Eye Of The Cat (1969 USA)

eye LCSan Francisco is a great setting for any film, especially when it was made in the hippie era. This Hitchcockian (written by Joseph “Psycho” Stefano) horror tale is something of a little gem. A hugely enjoyable romp, coming across as sophisticated and hip, featuring some scary and horrific moments, but also blessed with some wickedly funny black humour.

The plot of a sick, reclusive elderly woman living in a mansion with lots of money is nothing new; nor is the arrival of ‘caring’ young relatives hoping to find a place in her will. But the presence of some twenty sinister looking cats seemingly guarding their mistresses’ interests certainly adds a diabolical angle. Michael Sarrazin’s unnatural phobia of the cats adds to the drama, as does Gayle Hunnicut’s murderous nurse. There are some superb scenes like the outstanding Oxygen Tent sequence. The use of a beautiful orange tabby pays off in the oxygen tent scene. Talk about a ferocious pussy!

Stefano injects a few surprises and plot twists, but the scheming people we meet aren’t really very exciting or interesting. Sarrazin, as the main protagonist Wylie, is weak in the presence department. All the other actors make him seem vacuous and shallow. You don’t really care what happens to him. A couple of shock scenes (particularly a well-staged one involving Eleanor Parker trying to make her way up a steep incline in her runaway electric wheelchair) give the picture some much-needed flair, however the resolution is cloudy and the whole tale is much ado about nothing really.

Eye of the Cat 1969 Eleanor Parker

That doesn’t mean its a bad film though. It just meanders in that hazy sixties way. The film is shot beautifully, has a great score and much of the dialogue crackles with the cast walking perfectly between camp and horror. The vaguely incestuous scenes between Wylie and his Aunt Dani (Eleanor Parker) are particularly surprising. Gayle Hunnicutt seems to be enjoying herself as the evil scheming bitch of a hairdresser. About half way through the story we take in a hippy party full of free-loving and eccentric characters who talk trash like: “Isn’t it about time you stopped talking about suicide and actually did something about it?”

Protagonist Wylie carelessly dumped his girlfriend to shack up with the hairdresser and later on there’s a hilariously pointless cat fight between the two women. It is so undignified, lol. But the highlights for me are the intense sequences that revolve around zooming in on a sea of cats moving in slow motion, up and down the spiral staircase. Nice use of slow motion too! Watching this to the very end may even send you into a state of catatonia. I don’t think this has an official DVD release but it can be tracked down in a watery visual state somewhere.

Eye of the Cat 1969 David Lowell Rich

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Comments

  1. Wonderful review, thanks for sharing! Aww the cats look so sweet in that last screenshot ha ha! 🐱

    Like

  2. Thank you 🙂 A cat story is always worth a view.

    Like

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