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The Curse Of The Cat People (Blu-ray Review)

Interestingly enough, Scream Factory is delivering the sequel to Cat People, having released Cat People. Though, their Cat People was the remake, as Criterion distributes the original (Also on FilmStruck). This sequel is a little bit of an underground phenomenon and one people have been kinda hoping would pop up on the Blu-ray format someday. Scream Factory doesn’t always dig this old, but they’ve dipped into the vaults here for the 74 year old horror sequel. They aren’t doing a Collector’s Edition, but they are still filling this release up with some goodies for the fans. You’re going to get a couple good commentaries (One featuring a Simone Simon interview) among other things. Its available for pre-order now. So click the link below get your copy by June 19th!

Film 

In this sequel to “Cat People,” Oliver Reed is married to the lovely Alice Moore. The couple has a daughter, Amy, a withdrawn young girl with a vivid imagination who soon begins talking to visions of her father’s deceased former wife, the cursed Irena. When Amy unintentionally incurs the wrath of a mentally unstable woman, the girl’s relationship with Irena’s apparition comes into play.

The Curse of the Cat People may be one of the most odd sequels that follow the original cast of characters of all time (Not ones that try for an anthology pathway). While we carry over two of the same people from last time, their names could have been changed and the title something else and you’d have had no idea that this was supposed to be a sequel to The Cat People. As a sequel, yeah, its quite a bit different and an odd direction, but on its own merits, its actually a pretty deep and solid film on childhood.

Some notables things happened with this film. Mainly, this is the directorial debut of legendary director Robert Wise. He’s the guy who came in and finished it after more production was needed and 18 days were added to the filming schedule that was 9 days behind. This reminds of the sequel to Piranha (Piranha II: The Spawning) where the director was canned and a young James Cameron finished the film, earning his first credit after taking over for another director (Though there’s a lot more details to this).

The film also isn’t too shabby in the visuals department either. There are some really beautiful looking bits of haunted imagery here. I really enjoy the ghost Irene stuff, especially when there is snow around. I almost wonder if this inspired Rob Zombie a bit with Sherri Moon in Halloween II. Much of the film does take on a nice Gothic appearance, giving me some Hitchcock Rebecca vibe throughout the proceedings.

This sequel, half helmed by Robert Wise, was sort of hit and miss with people upon its release. And I understand those who were taken by surprise and chose not to like it on that base. But its also become a point of fascination with many, to which it gets taught in college courses and has been a film applauded and studied for how it depicts child trauma and fantasy. There’s a very creepy aspect to it that doesn’t outright get you, but once you put a second of thought to it, it becomes very sinister and disturbing.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: I’m pretty surprised at how wonderful The Curse of the Cat People looks. The film is mostly in good shape (There are a couple instances of flicker in the source). It plays lovingly with a fantastic clarity and good attention to detail. The image looks loose and has a nice layer of grain the compliments the picture. The black and white nature, coupled with the transfer, looks very artful in its appearance.

Depth:  There’s a surprising amount of really good spacing here in the image and freeness that flows throughout. Movements are very cinematic with no real issues (That are reel related).

Black Levels: Blacks are rich and really accent the picture. Shadows are quite lovely and blacks really help to define the image. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: N/A

Flesh Tones: Skin tones keep their same shade of white/gray throughout. Facial features are pretty strong in close ups and varied the further the camera is pulled back.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Mono 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics:  The Curse of the Cat People purrs with a very nice cleaned up audio track. This is mostly conversation with some fun scoring section that work well in this mix, getting its chance a prominence. It sounds both fresh and of its time, and I mean that is a very complimentary way.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are very clean, with good clarity.

Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • With Author/Historian Steve Haberman
  • With Historian Greg Mank, with Audio Interview Excerpts with Actress Simone Simon

Lewton’s Muse: The Dark Eyes of Simone Simon (HD, 31:19) – A photo essay on the life and career of Simone Simon. Feels like something you’d find on a Criterion disc more than you would a Shout! Factory one. And I mean that as a sincere compliment.

Audio Interview with Ann Carter (HD, 19:06) – The interview as done following her work on a TCM documentary that was being headed up by Martin Scorsese. After an introduction setting up the interview, it digs right into her work on The Curse of the Cat People. Its primarily focused on her youth and starring in a movie to go along with set and filming anecdotes.

Theatrical Trailers (SD, 1:06 & 1:38) – A trailer for ‘The Cat People’ and one for ‘The Curse of the Cat People’.

Still Gallery (HD, 4:30)

Summary 

The Curse of the Cat People is a pretty interesting movie. I’m amused by the intense amount of studying that has followed it all these years. You get a taste of that with the commentaries and other bonuses provided on the disc. Scream Factory has this film in tip top shape as well. Its proven to be a very good effort and purchase for fans of the film.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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