St John Karp

Ramblings of an Ornamental Hermit

“A Talking Cat!?!” (2013)

A Talking Cat!?!

Parker and I recently embarked upon the Puppet Master movies and quickly discovered that David DeCoteau directed no fewer than four films in the franchise. DeCoteau’s name rang an instant bell for me, because I knew his work from the notoriously stinkeriffic and homoerotic 1313 films, which feature a lot of really buff, hairless 20-year-olds padding around in their tighty-whities while being menaced by cougars and poorly-rendered special effects. They’re not much as horror movies, but damn, you don’t have to twist my arm to get me to watch an hour and a half of jockular eye candy.

After the first Puppet Master movie we decided to take a detour by way of 1313: Hercules Unbound! (2012), a poor film even by DeCoteau’s standards. The others I’ve seen at least had some sort of plot, but this one featured an hour of buff men flexing, five minutes of token dialogue, and ten minutes of clouds. Just clouds in the sky. Because clouds. After all the interminable flexing the clouds were almost a relief. You know how McDonald’s hamburgers have so much sugar that they have to include pickle slices to prevent them being classified as candy? There needs to be like an FDA for movies where they need to have at least so much plot to prevent them being classified as softcore porn.

We were then unable to resist the allure of one of DeCoteau’s other films that looked so stupid we had to see it. Ladies and germs, I give you A Talking Cat!?!

Eric Roberts as the cat.

It’s Eric Roberts doing the voice-over for the cat! Proving once again that Eric Roberts will be in anything he’s asked, whether it’s the Golden Globe nominated Runaway Train, Doctor Who, or Sharktopus. Apparently he recorded his part for A Talking Cat!?! in only fifteen minutes, and he’s still the most competent actor in this movie. I think that’s part of his charm, like Vincent Price in countless B-movies. Roberts will be in any old shit, but he’s a solid performer and he’ll at least have some fun with it.

A driftwood statue in red heels.

This guy has a sculpture of driftwood legs in red heels. To be honest he’d look better in those heels than the statue does. I would love to know if they designed the ugliest sculpture they could for this movie, or if someone had already made this. I’m leaning towards this monstrosity already existing because this movie clearly has a budget of 73 cents and there’s no way they could have bought those boots.

Twinky flashes some thigh.

Heyoooo, here’s how we know we’re in a David DeCoteau film — we’re only a few minutes in and we’ve got this twink flashing us a bit of thigh.

Store-brand Imelda Staunton.

Looks like DeCoteau also managed to track down this store-brand Imelda Staunton. I wonder if she gets any money as a celebrity lookalike?

DeCoteau's ubiquitous pool.

NOT THIS FUCKING POOL AGAIN. I have PTSD about this pool. The entirety of Hercules Unbound! was shot here because it was the only location they had that looked remotely ancient. In fact a large chunk of DeCoteau’s movies seem to be filmed in the exact same house. A friend of mine reckons that in one of the 1313 films you can actually see a reflection in the window of them filming a different 1313 film at the same time.

Twinky with his alleged girlfriend.
A boy and his beard. Twinky pretends to be straight but secretly yearns for the D.

So the plot. Hmmm. The plot. The plot. There’s Twinky and his dad, and there’s Imelda Staunton and her two kids, and they’re all unhappy. And then a talking cat (!?!) shows up and starts giving them life advice to get them all together.

The cat's poorly animated mouth.

The cat has easily the most amazing animated lips the screen has ever seen. It’s a black oval that opens and closes vaguely where the cat’s mouth should be. I find this production decision completely bewildering. This is an effect. This cost them money. It was someone’s job to sit down and animate this in all the cat’s scenes. Wouldn’t it be cheaper just to use the voice-over and leave out the animation? It’s a kids' movie, it’s not going to ruin the illusion if people just hear the cat instead of seeing its lips move. But nope, DeCoteau is a slave to realism and his talking cat (!?!) is going to talk, damn it!

Twinky tries to get in the pool.

Ahh, this film’s only redeeming quality. Not only do we get to see Twinky dithering about in one foot of water, we also get his jock boyfriend splish-splashing about too.

Twinky and his jock boyfriend.
Hunx.

After the cat’s done so much to help others, some bastard plows into it with his car and leaves it mortally wounded. The cat seems remarkably stoic despite its fatal injuries. They just threw a bit of gauze at it.

The wounded cat wears gauze.

Then everyone goes to find the cat’s magic collar so they can use it to save its life. When they attach the collar to the cat’s neck, it sort of jizzes a rainbow and comes back to life.

The collar revives the wounded cat.
Taste the rainbow.

The Skinny

A woman with an amazing bowtie necklace.
I am obsessed with this woman’s bowtie necklace.

“They’re my best customers, they deserve toe-free appetizers!”

A nonsensical wreckage of a movie that is perfect for a shitty movie night. There’s so many ridiculous things here, it’s hard not to enjoy it on some level. DeCoteau said about the film, “People have called me who I haven’t seen since high school who said, ‘David, after 100 movies you’ve finally made a movie we like.’” I smell a rat — why would people he hasn’t seen since high-school have watched this particular obscurity, let alone DeCoteau’s 100 other movies? And how could they possibly have liked it unironically?

Don’t watch this unless you get in a car accident and are severely concussed. Or do. There’s apparently a RiffTrax version of this film which might help it go down a little smoother.