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Cat’s Eye (1985)

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Stephen King wrote this three-tale horror anthology centered around a cat who wanders in and out of high-stakes situations. In the first, James Woods stars as a man who joins a mysterious program called Quitters Inc that has an excellent reputation for helping people quit smoking. The secret to their success becomes ominously clear when Woods learns each and every one of his infractions means increasing levels of torture for his wife and daughter. In the second story, a gambling man (Dune‘s Kenneth McMillan) forces his wife’s lover (Airplane‘s Robert Hays) to circumnavigate the high ledge of his penthouse apartment where gusts of wind and wayward pigeons could spell certain doom. And finally, the cat befriends a little girl (E.T.‘s Drew Barrymore) terrorized by a troll living in her bedroom wall. The cat defends the girl against the creature’s first attack, but when mom drops the cat off at the animal shelter, she leaves her daughter defenseless against the monster.

Hard-core horror fans looking for blood and viscera may find Cat’s Eye a little tepid. With its PG-13 rating, it’s geared more toward a general audience looking for a fun time. The last two segments are the most successful ones. Kenneth McMillan gives the film’s most memorable performance as the nefarious gambler, and effects artist Carlo Rambaldi’s work on the troll character holds up well against today’s computer imagery. Director Lewis Teague, who worked with other animals in Cujo and Alligator, gets a good performance out of the film’s title feline. With Candy Clark, James Rebhorn, and Alan King.