St John Karp

Ramblings of an Ornamental Hermit

“The Curse of the Cat People” (1944)

The Curse of the Cat People title card

In movies this week we have The Curse of the Cat People (1944). In this sequel to Cat People (1942), a young girl named Amy becomes besties with the ghost of her dad’s first wife, the “cat person” who carked it at the end of the first movie. The ghost doesn’t do anything particularly cat-like in this movie — just sort of hangs around looking like a medieval princess. Only she’s got this weird yarmulke thing, so I guess she’s a Jewish medieval princess.

The ghost dresses as a Jewish medieval princess.
“I could kvetch like this all night but I don’t need the tsuris.”

Amy simultaneously makes the acquaintance of a batty old former actress who lures small children into her gingerbread cottage and spins them stories about the golden days of the theater. The old lady is convinced that her daughter Barbara died as a girl, when in fact her daughter is a full-grown woman who’s getting increasingly pissed off at being told she’s been dead for thirty years. After an ordeal that involves going up exactly three steps, the old woman’s heart pops like a pimple. Barbara, consumed by her own sour piss, decides to strangle Amy, but at the last minute the ghost convinces Amy to befriend Barbara and Barbara lets Amy go.

Where Am I in This Movie?

Parker immediately latched on to Barbara, the sour, sulking daughter of the actress who lurks around the house looking ominous and scowling at children. Pretty accurate so far.

Barbara does some high quality scowling.

He pinned the old actress on me, which I didn’t quite see at first, but as soon as she started telling inappropriate horror stories to children and giving people the crazy eyes, it suddenly started to make sense.

The actress gets he crazy eyes.

Where’s the Man Candy

There isn’t any. The only option at all is Amy’s father, who is reasonbly handsome, but goes around for the entire movie dressed like 50s dad in his suit pants hiked up to his nipples. No-one is watching this movie for the beefcake; at the very most this is gluten-free zucchini loaf.

50s dad.

The Skinny

Amy's mum looking way too glamorous.
Who dresses like this to go to a parent-teacher night? She looks like she’s getting cocktails with Jackie Kennedy.

“The sun is not kind. God should use a rose amber spot.”

All up this is a lovely little psychological drama. The supernatural aspects aren’t what I’d call horror, but they do give it a nice otherworldly feel that is complimented by the beautiful direction. It’s pretty much impossible to tell where this movie’s going and it has bugger all to do with the original Cat People, but it hangs together very well on its own terms. I watched a low-res version of The Curse of the Cat People on the Internet Archive, but it would be worth seeing this on Blu-ray to properly appreciate the picture.