Cat's Eye (Lewis Teague, 1985, USA/Netherlands)

Conceived as a vehicle for Drew Barrymore by producer Dino De Laurentiis, Cat's Eye is an anthology horror film - one of many released in the early to mid-1980s (CreepshowTwilight Zone: The Movie, etc.). Despite their lack of commercial success, such anthology films were churned out during this period. Cat's Eye is also the first work that Stephen King wrote directly for the screen. The film combines adaptations of two of his short stories from the 1978 collection Night Shift - "Quitters, Inc." and "The Ledge" - along with a third original story known as "The General." 

Watching it now, it is easy to see that the third segment - with its troll (created by the legendary creature effects artist Carlo Rambaldi) - was meant more for kids, capitalizing on the success of Gremlins and the like. It's the most absurd of the three tales and holds up the least, although its ridiculousness is enjoyable. The first segment - "Quitters, Inc." - starring James Woods, is probably the strongest. It is one of King's first stabs at dark humor onscreen, and it works surprisingly well. This is helped in large part by the performance of James Woods as well as Alan King as the slimy mob boss who runs Quitters, Inc.

"The Ledge" is a somewhat weaker tale, owing primarily to its visual effects. Still, it manages to be entertaining. The film is anchored by a story involving a cat. The cat is one of the highlights of the film. While the film wasn't a box office success, it is nevertheless one of the stronger adaptations of King's work in Night Shift. Of note also is the electronic score by Alan Silvestri, who would go on to work on several major films including Forrest Gump and The Avengers.



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