weakest. The cat finally reaches the little girl’s home and discovers that she is the target of a diminuitive troll that wishes to steal her breath as she sleeps. The cat does everything in its power to protect the little girl, but is consistently impeded by the girl’s mother, who hates cats.
One of these things is not like the other. While the first two stories were more-or-less realistic, the final episode is pretty out-there and, well, kinda stupid. It really doesn’t help that the troll is voiced by cartoon legend, Frank Welker, using his voice for Slimer from the Real Ghostbusters. The story is very “fun”, meant to be taken lightly, but the gags come off a little too childish. On the bright side, the effects for the troll are magnificent. They built an entire in-scale set of a child’s massive bedroom, making the guy in the troll costume running around look rather believable. The troll-itself has a great outfit and facial puppetry as well, with some rather eerie glowing red eyes. Never-the-less, Frank Welker…
Cat’s Eye is a fun but forgettable horror film which, despite some stand-out moments and a fantastic middle, just doesn’t having the lasting power that other anthology horror films have. But, to make one last compliment, that cat they used for the film is a freakin’ genius. I have trouble just getting my cats to find the litterbox, this one seemed smart-enoug to write my term papers for me. But, despite a brilliant cat, I have to give the film a C+.