Significant as the first of the literate, understated horror films Val Lewton produced for RKO in the 1940s, CAT PEOPLE is also notable for playing with audience imagination by refusing to show made-up movie monsters a la
the Wolfman or Mr. Hyde. Although earlier films had linked horror
and sexuality, Tourneur's study of a woman tainted by an ancient Balkan curse was arguably more explicit in this direction than any previous film had been. The result is a haunting and subtle film, filled with desires gone awry and everyday settings turned inexplicably nightmarish.
Immigrant sketch artist Irena Dubrovna (Simon) and all-American architect Oliver Reed (Smith...