Monthly Archives: July 2014

The House of Seven Corpses (1974)

The House of Seven Corpses DVD

Television Corporation of America
 John Ireland, Faith Domergue, John Carradine
Directed by: Paul Harrison

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: A hard-boiled director (John Ireland) is struggling to get a low-budget horror movie made on location in a house where seven mysterious deaths have taken place.  Only art starts imitating life when the actors and crew become targets of supernatural happenings themselves.

Featured Feline: The temperamental leading lady of the film-within-a-film is actress Gayle Dorian (Faith Domergue) who has brought her cat, Cleon, to the house while filming.  She carries Cleon when the caretaker shows them around the home and gives them some background into its history.  Cleon appears to be a Snowshoe Siamese (the same breed as Grumpy Cat!)

House of Seven Corpses Cleon cat

At one point Gayle is holding Cleon as she stands in front of a painting depicting a screeching cat’s head on a pitchfork.  Fellow actor Christopher Millan (Charles Macaulay) is standing beside them and starts to pet Cleon.  The cat reacts violently and scratches Millan, who in turn actually slaps the cat!  Later when Gayle retires for the night Cleon hears a noise outside and they both go to the door to investigate.  Cleon ends up running out of the room and disappearing into the night.

House of Seven Corpses Cleon cat on bed

Kitty Carnage Warning! After the opening credits this film is sorely lacking in murders until after the first hour.  The one exception to this is Cleon, whose bisected body is found during an exterior scene filming.  It seems slapping the poor cat wasn’t enough.

Final Mewsings: Real men don’t slap cats!

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Christmas in July (1940)

Christmas in July DVD

Paramount Pictures
 Dick Powell, Ellen Drew, Raymond Walburn, Alexander Carr
Directed by: Preston Sturges

Synopsis: A screwball comedy in the classic Sturges’ style.  Jimmy MacDonald (Dick Powell) is convinced that he will be the winner of a slogan contest held by a nationally recognized coffee company.  His co-workers decide to play a trick on him, sending him a telegraph stating he has won the $25,000 first prize, which sets off a series of events and complications for Jimmy, his girlfriend Betty (Ellen Drew) and everyone around them.

Featured Feline: A black cat appears very briefly near the beginning of the film in a quick sight gag in which Betty is trying to climb down off the roof and falls, scaring the cat away.

Christmas in July black cat running

Later in the film another black cat (quite possibly the same one, although there is no logical reason for the cat to be where it is) approaches them as they talk to the janitor after hours in the office where they work.

Christmas in July black cat rubs legs

Betty asks the janitor if it’s good luck or bad luck when a black cat crosses your path.  “It all depends on what happens next!” the janitor answers wisely.  The cat follows them after that in different scenes, finally following them out of the office and to the elevator as a series of good fortune finally smiles upon the couple.

Christmas in July black cat in hall

The final shot of the film is a classic, with the camera taking a point-of-view shot from the descending elevator, showing the black cat sitting on the floor and then moving down into darkness with the words “The End” coming up.

Christmas in July black cat end

Final Mewsings: This proves it . . . a black cat crossing your path is good luck!

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Species (1995)

Species DVD

 Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Forest Whitaker, Marg Helgenberger
Directed by: Roger Donaldson

Synopsis: A young girl makes a bold escape from a secret government scientific lab and the manhunt for her begins.  But there is more to this fugitive beauty (played as an adult by Natasha Henstridge) that makes her a threat to the future of the planet.

Purr Blur: Near the beginning of the film we see government hit man Preston Lennox (Michael Madsen) as he is heading out on his new assignment to track down the girl.  He hands a long-haired gray cat to an older woman named Jill and thanks her for taking care of his cat while he’s away.

Species cat

Final Mewsings: Just because you kill people for a living doesn’t mean you can’t love a cat.

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Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)

Austin Powers in Goldmember DVD

New Line Cinema
 Mike Meyers, Beyoncé Knowles, Michael Caine
Also Starring: Ted Nude-gent, Mel Gib-skin, Grogg, Chloe
Directed by: Jay Roach

Synopsis: Austin Powers (Mike Meyers) finds out that his father (Michael Caine) has been kidnapped by a dastardy villain named Goldmember (Mike Meyers) who is also working with Powers’ arch-nemesis Dr. Evil (Mike Meyers.)

Kitty Cameos: Mr. Bigglesworth is mostly missing in this third installment of the series.  However, in the beginning of the film we see scenes from a big screen film adaptation of Austin’s life entitled Austinpussy starring big name actors in the various roles.  Kevin Spacey appears as Dr. Evil and is holding a “Mr. Bigglesworth” (Ted Nude-gent and Mel Gib-skin reprised their parts as Mr. Bigglesworth and three month old Grogg played the Mini-Mr. Bigglesworth.)

Austin Powers in Goldmember - Mr. Bigglesworth in Austinpussy

Later in the film we see Dr. Evil and Austin Powers while they are in school together at the British Intelligence Academy.  During the graduation ceremony Dr. Evil is holding a kitten Mr. Bigglesworth (when he still had fur, of course) in his arms.  This part was played by a Persian kitten named Chloe.

Austin Powers in Goldmember - Mr. Bigglesworth kitten

Austin Powers in Goldmember - Mr. Bigglesworth kitten at the Academy

Final Mewsings: Mr. Bigglesworth deserves a movie series of his own!

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The Brady Bunch – “The Honeymoon”

The Brady Bunch Season One DVD

Original Air Date: September 26, 1969
Starring: Robert Reed, Florence Henderson, Ann B. Davis
Also Starring: Tye
Directed by: John Rich

Synopsis: In the pilot episode for the iconic series, widower Mike Brady (Robert Reed) is set to marry widow Carol Martin (Florence Henderson) and combine their respective families, Mike’s three boys Greg (Barry Williams), Peter (Christopher Knight) and Bobby (Mike Lookinland) and Carol’s three girls Marcia (Maureen McCormick), Jan (Eve Plumb) and Cindy (Susan Olsen).  But things get off to a bumpy start when things go haywire at their wedding.

Cat Burglar (Scene Stealer): The sole cause of the Brady wedding going wonky is the fact that the boys bring their dog Tiger to the wedding, forgetting about the girls’ orange tabby cat, Fluffy.  Mike orders the boys to put Tiger in their car but of course Tiger escapes (by the magical contrivance of a power window button when the window’s crank handle is plainly in sight.)  Fluffy is in the backyard and even meows when the groom kisses the bride, but then Tiger shows up and chases Fluffy into the cat’s house.

The Brady Bunch - The Honeymoon cat Fluffy house

The chase then proceeds all around the wedding, over the laps of the guests, under people’s feet, across the buffet table and finally underneath the table holding the wedding cake.

The Brady Bunch - The Honeymoon cat Fluffy runs across table

Later when Carol and Mike are on their honeymoon they start to think about how they had yelled at their children during the wedding’s chaos and decide to go get them and bring them to the hotel to stay with them.  When they arrive at the hotel it turns out that Jan has brought Fluffy along in a case and Alice then walks in with Tiger.  Tiger, of course, would go on to star in the series as a member of the family.  But sadly Fluffy was never seen after this one appearance.  Presumably Fluffy ended up staying with Carol’s parents, who also never appeared again.

The Brady Bunch - The Honeymoon cat Fluffy in carrier

On the show’s season one commentary track, the show’s creator Sherwood Schwartz talked about the difference between filming when using cats and dogs, pointing out that dogs are very trainable and easy to work with but that cats are very different and must be within the trainer’s eyeline.  He went on to explain that it took three to four hours to get the cat to run across the laps of the wedding guests in that one memorable shot.

The Brady Bunch - The Honeymoon cat Fluffy runs over laps

According to The Encyclopedia of TV Pets, Fluffy was played by three cats. The main cat actor was named Tye and was a descendent of the cats used in the film Rhubarb (it isn’t stated whether or not Tye was a direct descendent of Orangey but the similarities are there!) Another one of the cats was named Bigfoot.

Final Mewsings: We wish Fluffy could have remained a permanent part of the Brady household.

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