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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Cat People

Edition 2nd edition
ISBN 9781844576432
Publication Date November 2013
Formats Paperback 
Publisher British Film Institute
Series BFI Film Classics

The influential horror noir Cat People (1943) was the first production from the unit set up by RKO Pictures to make low-cost, high-return horror movies. Producer Val Lewton was handed the title and ordered to come up with a film to fit. He and director Jacques Tourneur created an innovative film that is now legendary for its elliptical style – its emphasis on the terrors of what is suggested but not seen.

Kim Newman considers this ambitious work in light of its place in film history, exploring its relationship with the horror film genre from which it emerges and against which it rebels. Through close analysis, he teases out the layers of meaning and intent that make this at once a supernatural drama and an unusual psychological study.

This second edition features a postscript about the sequel, The Curse of the Cat People (1944), and original cover artwork by Graham Humphreys.

Kim Newman is a novelist, film critic, broadcaster and journalist. He is editor of The BFI Companion to Horror (1997), Science Fiction/Horror: A Sight and Sound Reader (2002) and author of the BFI TV Classic on Doctor Who (2005).

'Cat People'
Afterword: The Curse of the Cat People


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