- Movie Rating -

Cat’s Eye (1985)

| April 12, 1985

There are going be volumes written about why Stephen King’s work is so loved by half the population.  There’s got to be something, I mean, he is the most popular fiction writing in American history.  Therefore, it is probably not an original theory to suggest that his work goes right to the bone.  He knows what scares us.  Something in his work always seems very personal.  He goes right to the bone of our basic fears.  With Carrie it was isolation.  With Pet Semetary it was a fear of our own death.  With Christine it was our obsession with material things.

King successfully melds all of this stuff into a story that sometimes deals in the supernatural and sometimes not.  It’s there but he doesn’t lean on it.  That’s what impressed me about Cat’s Eye, a trilogy of terror about basic human fears about family strife, our health, institutions, heights, blackmail, and things that go bump in the night.  The result is a mixed bag but its not uninteresting.

The first story is the best, a kind of sick humor parable about a chain smoker (James Woods) who visits one of those clinics where they can help you quit.  This is some clinic.  First of all, it is run by Alan King.  Second, the rules for this clinic are rather sadistic – even Mafia-like.  After signing up, Woods is told that if he smokes, his wife will be put in a box and given electric shocks.  Second time, his daughter.  Third time they send a sicko to attack his wife.  Fourth time . . . well.  The means by which Woods has to jump through hoops to keep from smoking are funny in a sick kind of way.  It plays as a very effective black comedy that could have been a nice little feature all by itself.

The second story isn’t as potent but it is still just as sick.  It stars Robert Hays as a washed-up tennis pro who is blackmailed by a billionaire who orders him to walk around the outside ledge of his high-rise.  The idea is there – we don’t want Hays to fall off, but the payoff is kind of predictable.  It’s okay.

The final story is effective depending on your point of view.  It’s the end of a long wrap-around segment involving Drew Barrymore who is pursued by a cat who wants to save her from a troll that hides in her bedroom wall.  Why?  Doesn’t matter.  It’s a disgusting little creature that looks like something out of Jabba’s palace and it intends to steal the air from her body as she sleeps.  I found his section kind of interesting but rather stunted.  The reason for the troll, and the reasons for the visage of Barrymore leading the cat to the house for the confrontation are never really explained.

All in all, Cats Eye is interesting, uneven but not entirely dismissible.  It is definitely a movie that you can talk about afterwards.  I think everyone is going to have a differing view on which segment is the best and what it all means when the stories are over.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Horror