Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eye of the Cat (1969) : Scary Movies at Lincoln Center


Director: David Lowell Rich
Stars: Michael Sarrazin, Gayle Hunnicutt, Eleanor Parker, Tim Henry
Genre: thriller, suspense, mystery

Of the limited trifecta of films that I did see at the Scary Movies 5 festival hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center this year, I had the most fun watching Eye of the Cat, though I must admit seeing Poltergeist on the big screen was a trip, too! Eye of the Cat was intended to be a thriller with conniving, but protective killer cats along with their greedy human counterparts, but the cheesy one liners, burnouts with a wheelchair, sexual innuendos, the over dramatic acting, & the smoking of funny cigarettes put this film in a groovy category all by itself! Besides that, the scene when they accidentally tossed the heathcliff looking cat into a toaster oven in the name of self defense really had me curious of what else was on this horror menu!

The lowbrow, silly, & somewhat witty dialogue initiated by a pretty boy, mophead slacker (Wylie-Michael Sarrazin) and his sex kitten partner in crime (Kassia-Gayle Hunnicutt) would combine sinister forces to convince a well to do Aunt (Eleanor Parker) suffering from severe emphysema to change her living will & testament to pass on all her belongings to her favorite nephew, Wylie instead of to her horde of cats as she had originally planned! The nephew disappeared from her life but mysteriously reappears when the wacky couple tries to plot an accelerated death to collect the Aunt’s inheritance. All the while, an under-appreciated nephew (Luke-Tim Henry) remains at the mansion as the caretaker for her. What Luke and Kassia doesn’'t know is that the sick aunt is under the watchful eye of a sea of cats waiting to prance & maul anyone trying to snuff the oxygen out of her bubble despite the sexual tension & favoritism she shows to her favorite nephew!? The real kicker is that Luke has had a tramatic experience with cats from his childhood hence his immobilizing phobia for these creatures!

This movie sort of plays out like a fusion of a Hitchcock mystery grasping hands with a hippie deuce bigalow, male gigolo who unwillingly meets & greets a gang of meat eating, blood seeking horror'ible cats intent in guarding their owner to the last growl! Who is really plotting against who, though? The scenic shots of the hilly streets of San Francisco with some views from the other side of the golden gate bridge as the couple romps in Sausalito would add some sweet sauce to the 1970's style split screen storyboard enhanced with slow motion followed by rabbid moving camera shots to display the frenzy of the felines! Lookout for catfights in pussy form as well as in lady format, too! The eery, screechy musical score from Lalo Schifrin will also inject a suspenseful mood to the atmosphere! There was this imaginary thin line that the film could of easily crossed over to the trashy-campy, skin on skin realm of cinema but the director remained focused with delivering the goods of a mystery thriller!

My only question is what kind of meat were they feeding those cats? It looked like something that zombies would love to feast on!

Eye of the Cat is definitely something to keep an eye out for at your nearest cinema! The best way to appreciate this mystery-thriller is in large screen-film format if possible. I don’t believe that there is a DVD release available, but for those that must stick to their oxygen tank bubble at home, there is a VHS version floating around.

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