Stephen King has a long string of films adapted from his work. Some have been
good, some bad, and occasionally you get something like "The Shawshank Redemption."
More often than not, the films fail to capture the essence of King's stories
and they fall short of the printed work. In an attempt to capture the popularity
of King's plethora of short stories in the 80's, director Lewis Teague
attempted to translate three of them to the silver screen in Cat's Eye.
The stories are linked, only in the loosest sense, by a wandering cat we later
learn is somewhat special. Leading off this trilogy of stories is an adaptation
of King's "Quitters, Inc." James Woods is Dick Morrison, a
businessman who wants to quit smoking. He enlists the aid of a company that
promises results, but he may not like the methods in which they deliver. It's
an interesting story and one that was slightly ahead of it's time regarding
smoking and addiction in the mid-80's. Not terribly creepy and more like
and episode of Tales from the Dark Side or the Twilight Zone, it does feature
a fine performance by Woods.
The second story is more of the same and is an adaptation of "The Ledge."
Robert Hays is Johnny Norris, a tennis pro with a problem. It seems he's
slept with the wrong woman and her gambling husband wants to frame him for her
murder. In order to avoid disaster, the gambler offers him a way out. He has
to walk around the ledge of a skyscraper. Featuring a slight twist at the end,
it's still not a movie material story.
With the first two out of the way, the third and only original story starts.
The wandering cat is again captured and this time it's actually for good.
Amanda wants to keep the cat, but her mother says that cats steal little girls'
breaths and that she won't have the animal in the house. What her mother
doesn't know is that trolls really do the breath stealing and it's
up to kitty to save Amanda when a troll threatens to take hers. This extremely
silly story is balanced with a competent looking troll, but again it's
not movie material. I remember loving this sequence when younger, but I guess
the years have not been kind.
Overall, this is really just a collection of low-budget stories tied together
in a movie format. Better stories have been seen on all of the similar themed
serial television shows like the Twilight Zone. Pick it up for a dose of nostalgia
and a menacing troll in a jester's hat getting thrashed by a cat.
Video: For a 15-year old film with a minimal release, the
widescreen 2.35:1 transfer looks good. It's a little dark overall, but
there are no glaring errors and the sharpness and contrast all look nice.
Audio: The Dolby Digital Stereo Surround track, unlike the
video, shows its age. It's mastered low and the vocals and sound don't
match evenly at times. There's not much to hear in the way if effects
and the overall sound isn't great, but serviceable.
Extras: For a budget disc like this, director Teague offers
up an interesting commentary. He reveals many of the tricks they used to complete
the film and the effects shots. It's not the best commentary ever, but
considering the film, it's great. The standard trailer and cast and crew
highlights are here as well.
Overall: Pick this disc up on the cheap for an interesting
combination of stories and a good commentary from a director that enjoyed his
work. At least give it a rent and see if you remember like it was the first
time you saw it.