Cat’s Eye (1985)
What’s It About: A three-part collection of short Stephen King stories much like Tales From the Darkside and Trilogy of Terror. Cat’s Eye’s stories are interlaced by one cute tabby cat going from one bad story to the next. Right from the start it stumbles next to a department store window and a ghostly image of Drew Barrymore pleads with the feline to help her because she’s in danger. Then some guy picks up the cat and walks it across the street and we enter our first story, Quitters Inc.
James Woods plays Dick Morrison who is escorted to a clinic to help cure his cigarette addiction. It’s awfully nice for his good buddy to drive him there…and a little weird. In the waiting room Dick almost smokes a cigarette while filling out the medical history form so you know he’s a serious addict. Some other guy waiting there is very distraught. He’s even more distraught when his wife exits the clinic and she starts beating on him. He explains he’s been a life-long smoker. Dick looks confused and rightfully so because if the wife isn’t a smoker why is she at the clinic and limping out of it. Enter a guy who looks a lot like Alan King who walks Dick into his office. In there Alan King locks the door and asks Dick for his pack of cigarettes. Alan King then takes out all the cigarettes, lays them on the desk and like a wild ape starts pounding the hell out of the cigarettes with his fists. He then explains Quitter’s Inc. methods are very radical. But I say wouldn’t chopping the cigarettes into oblivion with a nice axe be MORE radical?
Next, Alan King refuses Dick to leave and forces him to watch the tabby cat be electrocuted in a small booth while a bad cover version of Twist & Shout plays. Dick begs Alan King to stop but Alan King is very strong and subdues Dick. He then explains to Dick that he wants to help him quit and that if he smokes again he will electrocute his wife and daughter and if smokes more someone will rape his wife!! I guess Dick’s insurance plan is very inflexible. Dick will be followed and watched to make sure he won’t smoke another cigarette. Dick is in a bind now as he’s I guess legally, morally and threateningly obligated to quit smoking….cigarettes. How is it possible for a clinic such as Quitters Inc. able to stay above the law and operational with such methods? And why doesn’t Dick (or any other clients) go to the police?
Late one night Dick has the urge. He goes downstairs to find a secret hidden stash of cancer sticks. But before he’s able to light it he hears a noise coming from the nearby closet. He arms himself with an umbrella to confront the stalker. He slowly opens the door and beats up his golfbag when it falls out. He still has good reason that he suspects someone is still in the closet when he sees wet rain boots. He then explains to the boots that he didn’t smoke the cigarette and leaves the room. That’s right he leaves the stalker in the closet in his house.
Then there’s a quick scene/advertisement for Cabbage Patch Kids when Dick gives his daughter one as a gift while she’s at school. Why he couldn’t wait until she got home is anyone’s guess but it’s a fatal mistake as Alan King now knows where his daughter goes to school. Again King reemphasizes the threats that will help stop Dick quit smoking.
Cut to some kind of party with Dick and I think his coworkers with probably the worst cover version of The Police’s Every Step You Take playing in the background. Dick is talking to some douche who is telling some mediocre joke which we can’t get because we came in hearing from the middle of the story. Everyone and I mean everyone at this party is smoking. EVERYONE!!! Even the kids. Well some of it is a hallucination brought on by Dick’s terrible nicotine withdrawal. Now I’ve never been a smoker but I can’t imagine that a couple of days without a puff is going to cause extreme hallucinations but Dick has to leave this party pronto before he caves.
Next we see Dick stopped in traffic waiting for the bridge to come back down and he CAVES! He takes a few puffs in his car. When the traffic starts to move again Dick notices Alan King’s main goon in the convertible next to him. Dick races home to stop the thug from kidnapping his wife. At this point I’m wondering how much is Dick paying Quitter’s Inc? Now he shouldn’t even be involved with such a shady company in the first place but this company must be doing so well as to have 24/7 surveillance to track down and follow a person who wants to quit smoking. It’s not only impossible but insane.
Alan King calls Dick in to the office so he can watch his wife be electrocuted a bit to help him overcome his addiction. When the thug rushes Dick into to see King he yells, “Where’s my wife you turd!” As soon as Dick sees his wife in the electrocution box he overcomes the thug, who’s name is Junk by the way, and tries to break the glass to free his wife. In the melee the tabby cat escapes the office making Junk exclaim, “Oh fiddly sticks!” Hey hey hey watch the language Mr. Junk! This film is PG-13! Alan King yells to Junk to, “Forget the cat, you hemorrhoid!” Turd? Fiddly sticks? Hemorrhoid? Seriously I’m beginning to think Stephen King’s nephew wrote this dialogue. Anyway, the wife gets fried up a bit while 96 Tears plays and Dick is forced to watch in horror; much like we’ve been forced for over 35 minutes now. It’s never explained why golden oldies are played when something is being electrocuted but I thought it would be negative reinforcement for the addict but this never is brought up.
The next scene Dick is being weighed by Alan King and Junk and Dick is laughing with them about his weight gain! So I guess Quitters Inc. isn’t so bad if they even monitor an addicts weight and other vitals. I wonder if they help people with high cholesterol? Anyway Alan King tells Dick that he’s setting his maximum weight at 165 lbs and Dick jokes that if he goes over that they’ll send someone over to Dick’s house with a flamethrower. Alan King laughs and says no we “…send a guy to your house and cut off your wife’s little finger.” HAHAHA. Dick laughs with King and Dick is on his merry little way.
The conclusion to this parable of nicotine addiction ends with a dinner party at Dick’s house with the friend who recommended Quitter’s Inc. to him along with their wives. Dick proposes a toast to Quitters Inc. and when everyone raises their glasses Dick notices his friend’s wife is missing her pinky finger. DUM DUM DUUUUUUUUUUMMMMM. Next story is called, The Ledge.
The Tabby has hitched a ride on a barge to glorious Atlantic City, NJ. It strolls around the boardwalk and comes across an electronics store and the ghostly image of Drew Barrymore again asks for help. Cut to a bigwig named Mr. Cressner who is leaving a casino. He’s a crime boss and casino owner and we figure out his wife is cheating on him but he has a thug named Ducky following her and her lover. but Ducky can wait because Cressner’s friend and girlfriend want to see Dean Martin at the Golden Nugget. All of a sudden we find the tabby cat who’s trying to cross the busy road. Cressner bets that the cat makes it across the road safely while his friend bets the cat bites the big one. The girlfriend says that Cressner will bet on anything to which Cressner shamelessly agrees. He didn’t become such a crime boss by NOT betting on most things, especially other peoples’ lives. I find it funny that he has the time to bet on cats when he’s got a no-good floozy cheating on him. Well the cat makes it, Cressner wins $2,000 and he takes the cat home.
Robert Hays is the lover, ex tennis pro, Johnny Norris, who is making sure the wife of Cressner is safe by getting on a charter bus to upstate New York. On the way out of the station he is kidnapped by Ducky. We know his name is Ducky by the Donald Duck t-shirt he’s wearing. Now I think Stephen King’s niece was the wardrobe assistant. Norris is brought up to Cressner’s posh penthouse suite where he blackmails Norris by taking a wager or else the stash of heroin that one of Cressner’s goons placed in Norris’ car will be found by police. The wager is simple: Norris must walk along the outside ledge of Cressner’s skyscraper and if he succeeds he gets money, the girl and is set free. Well off to the ledge Norris goes.
Slowly but surely Norris inches around the ledge. Cressner of course taunts him along the way. When Norris rounds the first corner he tries to open a window and Ducky is there to stop him. Cressner then opens the other window with a horn and loudly scares Norris that he slips and falls. But it’s OK because he caught himself on the lower floor’s ledge (which how he finished on the initial top floor’s ledge is anyone’s guess). Norris is also taunted by various pigeons, one going so far as to peck his ankles. Last I checked pigeons don’t peck humans unless they’re in a Hitchcock thriller. And this pigeon is relentless, drawing blood and going back even after Norris kicks it a few times. When Norris makes it to a small but convenient alcove he calls the pigeon a “Flying sh!thouse” and punts the pigeon to its death. The Cressner then sprays Norris with a fire hose to get him moving again. He rounds another corner and inches over to the skyscraper’s neon/lighted sign. He attempts to climb it but one of the letters can’t take his weight and Norris almost falls again. Man, he is one strong tennis pro.
Norris did it! He made it all around. When he confronts Cressner he is shocked to learn that yeah he can have the money, the car clean from the planted drugs and even the wife…however the wife’s head was in the same shopping bag as the money. An infuriated Norris attacks the goons and over comes them and Cressner pleads for his life and offers Norris millions of dollars. Norris does what anyone would do in this situation and that’s make Cressner walk the same ledge as he did. Well as you can guess, Cressner falls to his death when another ravenous pigeon attacks him. Next story: The General.
The tabby has made it down the coastline to North Carolina on a freight train and hitches a ride on a pick-up truck to Drew Barrymore’s house. We also see some small creature through its POV racing along the forest also to Drew’s family house. Drew sees the cat, asks her parents if she can keep it and names it General. Why General? It’s never really explained. The parents relent and let her keep the cat. However, not in the house over night. Which is very cruel to let your young children keep a stray but forcing the animal outside at night. What if it left again? Nice deal folks. Drew’s mom tries to explain the stray animal dilemma to her kid that it could be feral and should be checked. Drew’s dad tries to lighten the mood when he jokes that his wife’s mother would say that keeping the animal in her room would entice the animal to steal her breath. Great joke dad.
Drew tries to tell her folks that she has bad dreams lately and that the night General stayed in her room she didn’t have any bad dreams. That night while Drew is asleep a hole appears in her wall and out comes a 6-inch high troll with a jester hat on. This hat also has bells on it which is counterproductive for a troll attempting shenanigans in a little girl’s bedroom. The troll also constantly is making noises, whether it be little grunts, mutterings or growls and he sounds just like Animal from Muppet Babies. The troll kills Polly, Drew’s little parakeet and somehow that doesn’t wake her up. He then crawls onto Drew and closes her nose forcing her mouth open so he can steal her breath. Just then General comes to Drew’s rescue and the troll throws his dagger at him. Drew’s folks come to the room and see that Polly is dead and naturally blame General.
The mother captures General to take him to a shelter. But in time General escapes to go round two with the breath stealing jester troll. That night the troll tries again to steal some delicious rare little girl breath. He puts a door stop under the door so the parents would not interfere too. As the troll is stealing some breath, General races down the chimney that is conveniently in Drew’s room and confronts the troll. All the while Drew is watching this fight but with some breath stolen she is having trouble breathing or screaming. The fight rages on and as General is gaining the upper-hand the troll grabs some helium balloons and tries to fly over General. He lands on a record player and General turns it on; again the lame cover of Every Step You Take is playing and is sped up while the troll struggles to stay on the spinning disc. At what seems like 999 RPMs he can’t and is flown across the room into a oscillation fan shredding him to troll goo. The parents barge in now and Drew has to explain the whole fiasco. Drew then blackmails her folks so she can keep General in exchange for her silence.
The final scene of the whole film is General creeping into the parent’s bedroom where Drew is sleeping and …. He then licks her so she wakes up. And they lived happily ever after.
Is It Actually Scary: No. Not in the least. I can’t even try to embellish this fact. Stephen King basically made a Tales From the Crypt for kids. In place of the Cryptkeeper there’s an adorable tabby cat.
Scariest Moment: If you pop in the DVD, press play and look away or get distracted and the volume’s a tad too high, the MGM Lion roar will be the scariest thing in this picture.
How Much Gore: The only instance of blood or gore is from the troll when he is thrown into the oscillation fan. The fight earlier he stabs General with his wavy dagger. That is all.
Dumbest Moment: James Woods character Dick Morrison is the dumbest moment in this flick. From never taking action against Quitters Incorporated or better protecting his family from them to befriending them and still going along with their malevolent policies. He’s the epitome of a huge jackass.
Any Nudity: Unfortunately my naked eyes had to watch this. I owe them a huge apology.
Overall: I’m not a huge Stephen King fan. Never was. I never read any of his stuff but I have seen most of his film adaptations and most are awful. The Shining I like but ask anyone and they all know it’s nothing like the book. I also grown to like Pet Sematary but more for comical reasons. However I really don’t hate King even though I don’t think he’s a genuinely original writer. Most of his books are variations of other horror stories or legends and that’s OK; but weak. However, he’s not making me like him any little bit with this movie which was the first one King personally wrote the screenplays for. It’s not technically horror nor thriller, especially the first two stories which are more or less crime stories. They are hardly interesting or entertaining and most of the actors phoned it in, especially James Woods. I could probably go on and on about how much this wasted my Schlocktoberfest time but I’ve already devoted too much time to it as it is so I will call it a day.Score: 2 (out of ten)