Release Date(s)1985 (October 18, 2016)
Studio(s)Warner Home Video
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: C-
I think it’s safe to say that after the release of Creepshow, Stephen King must have caught the anthology film bug. This might explain why the next screenplay he wrote was Cat’s Eye. Over the course of King’s career, many filmmakers have taken stabs at his short stories and adapted them for either television or the big screen. Cat’s Eye was arguably the first to approach this concept, as King adapted two of his own stories and added a third that was brand new.
Directed by Lewis Teague, whom genre fans might recognize as the director of Cujo and Alligator, Cat’s Eye is interesting in that each story has its own style and personality. They’re are linked to the presence of a cat, which wanders in and out of each narrative, playing mostly a smaller part until the end. The first story, Quitters, Inc., tells of a man (James Woods) who seeks a company’s help in giving up his smoking habit. Little does he know that they’ll do almost anything to keep him smoke-free. The second story, The Ledge, is about a man (Robert Hays) who’s been messing around with a crime boss’ wife. Once caught, the boss forces the man to walk out on a thin ledge surrounding his penthouse building; if he succeeds he’s free to go with the wife and some cash. The third story, General, follows the aforementioned cat into the home of a young girl (Drew Barrymore), who is convinced that a troll is appearing at night to terrorize her in her bed. Quitters, Inc. definitely pushes the weird in some places, while General acts as a mini monster movie. And all three have nods to King’s other work, including Cujo, Christine, Pet Sematary, and The Dead Zone.
Warner’s new Blu-ray of Cat’s Eye features a fresh new HD transfer and the results are spectacular. It’s easily the best that this film has ever looked on home video; Jack Cardiff’s lovely cinematography is well-represented here. Grain levels are unobtrusive and even throughout, revealing a vast amount of detail, depth, and clarity. The color palette is very naturalistic, but skin tones often feel a bit too orange at times. Deep blacks reveal some good shadow detailing, while brightness and contrast levels are satisfactory. This is a clean presentation given the film’s age. Two audio tracks are available: English 2.0 DTS-HD and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital. The DTS offers a very good stereo presentation, with mostly front and center dialogue and sound effects, as well some added directionality and ambience. The score has plenty of room to breathe in the mix and surprising low end activity can be felt. There are subtitles in English SDH, French, and Spanish for those who might need them.
The extras are brief, but have been carried over from previous DVD releases. They include a good audio commentary with director Lewis Teague and the movie’s original theatrical trailer.
It’s strange how little people talk about Cat’s Eye these days. Though other Stephen King adaptations have probably overshadowed it, the film offers an excellent trio of stories, shot beautifully and with terrific performances by both the cat and the human actors. Cat’s Eye deserves a second look and Warner’s Blu-ray is the best way to do so.
- Tim Salmons