Cat's Eye (1985)
December 13, 2022 12:31 PM - Subscribe

Three short stories by shock-meister Stephen King are linked by a stray cat that roams from one tale to the next in this creepy triptych that begins as Dick (James Woods) tries to quit smoking by any means necessary. Next, we meet Johnny (Robert Hays), an adulterous man who's forced by his lover's husband onto a building's hazardous ledge. Finally, Amanda (Drew Barrymore) is threatened by an evil gnome who throws suspicion on the family cat.

Also starring Alan King, Kenneth McMillan, Candy Clark, James Naughton, Tony Munafo, James Rebhorn, Mary D'Arcy, Jack Dillon, Susan Hawes, Shelly Burch, Sal Richards, Jesse Doran, Patricia Kalember, Mike Starr, Charles S. Dutton, Laura Warner, Frank Welker.

Directed by Lewis Teague (Cujo).

70% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently available for digital rental in the US. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Rewatched this recently and it held up pretty well. The Quitters Inc section is my favorite. James Woods knows how to chew some scenery, and I like the party sequence. I also didn't notice as a kid (and why would I?) that Drew Barrymore pops up in every section in a different role, so that was fun. As an adult, I felt the entire movie walked a nice line between suspense and camp, though nostalgia may admittedly play a factor.

Personal trivia: My wife will not rewatch this as a adult, as the breath-stealing gnomes still weird her out. She manages to bring it up in random conversation about twice a year.
posted by mrphancy at 12:48 PM on December 13, 2022 [2 favorites]

You'd think The Ledge would be difficult to adapt given how much of it is about the protagonist's internal state but Cat's Eye takes a decent swing at it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:58 PM on December 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm with your wife, DirtyOldTown - I saw this when I was seven or eight and had nightmares about that gnome for years. I rewatched this a year or so ago and also found that it really held up, particularly for Stephen King short story adaptations.
posted by odd ghost at 2:39 PM on December 13, 2022

That was mrphancy's wife. Mine was a (Communist) Pioneer girl in Romania when this came out. Her nightmares are entirely different.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:06 PM on December 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

this was a heat-seeking missile that hit me in the bullseye for all my just-entering-teens checklists of DnD and living in a remote area and friends are basically anyone with a pulse and when you rented VHS movies it was a bit of an occasion, and of course cats vs. evil little goblin creatures for the finale

never rewatching this, the memory exists and that is all I need
posted by elkevelvet at 3:09 PM on December 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed this one quite a bit when I was young, but always considered it a lesser version of Creepshow. Thinking back on it now, however, I think Cat's Eye ultimately did the better job of capturing the essence of a typical 80s era Stephen King short story (an average Joe Schmoe whose life devolves into chaos when he suddenly finds himself caught up in something sinister) especially the first two proper segments—Quitters Inc. and The Ledge.

It makes me wish one of the big streamers would tackle the entirety of one of King's 1980s short story collections—Night Shift or Skeleton Crew—as an anthology series.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:36 PM on December 13, 2022 [5 favorites]

Atom Eyes, King has instituted the peculiar and (for what might potentially be very lucrative IP) rather generous institution of Dollar Babies; basically, for $1, aspiring filmmakers can adapt one of his works for which the rights have not yet been sold or optioned. A bunch have been produced.

These stories hit pretty hard for me--"Quitters Inc." because of my own experience with recovery, and "The Ledge" because I'm an acrophobe. A lot of those early stories really are corkers, and it's kind of amusing that King, who was always strapped for cash before selling Carrie, sold many of them to third-rate porn magazines who were trying to pass the Miller test. "The Raft" (which ended up being a segment in Creepshow 2) is actually a recreation of an earlier version of the story that King sold to a porn publisher and later found out that he didn't keep a copy of for himself, and has no idea if it was ever actually published or not.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:08 AM on December 14, 2022

Alan King is great in this.
posted by davidmsc at 9:12 AM on December 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

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