Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Genre Character of the Week: Oliver Yates

Last weekend I finally got around to seeing the 1982 movie Cat People (a remake of the 1942 original), which my wife has been shocked that I, a guy who loves monster movies, had never gotten around to seeing.  Interestingly for me, although the movie definitely focuses on the were-cat creatures (whoops - sorry for the mild 30-year-old spoiler) played by Malcolm McDowell and Nastassja Kinski (who were both great in the film, btw), the character of Oliver Yates, played by (John Heard), was the stand out, and this weeks genre character.

Oliver is a zoo curator - basically the guy behind the purchasing, selling and handling of the animals in the New Orleans zoo, when he meets a strange girl named Irena.  What starts as a strange romance actually ends up as a terrifying, all-consuming relationship for him.  What I like about Oliver (and this definitely comes down to the actor) is how well the audience can see how quickly he is drawn into the world of this strange, mystifying girl.

The movie is pretty graphic, both in terms of violence and sex, and although it doesn't have the classic status of the 1942 original, it may be (although it was twenty years too early for the trend) and remaining of the original, wherein we look at the story from a different point of view and maybe understand the monsters a little more.

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