Overlooked Suspense Masterpiece

The Gonzo Journals

April 15th, 2023

The year was 1985 and everything was right with the world. Well, at least it was to a kid. I was twelve and didn’t care about the news, current events, politics, etc. Then again, that stuff wasn’t in our faces twenty-four hours a day. There was morning news, nightly news, and whatever didn’t fit within their time window fell by the wayside. Beautiful.

Some of Stephen King’s best work and adaptations were released during this time period. I wasn’t reading novels yet, but my mother and grandmother did. Stephen King was a name I knew all too well, and I was warned repeatedly about how incredibly twisted he was. Sure, by 1985 housewife standards, the guy was the goddamned devil. In reality? To someone in the extreme industry? Meh, he’s the adult, male version of Wednesday Addams. Dammit, he’s been a busy little freak, though. There’s no denying that!

Cat’s Eye came onto the scene and confused the hell out of me. I didn’t understand anthologies as a kid. I just thought they found a cheap way to stick three mini movies together and none of them made sense in the grand scheme of things. Thirty-seven years have come and gone since then, and I’ve personally contributed to several horror anthologies. Needless to say, I get it now. With that, I gave Cat’s Eye another try last night. Holy crap! I’m so glad I did.

Here is the synopsis:

A stray cat is the linking element of three tales of suspense and horror.

That’s all you need to know going into this and I can’t say much more without going into spoiler territory.

The film was directed by Lewis Teague who was already attached to King by his 1983 film Cujo. These two adaptations may be his best work since his career kind of tanked after that. Perhaps it was that crappy Romancing the Stone sequel? Ack!

The film begins with a stray cat being chased by Cujo. Nope. I’m not shitting you. Then, it almost gets run over by Christine. No, I’m not shitting you. The cat keeps seeing visions of a very young Drew Barrymore who is asking the cat for help. The cat obliges because, it’s Drew freakin’ Barrymore. She grows up to be an amazing person, although the cat probably could’ve warned her about those drug addiction years as a child star.

Drew Barrymore and Corey Feldman (Photo by S. Granitz/WireImage)

Anyway, the first segment is about James Woods wanting to quit smoking. He hires the services of a pretty successful quitting group in order for him to be successful. This group has some sinister influencing techniques. This story is told and filmed brilliantly. I stopped smoking two years ago and my anxiety returned full force while watching this. I’m glad I quit by using much easier methods.

The second segment involves the legendary Alan King playing his best Donald Trump. An Atlantic City Billionaire finds out that his wife is sleeping with the main character from the Airplaine! films. As a professional gambler, King’s character bets Ted Stryker that he can’t walk around the ledge of his building one time without falling. If he’s successful, he gets money, Melania, and a chance to disappear. If not, he falls and dies. Enter here the most diabolical villain in horror movie history: a pigeon. Screw Vader and Voldemort. This pigeon is pure evil.

Finally, the last segment has the cat meeting our young Drew Barrymore as she complains of bad dreams. The parents let her keep the cat – sort of – who discovers the source of the young girl’s nightmares. A legendary battle ensues accompanied by the best The Police song ever recorded. The special effects are mind blowing by 1985 standards and I was impressed quite a bit as a 2023 viewer. Those sets must’ve cost a fortune! Seriously, rewatch the final segment when you finish the film and think about production rather than what’s commencing on screen. Brilliance!

There are so many late seventies/early eighties Stephen King references in this film that it almost feels self-aware. This is by far the best Stephen King adapted film I’ve seen in quite some time, and I wish his more recent offerings were more along these lines. Especially when it comes to modern special effects. IT Chapter Two was a CGI shit show and that newest Pet Sematary adaptation was pure trash. These were King’s magic years, and I can’t wait to see how the upcoming Salem’s Lot film embraces that. Anything is better than that made for television crap everyone knows and loves for some unknown reason.

In conclusion, this movie can be found for five bucks in just about every Wal-Mart bargain bin and streaming service. It’s not a major investment for a good time. Sit back, relax, and let the master storyteller take you by the hand on a journey into his most notable years. Before the dark times. Before the reboots…



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