Whodunit Slashers

Two popular subgenres converge. Film critic Steve Hutchison covers 50 excellent whodunit slashers and ranks them mathematically. A synopsis, five ratings, and a review are provided for each film. How many have you seen?

Cat People

A woman fears she will turn into a cat person if she gets sexually aroused.

 

United States
1942
Feature Film
Realism: 
Surreal
Black & White
Animals: 
Panther
4
The cat's pajamas!
5.04
3.04
6
3.04
1
2
2
Photography
Pace
Plot
Cat People’s premise is particular enough that it keeps you intrigued, which is an exploit considering how slow the pacing is. The main subject matter is subversive. Most of this film is about a woman who thinks she is a descendant of a race of people who turn into cats when sexually aroused. The bad side of such a gimmick is that it has to deliver, at some point... and it doesn't really...
The actors make this a good drama but not much of a horror movie. Their performances meet the standards of their times; a bit rigid, somewhat impersonal and always classy. What doesn’t translate well is the whole supernatural subplot. We’re basically supposed to fear a panther we’re not sure exists. And when it does show up, we’re not sure what we’re seeing.
A lot of things that would otherwise be hard to shoot are depicted through shadows, an ingenious technique that director Jacques Tourneur uses to fit his budget and to avoid dangerous stunts. We spend a good while questioning the existence of the antagonist. The main protagonist is possibly insane, which is the reason there is so much dialogue and so little action.
Alternate Titles: 
The Cat People
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