The interpretation offered by Amlethus a few posts below is spot on. When viewed in this light, the film is one heck of an accomplishment. This is not a horror film in the same respect as the first, or even the rest of Lewton's filmography. It's an examination of childhood fantasy and the response from a father who went thru the events of the original Cat People.
There are a lot of people who don't like this film. I think it's done something amazing. It took the lead male from the first film & showed his psychological response to how he interpreted the mystic that is in the first film. We see this in how he reacts to his 8 year old daughter’s youthful imagination. He suffocates her. There are NO CAT PEOPLE. And this film can stand alone. Amazing, better than Cat People.
I find this to be better than Cat People, even though the title makes it sound like a cheap sequel. The Curse of the Cat People captures the magic of childhood imagination, portraying it as a simultaneously frightening and dazzling place. The eeriest thing to me though was "Amy's first spanking"...There's something about the way that was phrased that just gives me the creeps.
3.5 stars. This dreamy film is nowhere near as frightening as "The Night of the Hunter" but it has a similar stylized dread. Both are told from the point of view of children. In this one, the dim father seems closest to being the villain, but he is just misguided. In the other, the stepfather is truly the nightmare villain for all time.
This is like a Twilight Zone ep through a child's eye. The title is a bit misleading as this is a much different type of story than the original Cat People. Wouldn't really classify this as horror, more like stepping back in time and embracing the wonder and dreamlike quality of childhood, which unfortunately fades all too quickly
The RKO people were a bunch of money hungry idiots for wanting the title to tie-in with Cat People. If you know beforehand that this is not a direct sequel per se, there's a better chance to understand the film. Despite the marketing, this isn't horror, but more like a hazy and gentle story about a sensitive child and her imagination. Carter is an absolute darling and very convincing.