Back in the early 1940s a special monster-movie unit, headed by producer Val Lewton, was set up at RKO studios. Cat People and The Curse Of The Cat People, now being re-released in new prints as a Halloween double-bill, both emerged from this stable, and demonstrate the enduring power of imagined horror in everyday-life situations.
Cat People (which was remade by Paul Schrader in 1982) tells the story of a psychologically disturbed young Serbian woman, Irena (Simon), in Manhattan, who fears she will be turned into a panther if sexually aroused. Strikingly shot by Nick Musuraca, and littered with Freudian symbolism (not least the psychiatrist's cane that reveals a sword), it features some terrific stalking sequences.
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