Blu-ray Review: THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE

THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE was directed by Gunther V. Fritsch and Robert Wise (making his directorial debut) co-helmed a gothic-laced mix of fantasy and fright so astute it was used in college psychology classes. The film stars Kent Smith, Ann CarterJane Randolph, Julia Dean, Elizabeth Russell and Simone Simon.

This continuation of 1942’s Cat People follows Oliver Reed (Kent Smith), now remarried, living in idyllic Tarrytown, New York, and the father of six-year-old Amy (Ann Carter). When Amy becomes withdrawn and speaks of consorting with a new “friend,” Oliver worries that she may be under the influence of the spirit of first wife. Is it just Amy’s imagination that has manifested the enigmatic Irena (Simone Simon), who long believed herself to be descended from a race of Cat People?

This 1944 horror sequel returns Oliver Reed (Kent Smith) who is now married to Alice (Jane Randolph) and the two have a six-year-old daughter, Amy. The troubled girl is kind of a withdrawn and ends up becoming friends with the ghost of Oliver’s deceased wife Irena (Simone Simon) who also makes her return. What happens is, when Amy tells Oliver about Irena, he plays it off as her wild imagination but it also ends up getting her in a little trouble that leaves her hurt so she decides to run away from home.

Amy has also befriended Julia Farren (Julia Dean), a rich old woman who takes a special liking to the young girl and ends up favoring her over her own daughter, Barbara (Elizabeth Russell). There’s also this weird thing going on between Julia and Barbara because she thinks her own daughter has died and this woman is an imposter. So, Amy has run away and ends up at Julia’s house where Barbara’s jealousy becomes slightly unhenged and she plans on killing the young girl but Irena’s apparition appears for a few seconds and this allows the young girl to show the unstable woman a simple act of kindness that she so desperately needed and it ultimately saves Amy’s life.

The front of the packaging features the classic artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. Scream Factory has given this 74-year old movie an impressive high-def release. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition disc were really good. There were a couple of light spots in a couple of the darker scenes but other than that I really didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, The Curse of the Cat People was another first time watch for me and I really enjoyed this old RKO Radio Pictures horror classic. I’ve never watched the 1942 original but I’ve seen the remake countless times thanks to Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release a few years ago. By the way, if you haven’t watched that one, you should. The Curse of the Cat People depends heavily on the story and the characters rather than special effects. Sorry, there’s no people turning into cats in this one. Instead, there’s some neat old school tricks that come in the form of shadows courtesy of some impressive lighting and this gives the movie its moody and atmospheric vibe. The director’s camera captured everything it needed to make this classic haunter a captivating and thrilling dark drama that looks and sounds great on this high-definition release. The Curse of the Cat People will make its Blu-ray debut on June 26th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 70 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Full Frame (1.33:1) B&W

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: Good Stuff! The extras include two audio commentary tracks, a character featurette, an interview, two vintage trailers and some images. The impressive thing is the fact that Scream Factory was able to come up with some impressive new extras for this 74-year old movie’s Blu-ray release. That’s pretty cool!

  • NEW Audio Commentary with author/historian Steve Haberman
  • Audio Commentary with historian Greg Mank, with audio interview excepts with actress Simone Simon
  • NEW Lewton’s Muse: The Dark Eyes of Simone Simon – a video essay by filmmaker Constantine Nasr (Shadows in the Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy) (31:19)
  • NEW Audio Interview with Ann Carter, moderated by Tom Weaver (19:06)
  • The Cat People Theatrical Trailer (01:06)
  • The Curse of the Cat People Theatrical Trailer (01:38)
  • Still Gallery (04:30)

 

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