Written by Stephen King & directed by Lewis Teague, Cat’s Eye is an anthology horror film comprised of three stories surrounding a cat. One which plays a minor role in the first two and is a major part of the third.
With a fairly well known cast that includes James Woods, Drew Barrymore & Robert Hays; Cat’s Eye has a bit more credibility from the start. Especially as the first two are adaptations of short stories in Stephen King’s Night Shift collection, with the third being a unique story.
The anthology begins with a stray cat hiding on a truck from a dog that takes it to New York. Here the cat is contacted by the disembodied voice of a girl who asks for its help. The cat is then captured by an employee of Quitters, Inc.
Quitters, Inc. also happens to be the title of the first short.
Dick Morrison (James Woods) wants to stop smoking & is told about a revolutionary new company that have a 100% success rate thanks to their unique methods. An example is shown involving the captured cat with it being locked in a cage & tortured with an electric floor.
The deal is simple, every time Dick smokes a cigarette, increasingly horrific events will befall his wife and child. What more motivation do you need to quit smoking? Well, unfortunately Dick struggles & discovers that Quitters, Inc. are deadly serious about their methods.
Utterly brilliant, Quitters, Inc. is a harrowing but extremely entertaining film. It’s tense & anyone who has ever tried to kick a habit like smoking can relate to Dick’s temptation. He suffers & every time he gives in so does his family. The ‘matter of fact’ way that Quitters, Inc. act is where the really horrifying part of the film comes to a head. It will keep you hooked & pays off in a fantastic, darkly comedic way.
The second story, The Ledge sees the cat having escaped Quitters, Inc. taken the ferry & ending up in Atlantic City. This cat gets around & it’s here it hears the disembodied voice again. The cat becomes part of a wager between gambler & former pro tennis player, Johnny Norris (Robert Hays) and crime boss Cressner (Kenneth McMillan). Cressner will bet on anything & wagers that the cat will get across the busy road in one piece, which it does. Impressed he takes the cat home & kidnaps Norris.
It turns out that Norris has been having a relationship with Cressner’s wife. As revenge Cressner makes Norris an offer, circumnavigate the thin & dangerous ledge that goes around his penthouse at the top of a skyscraper. If he makes it, Cressner will let him go & give his wife a divorce. If he fails? Well, it’s a long drop.
Unlike most deals though Norris can’t really refuse as Cressner will have him arrested for drug possession.
What follows is a tense experience as Norris attempts to win the wager while Cressner does everything possible to make him fall. It’s a very entertaining to watch & the chemistry between the two actors is excellent. Its payoff is delightful.
The final story sees the cat take centre stage as I hops on a train to Wilmington & is adopted by a little girl who calls him General which is also the title.
It seems as though this where the disembodied voice was trying to get the cat to go as at night the little girl is attacked by an evil little troll that is living in the walls.
The worst of three, General lacks an interesting story & the fight between the cat & the troll goes on for ages! It wraps up the cat story well but it’s the one that is the most forgettable.
Overall though, Cat’s Eye is a well told anthology that feels like a complete film. The stories connect together really well & the acting is solid all the way through.
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