HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Cat's Eye
HTS Overall Score:76
It’s been a while since we’ve seen some of Stephen King’s classic films. With his “Dark Castle” film coming to fruition it only seems natural that Warne release a trio of classic horror films from the master himself (Look forward to “IT” and “Salem’s Lot” over the next few days). “Cat’s Eye” is not just one, but three separate half hour stories that are all tied together with a single stray cat on a mission to protect a random girl (played by “Drew Barrymore” in one of her youngest roles ever, and actually plays three different characters in the film), who is supposedly being haunted by some creature. Each little story is initiated by the entrance of the cat, and plays out while the presence of the little fluffy creature is around. The first two stories tend to the be the most “creepy” of the lot, with the third one culminating in the actual original mission of the cat in a more heroic manner.
The first of the three stories is about Dick Morrison (James Woods), a chain smoker who is desperate to quit his dirty habit. Going to a slightly off the beaten path self-help place called “Quitters Anonymous”, Dick finds out that he is in more of pickle than he thought. This particular clinic prides themselves on nearly 100% success with their program. The only thing is that their program is more than a little bit “different”. Instead of using psychology and support to help the smoker quit, they use mob tactics and torture. Although, instead of torturing the smoker, the focus on torturing the person’s wife, kids, family and friends every time the person makes a mistake. Thinking that he can do this, Dick soon finds out just how far the disturbing clinic will go to make sure that their patients succeed at their non-smoking goals.
Slipping out of the clinic’s back door and out of the story, our titular cat is on a boat to the big city, where he is picked up by a mob tycoon who makes a bet on whether the poor thing can make it through city traffic. However, this tycoon (played by Kenneth McMillan) has a bit of vendetta against someone. Young associate Johnny Norris (Robert Hays) has stolen his wife and is about to head out of town. That is until our lovely little tycoon captures him and forms Johnny to participate in a small wager. If he can make it around the edge of the huge high-rise that they are in by ONLY walking on the outer ledge, he can attain his freedom and the money to live on. While Johnny has no choice in the matter, the end result may turn out a little different than either man had ever expected.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=80418[/img]Ditching the party after a brutal death, our little fuzz ball makes one last trip. This time to the suburbs where he runs into the little girl that he is supposed to save. Immediately adored by the Amanda (Drew Barrymore once more), the young daughter of the house, the kitty is adopted and doted on by the girl. Although, as much as Amanda loves her new pet, mother Sally (Candy Clark) isn’t so keen on the little guy. Forced to sleep outside so that he doesn’t eat their little bird Polly, we find out exactly WHY the kitty has been tasked with saving the young girl. For in the walls lives a sort of mini troll who has been tormenting Amanda for months. Only coming out to make mischief at night, he is just about done with torturing her dreams and ready to move on to the main course. That is if the cat doesn’t interfere before mommy dearest can get rid of the seemingly annoying cat.
“Cat’s Eye” is an interesting mixture of Stephen King vignettes. The first two ARE the most creepy, especially the very first story about “Quitters Inc”. It carries a deliciously creepy vibe that is almost uncomfortable to watch. Especially when you get near the end and realize that Dick’s journey towards a healthier life is not even close to finishing. The second is more of thriller, with most of the time spent watching Johnny traverse the treacherous ledge, all the while hassled by a maniacal tycoon who never expects him to make it. The final story deviates from horror (for the most part) and instead focuses more on a fantasy adventure than anything. The tension is relieved by some slight physical humor when the troll like creature makes his appearance, and finishes the film on a rather high note (which is actually not very common with King’s creep fests).
All in all I actually feel this is one of the more accessible Stephen King film, with a nice amount of horror thrown in for the genre fans, but keeping PG-13 enough that those who don’t want a bloodbath or COMPLETE terror fest can watch without getting too creeped out. The stories each have their own unique charm to them, ranging in the style tone, with the only real linking factor being the cat itself, and of course Drew Barrymore playing a slightly different character each time.
Rated PG-13 for horror elements
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=80426[/img]Catalog titles are always make me a bit nervous before I watch them, usually because they can be very hit or miss. Many new restorations look fabulous, as newer and newer masters are struck for the 1080p and 4K future, but also many are just slopped on disc and ported over from decade’s old masters that reek of DNR and grungy film sources. Thankfully “Cat’s Eye” looks rather nice for an 80s film. It doesn’t look like it was made from a brand new 4K source, but it is unmolested and looks really nice. The image shows nice grain structure for an 80s flick, and good detail all the way around. Sometimes the image gets a bit soft and hazy, but usually that’s a result of old optical effects used, such as in the second tale or the finale with the troll. Colors are warm and natural, although blacks sometimes suffer from being a tad washed out at times. However, I would say that this is a good effort from Warner at keeping to faithful representation of an old film without applying tons of DNR and other artifacts to the image.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=80434[/img]Presented in both 2.0 for English and Spanish (the former the only one getting a lossless encode), “Cat’s Eye” manages to eek out a very nice sounding audio experience. The 2.0 track doesn’t give a whole lot of room for expansive sound stages, but the dialog and the front sound stage is given a good treatment. The vocals are crisp and clear, and the activity in the front has a lot of dynamics going on with it. Sometimes it has a tendency to sound a bit flat, and strangely enough I REALLY needed to boost the AVR as it appears the audio was recorded a bit lower than normal. Still, nothing that turning the volume dial on the receiver wouldn’t fix and the boost doesn’t seem to have introduced any stress artifacts from doing so.
• Audio Commentary by Director Lewis Teague
• Original Theatrical Trailer
“Cat’s Eye” is a fun little set of creepy tales that harkens back to some really classic King vibes. It’s not nearly as creepy or as memorable as some of his more famous entries, but it has always been a criminally underrated film in my personal opinion. I hadn’t seen the movie since at LEAST VHS days, but I have to say that the stories held up better than I expected (except for some of the optical effects), and the video and audio was very nicely preserved. Sadly the extras are nothing but the limited extras ported over from the DVD, but I’m very happy to have them nonetheless. Recommended as a fun watch.
Starring: Drew Barrymore, James Woods, Alan King
Directed by: Lewis Teague
Written by: Stephen King
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 2.0, Spanish DD 2.0
Runtime: 94 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 20th, 2016
Buy Cat's Eye On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Recommended as a creepy watch
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