Cat’s Eye

The pre-CGI era really makes you think.

Take Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye for example. There is very little post-production. If you see it, it was done in front of a camera, which means that the feline protagonist that guides us through a series of three stories is actually imperiled throughout this movie. First he's chased by Cujo, then he’s nabbed and put in a room with an electrified floor.

Cut to Mr. Dick Morrison (James Woods) arriving at the waiting room of “Quitter’s Inc.”, where our hero, let’s call him General, is being held.

Dr. Vinny Donatti  (Alan King) demonstrates the nasty room on our four-legged friend for Mr. Morrison. I’m not exactly a member of PETA, but really? Donatti claims that in order to get Morrison to quit smoking, they’ll put his wife in the electrocution chamber, and each time he smokes something else bad will happen to his family.

So. . . how does this work if you’re single?

But this isn’t about the people! It’s about General! Some bad things happen to the Morrisons, but the cat escapes the lab and finds his way to Atlantic City and crosses paths with Cressner, a gangster who bets on anything. He’s played by Kenneth McMillan, yes, Baron Vladimir Harkonen himself.

Cressner makes a wager that ex-tennis pro (the weirdly ageless Robert Hays) can’t walk around the ledge of his high-rise penthouse. The hero cat finds the whole affair distasteful, but just watches with an expression that’s between bemused and concerned on his feline face.
The Tennis Pro gets the upper hand and makes Cressner walk around the building. He plunges to his doom, so our hero cat begins hitchhiking again to Wilmington, North Carolina, where Drew Barrymore has been psychically beckoning him the whole movie.

Barrymore names him General officially, and her mom hates him immediately-but that's because she doesn’t understand that the brave General is here to save her daughter from a breath-stealing goblin. This part of the movie drags on, because we’re ready for the big showdown. But first, said goblin kills the family parakeet (presumably through some sort of sexual assault judging from the awful laughter) and very nearly gets Barrymore.

General is, of course, not havin’ it, and frightens the beast off.

Barrymore’s mom, of course, blames the cat based on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence and ships General off to another lab where he’s marked for termination. He triumphantly escapes to the pulsing electronic score provided by Alan Silvestri, and even as he hauls ass through traffic and a thunder storm, the goblin is fast approaching. Hurling himself down the chimney, General arrives in the nick of time, ready for an epic battle of good and evil!

Cat Vs. Goblin

General wins and the Barrymore family learns a valuable lesson: when a random animal wanders into your house, assume it’s there to protect your child from supernatural monsters.

This movie’s pretty great, overall. It’s got just the right amount of 80’s cheese, and since our main character doesn’t speak a whole lot of English, half of the humor is in the cat thinking what fools these humans be.