cats eye

A Closer Look at CAT’S EYE on The 33rd Anniversary

It’s been 33 years since we first followed a stray tabby cat in search of a little girl in need. This brief synopsis sounds like a heartwarming story. However, anyone who has watched Stephen King‘s Cat’s Eye knows better. The horror anthology, released April 12, 1985, starred Drew Barrymore as our distressed young girl. Barrymore was only ten at the time of the movie’s release, which happened to fall on the same week of my seventh birthday. As a child I rented the Cat’s Eye VHS quite often. Having seen Barrymore in Steven Spielberg‘s was fascinating for me to see Gertie in a scary movie.

While the film is adapted from his short stories, King actually wrote the screenplay as well. The first two segments, Quitter’s Inc. and The Ledge both appear in King’s 1977 short story collection, Night ShiftHowever, King wrote the final segment, General, specifically for the film. Sadly, he does not make a cameo appearance in Cat’s Eye as he has in several other adaptations. Watching the movie three decades after it’s release brings up a lot of nostalgia, especially for kids of the 80s. But for anyone unfamiliar, here are some things to keep an eye out for.


Here Kitty, Kitty…

cats eye


Quitters, Inc. stars James Woods as Dick Morrison, a man desperate to quit smoking for his wife and daughter. However, he doesn’t expect what Dr. Donatti (Alan King) has in store for him. The good doctor has pretty dire consequences lined up for Morrison should he not stay on the straight and narrow. Our feline friend illustrates one of the torturous predicaments Morrison’s family members could face should he decide to pick up a cigarette again.

The Ledge is a sinister story about what happens when you cheat. Kenneth McMillan stars as evil crime boss Cressner, who is willing to gamble on anything. He even puts money down on certain scrappy tabby’s chances of crossing a busy highway without being struck by a car. Cressner discovers that his wife cheating on him with Johnny Norris (Robert Hays) and decides to set a deadly game in motion. If Norris can survive the game, Cressner will give him everything he desires.

The plucky puss then finds himself in the arms of the little girl he’s been looking for all along. Amanda, played by Drew Barrymore, names the cat General. This final segment of the film is easily the creepiest, and most supernatural. Amanda begs her parents to allow General to stay in her room at night to protect her. However, her parents won’t allow it. They are too concerned about the cat stealing her breath or eating her pet bird. Little do they know there is a bigger threat living within the walls of their house…


“Alan Silvestri’s score sets a distinct mood for the film. Some scenes are more playful, while others are full of dread and Silvestri’s compositions only increase that sense of unease.”


Beyond the cute cat, one of the first things to draw you into the Cat’s Eye is the music. The score is heavy on 1980s synthesizers, but Alan Silvestri’s score sets a distinct mood for the film. Some scenes are more playful, while others are full of dread and Silvestri’s compositions only increase that sense of unease. Listening to the soundtrack on it’s own whisks me back to being an eight-year-old, giddy off the thrill of a horror movie.

A cover of the 1983 hit Every Breath You Take by The Police is also used to great effect in the film. In Quitters, Inc., the song is a stark reminder of the consequences the protagonist will face if he continues to smoke. In the final story, General, the track refers to trolls attempting to steal Amanda’s breath. Not to mention that (Spoiler Alert for a 33 year-old movie) the record is also partially responsible for the troll’s demise.


Cujo Nine Tails


During the first minute or two of the film there are several nods to other works from The King of Horror. From the very first shot we are introduced to a roaming tabby cat. Our homeless hero is chasing a bug down the sidewalk when he suddenly becomes the one being chased! A growling, bloody Saint Bernard dashes from a gated yard and chases the tabby down the street. King fans will not only recognize the Cujo allusion, but also the car that the dog chases the tabby toward. A red Plymouth Fury bearing the bumper stickers: “Rock N’ Roll Will Never Die!” and “Watch out for me. I am Pure Evil. I am Christine.

The third arrives during, Quitters, Inc. James Woods sits watching The Dead Zone and mutters “I have no idea what’s going on in this damn movie anyway. I don’t know who writes this crap!” In General, Amanda’s mother can be spotted reading a copy of Pet Sematary in bed. Perhaps that is why she has such a low opinion of cats?

Overall, Cat’s Eye holds up well after 30+ years. It mingles dark comedy with suspense and horror, and all with a feline actor! What did you love about Cat’s Eye when you first watched it? Sound off on on TwitterInstagramReddit, and in the Horror Fiends of Nightmare on Film Street Facebook group!

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