Based on some Stephen King short stories, Cat’s Eye is a mostly-brilliant three part portmanteau with each story being linked loosely by a wandering cat.
The first two stories are iconic. It leads with Quitter’s Inc. a masterful black comedy of a tale that sees a typically manic James Woods attempt to quit smoking by going to a clinic. He agrees to not smoke under threat of them torturing and killing his loved ones but soon has his willpower tested and each indescretion dealt with by the clinic’s staff all of whom are cigarette-hating, ex-mafiosi.
The story is one of Stephen King’s better efforts and Woods’ performance is unforgetable.
Part two, The Ledge, may not have such an exciting lead actor but the tale is no less iconic. Robert Hays, best remembered for his role in the comedy Airplane!, plays a down-on-his-luck, washed-out tennis pro who ends up in a high stakes wager with a Cressner, a sadistic crime boss. If he wins he gets the money and, more importantly, he gets the girl, who happens to be the crime boss’ wife.
To do this he has to walk around the perimeter of Cressner’s penthouse apartment on a very short ledge. Not easy with gusting winds, a psychotic pidgeon and a playful Cressner armed with a hose.
The Ledge is phenomenal and a great example of one set short story telling.
No portmanteau is ever 100% good though and so the third part, General, isn’t unexpected but is still very disappointing.
The cat finds himself adopted by a very young Drew Barrymore who is being stalked in her bedroom by an evil troll intent on stealing her breath.
After being blamed for killing her parakeet, General is taken away to be euthanised but escapes and returns to do battle with the troll. Yes, it is as bollocks as it sounds.
This weak finish aside, Cat’s Eye is a great portmanteau and well worth checking out for yourself. Especially if you want to see James Woods at his comedic peak.