Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye is a remarkable film. During Stephen King’s first cinematic hay day in the 1980s, anthology movies and shows were in fashion. While television programs like the new Twilight Zone and Tales From the Darkside astounded television audiences, movies like Creepshow excited the theater going fans. After the success of King’s Creepshow he doubled up and brought forth his next anthology gem, Cat’s Eye. Mr. King’s seventieth birthday was just a few weeks ago, so we are looking back on Cat’s Eye and what makes this film such a joy to watch.
Fresh off the success of King’s Firestarter, young Drew Berrymore was cast in another King film, this time the anthology Cat’s Eye. Although not in full action until the third act, Berrymore is the glue that holds this feline masterpiece together. She serves as a sort of narrator between the stories, calling out in desperation to her furry savior. The film is in three short stories. The first two are adaptations taken from King’s short story collection Night Shift, and the third act is entirely original to the film itself.
The first story stars a young James Woods as wanna be quitter Dick Morrison, and is titled Quitters Inc. Dick is persuaded by his friend to join Quitters Inc., a unique program to stop smoking. Through unique measures, worse and worse things happening to Dick and his family, the company is determined to make him quit. They first display their methods to Dick by locking an alley cat they have caught in an electric filled room, watching it jump. As a child this scene traumatized me, i was upset for the cat, not really understanding what the intentions were for poor Dick.
There are various scenes throughout this short journey that cements itself into the reader’s mind. The major one for me is a dinner party that Dick attends, where he mentally (or not?) perceives the owner of Smokers Inc. dancing down the stairs singing the Police’s iconic song Every Breath You Take. I’m not going to spoil all the fun for those of you who have not seen this film, but let’s just say it ends in typical Stephen King fashion.
Round two of this movie is titled The Ledge and is a breathtaking journey all it’s own. The story takes place in Atlantic City, a town that was enjoying a renaissance all it’s own in the eighties and has since gone down hill. Johnny Norris is romantically involved with a woman that is married to a gambler and crime boss by the name of Cressner. Cressner, a man to bet on anything, offers Norris a bet of his own; if he can circumnavigate the outside of the high rise apartment complex, Cressner will offer his wife a divorce allowing Norris and Mrs. Cressner to be together. However, and here’s the kicker, if he refuses he will have Norris set up on a possession of drugs charge that will send him away for a long time and leave his love to the grimy hands of her husband.
Norris agrees and is left to not only traverse his way around the skyscraper, but to endure multiple tests of endurance that Cressner places on him. This is a great short for its time and one that the viewer will not soon forget. Since my intention of writing this article is for the reader to want to watch this great piece for the first time, again I will not reveal the ending. But it’s one to keep you on your toes!!!
The third and final installment in this grand anthology is titled General. Drew Berrymore plays Amanda, a young girl that is haunted every night by a troll that lives within her walls. Her cat General, the same cat that has been traveling to her the entire film, helps to keep the troll away. However, there is one problem; Amanda’s mom doesn’t want General in the house and begins to put her out every night. The mother is put off by the cat, claiming that cat’s steal children’s breaths in their sleep. One night the troll comes through the wall and kills the parakeet Polly that stays in Amanda’s room.
Amanda’s mom is pissed and takes General to the animal shelter where he will be euthanized the next day. While the cat is away, the troll once again emerges from the wall and attempts to steal Amanda’s breath. General escapes the animal shelter as the staff is coming in to feed him his last meal and runs home entering the house via the chimney.
Then comes the showdown between the troll in the wall and General. The cat stands firm for her little girl and best friend, doing what she needs to do ending in a spectacular flight.
Cat’s Eye is a truly fun film, and one that mixes well with the rest of King’s cinematic films. If you have never had the chance to see this film I highly recommend it. Cat’s Eye is currently available on Blu-ray and DVD.