Cat People (1982)
Paul Schrader’s queasy direction job is more conspicuous than the supposed relevant thematic line and horror in Cat People, which draws inspiration from arguably the least fascinating aspects of the vampire legend. The voluptuous but sweet Natassia Kinski's smile and passion brings a warmth and sexiness (respectively) to Cat People in a handful of effective scenes. These appear when Schrader has let his performers explore the useful dramatic potential in Kinski’s virginal existence (Heard and Kinski strike up a sweet, jovial tone together), but before Schrader has let his futile artistry run riot with vapid suggestions of gloomy legends and the depth of a panther's eyes. The film’s biggest mistake is wanting to instill relevance and depth which, in dramatic terms, has not been accounted for. The final shot is particularly ludicrous. With Malcolm McDowell presenting his next version of sexual perversities (ref. If..., A Clockwork Orange, Caligula etc.), and John Heard, Annette O’Toole and Ed Begley, Jr. trying to hold things together.