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  • Writer's pictureAllan Major

Cat's Eye 1985 Reviewed

Featured Image For Cat's Eye 1985 Reviewed.  Poster for 'Cat's Eye' featuring a giant cat's face and a goblin-like creature breaking through a wall holding a dagger.
In 'Cat's Eye,' Stephen King's anthology spins tales where feline cunning and human cruelty intertwine, while a goblin lurks just beyond the cracks.

You know how a cat's pupils narrow, slits of focus in an otherwise indifferent face? There's a cool calculation to the way they observe the world. It's that same detachment, tinged with the surreal, that makes Stephen King's stories curl under your skin. 1985's "Cat's Eye" was a big-screen attempt at capturing that chillingly observant eye, and for a horror anthology, it delivers the goods.

Key Takeaways From This Film

  • The Everyday is a Thin Veil: From the Quitters, Inc. clinic to a ledge high above the city to a little girl's bedroom, the film underscores how quickly the mundane can become horrifying. Ordinary settings and objects can take on a sinister edge.

  • Fear is Universal: Each segment taps into very different fears: addiction, heights, the unseen. This reminds us that fear takes many forms, and anyone can succumb.

  • Stephen King's Touch: The film showcases King's trademark blend of dark humor, psychological tension, and outright creepiness with a side of social commentary.

  • Anthologies are a Rollercoaster Ride: The three different segments offer varying levels of quality and effectiveness. Anthology formats offer a mixed bag - some brilliance, some less-than-stellar moments.

  • The Power of Childhood Fears: The troll segment is a chilling reminder of how potent childhood fears can be and how those anxieties can linger into adulthood.

  • Special Effects Have Their Place: While not groundbreaking, the creature effects in the final segment add to the unsettling atmosphere and are a satisfyingly creepy touch.

  • Cats are Unpredictable Agents of Chaos: The tabby is more than a cute observer. This cat triggers dark events, a reminder that animals have their own motivations and can act as catalysts for the unexpected.

A woman sits on the edge of her seat, eyes wide with fear as she watches the horror anthology "Cat's Eye."
The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, mirroring the cat's own unease onscreen.

The thread that ties the three tales together is a stray tabby, a witness to the grotesque and the absurd. In the first segment (and arguably, the strongest), the cat is the catalyst, the reason reformed smoker Dick Morrison (James Woods) ends up entangled with the sadistic "Quitters, Inc." Let's just say if you ever thought about giving up the cigs, this film might just be the most nightmarish relapse deterrent out there. King's particular brand of psychological torture is on glorious display, all wrapped up in the black humor of a man who clearly sees the irony of, well, everything.

Then things take a turn for the high-rise ridiculous. In the second story, washed-up tennis pro Johnny Norris (Robert Hays) is walking a literal tightrope: circumnavigate the penthouse ledge, or face the wrath of crime boss Cressner (Kenneth McMillan). It's a testament to director Lewis Teague that a story premise so preposterous actually generates tension. Hays plays the fear of heights with sweaty-palmed authenticity, a man dangling from a ledge both physical and mental.

And then, dear reader, we get to the good stuff. The final segment of "Cat's Eye" may be the one that sticks with you, especially if, like me, you grew up with this anthology gem. Young Drew Barrymore stars as Amanda, a girl left to the mercy of a troll, a nasty little creature lurking inside the walls of her home. This segment is equal parts Spielbergian wonder and pure nightmare fuel – the special effects aren't seamless, but who the hell cares when the troll finally reveals its wicked, beady-eyed face. It taps into that primal childhood fear, the one about the thing under the bed, the thing you swore was breathing as you drifted to sleep. Think "Gremlins" with more bite, both literal and metaphorical.

A man watches Stephen King's "Cat's Eye," his expression tense with a mix of fear and fascination.
That damn troll under the bed... the image would plague his nightmares for a week.

Average Rating On Rotten Tomatoes

King himself penned the screenplay, and his dark wit cuts through the occasional silliness of the last segments. There's a joy in his macabre storytelling, a delight in setting up the absurd and then twisting the knife. The film is, true to anthology form, something of a mixed bag, but the standout moments are just too damn good.

Sure, if you want my two cents as a critic who's seen way too many horror movies: "Cat's Eye" isn't on the level of King's top-tier adaptations like "Carrie" or "The Shining." It's less a cohesive story, more a collection of darkly comic vignettes. That being said, I'll always have a soft spot for this bizarre ride. For fans of King, for anyone who loves that 80s horror weirdness, and for Drew Barrymore lovers, it's definitely worth your time.

Maybe just keep the lights on while you watch...and double-check those air vents before bed. Because even the toughest cynic has a little bit of that superstitious kid left inside. And that kid knows the dark is full of eyes, sometimes green and feline, sometimes gleaming with a more monstrous intent. Stephen King reminds us of that, and sometimes, a reminder is all you need to send a shiver down your spine.

And that is Cat's Eye 1985 Reviewed. Another classic horror movie adaptation from the works of Stephen King. 

Stay tuned for more horror movie reviews

If You Liked Cat's Eye You Might Also Like These Films

  • Creepshow (1982): The granddaddy of horror anthologies, also penned by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero. Boasts a similar mix of dark humor, pulpy scares, and a healthy dose of 80s horror camp.

  • Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990): Another anthology horror flick, this one based on the TV series. Features a bit more variety in tone, ranging from eerie and atmospheric to darkly comedic.

  • The Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983): Though not strictly horror, this film adapts some classic episodes of the iconic TV series, offering the same blend of the unnerving, the fantastical, and the thought-provoking.

  • Trick 'r Treat (2007): A more modern cult-classic anthology, perfect for Halloween lovers. Interweaves darkly humorous and creepy tales set on the same Halloween night in a small town.

  • The Evil Dead (1981): For those who loved the combination of practical effects and over-the-top scares in "Cat's Eye's" troll segment, this Sam Raimi classic delivers low-budget gore and a whole lot of campy fun.

Cat's Eye 1985 Reviewed FAQs

Q: What is "Cat's Eye"? 

A: "Cat's Eye" is a 1985 American horror anthology film directed by Lewis Teague, with a screenplay written by Stephen King. It comprises three distinct tales, two of which are adapted from King's short stories in the "Night Shift" collection ("Quitters, Inc." and "The Ledge"), and one original story written for the film ("General").

Q: What are the three stories featured in "Cat's Eye"? 

A: Here's a quick synopsis of the three stories:

  • "Quitters, Inc.": Dick Morrison (James Woods) desperately wants to quit smoking and enlists the help of a sinister corporation called Quitters, Inc. Their methods are highly unorthodox and push the boundaries of psychological and physical torture.

  • "The Ledge": Cressner (Kenneth McMillan), a ruthless mob boss, blackmails former tennis pro Johnny Norris (Robert Hays) into a horrifying bet: Norris must walk around the dangerously narrow ledge of Cressner's high-rise penthouse.

  • "General": Young Amanda (Drew Barrymore) is terrorized by a nasty troll that lives within the walls of her home. The stray cat, dubbed "General" by Amanda, becomes her unlikely protector.

Q: Who is the linking element in the movie "Cat's Eye"? 

A: A stray tabby cat is the unifying thread throughout the film. It witnesses and sometimes participates in the events of each story, acting as an observer and occasional catalyst for the bizarre situations.

Q: Is "Cat's Eye" based on a Stephen King short story? 

A: Two of the three stories are adapted from Stephen King's short stories:

  • "Quitters, Inc." was originally published in King's 1978 short story collection "Night Shift."

  • "The Ledge" also appeared in the "Night Shift" collection.

The final segment, "General," is an original story written specifically for the film.

Q: What role does the cat play in "Cat's Eye"? 

A: The cat's role is multifaceted:

  • Unseen Observer: The cat often witnesses the key events in each story, its presence adding a layer of eerie voyeurism.

  • Accidental Catalyst: The cat's actions sometimes trigger pivotal moments. It's taken to Quitters, Inc., chased across a busy road by Cressner's men, and becomes a target for the troll in Amanda's house.

  • Symbolic Protector: Particularly in the final segment, the cat acts as a guardian for Amanda against the troll.

Q: Who directed the movie adaptation "Cat's Eye"? 

A: "Cat's Eye" was directed by Lewis Teague, known for other films like "Cujo" (another King adaptation) and "The Jewel of the Nile."

Q: What is the significance of the prologue in "Cat's Eye"? 

A: The original theatrical release featured a prologue that established a backstory between the cat and the troll creature. This provided further context for the "General" segment, but it was ultimately cut for pacing reasons. While no longer officially part of the film, the deleted prologue offers additional insight into the motivations of the cat and its connection to the troll.


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