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10 Fancy Feasts of Catsploitation

The cat’s dead, but we got the details now.
By  · Published on October 28th, 2019

5. Cat People (1982)

Cat People Remake

Cat horror is often relegated to murderous kitties, but Paul Schrader‘s sexy, gory, and dream-like riff on the 1942 original brings far bigger felines into the picture. We get some bloody animal attacks, cool practical effects, saucy incest, a screaming Ed Begley Jr., a romantic leading man in John Heard, fantastical nocturnal landscapes, and more. The cats — black panthers mostly — are convincingly menacing, but as is often the case, the most dangerous animal of all is Malcolm McDowell. (Rob Hunter)

4. Cat People (1942)

Cat People Og

Cats have hungry eyes. Life is their buffet. They’ll accept your scratches because there is no way they can fit your person in their stomach. You’re too big, dangit. But if they increased in size. If they were a panther, let’s say. Or if they were were-panthers, even better. Jacques Tourneur‘s classic noirish horror tale features a protagonist with ravenous peepers. She’s the descendant of a cursed village, and when she meets the right man, she’ll make a meal of the dope. Finally. The kitty can strike and snack and her stomach ain’t too small. (Brad Gullickson)

3. Uninvited (1988)


Yo. You ain’t never seen a feline(s) like this one, and your rewind button will be working overtime throughout the course of Uninvited. Did you just see what you think you saw? You’re damn right you did. A tabby cat flees from a genetic research facility thanks to a special friend… um… a black cat that lives within the tabby and shoots out its mouth whenever threatened. Yeah, that’s right, you get two kitties for the price of one. Sneaking her way onto a sailboat carrying a batch of helpless teen victims as well as a few diabolical gangsters including a mean machine George Kennedy and a most buffoonish Clu Gulager, the jack-in-the-box-cat reigns supreme on the seven seas. (Brad Gullickson)

2. Pet Sematary (1989)

Cat Church

Stephen King seems to have a lot of fun making the things we love most horrifying to us, and few of his stories do so more thoroughly than Pet Sematary. Love cats? Not anymore! Think that the toddler who plays Gage is the cutest little kid in the universe? Nope, Pet Sematary’s taking that away from you too! The Mary Lambert-directed film has aged since its late-80s release, but the image of Church the re-animated cat, mid-hiss and with glowing gold eyes, still sticks with us. While the latest adaptation does a great job making post-mortem Church look like walking roadkill, the original Church is sort of just a gray fuzzball. She actually looks cuddly, until you think about the existential repercussions of her existence and man’s cursed inability to escape mortality and tragedy. Meow? (Valerie Ettenhofer)

1. Re-Animator (1985)

Reanimator Cat

It must be remarked that, in truth, the cat in Re-Animator was played by a whole swath of Puppet Heroes. Least of all Jeffrey Combs, who sells the ever-living (haha) fuck out of a wet clump of fur to give the impression of a pissed-off zombified feline. There are several scenes in cinema that I would love to have been on set for, and the basement face-off with Rufus is right at the top of the list. It takes a village to make an effect like Rufus work, and if we’ve learned anything today it’s that no matter how sad and janky your puppet is, enthusiasm goes a long way. Well, unless you use an actual dead cat like they did for mini-fridge Rufus (which, according to the humane society’s 130+ page guideline document, is a legal thing, who knew!). Anyway: Rufus, you’re terrible and I love you. Goodnight, sweet puppet prince. (Meg Shields)

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)