Giorgio Moroder, an innovative Italian musician and composer as well as producer was selected as the man to deliver an exquisite score for Paul Schrader’s Cat People (1982) a remake of the 1942 classic by Jacques Tourneur. As for those unfamiliar with this flick Nastassaa Kinski portrays a young woman’s sexual awakening which transforms her into a vicious black leopard on the prowl for submission but the dominance needing to mate and feed. Moroder, an award-winning performer of 3-Academy Awards, 3-golden Globes; and 3-grammarys, developed a unique sound using electronic and synth music, that was released on April 2, 1982 by Geffen Records.

The highlight of this album is, of course the first track “Cat People (putting out fire)” by David Bowie, it is a powerful song with a solid bass-line to match; the original track wasn’t available on any of his releases for a long time except for this soundtrack. The title song sets an interesting tone for the opening as the song contains an appealing assortment of instrumentals which primitive-sound, before Bowie’s voice enters in as sultry best. Meanwhile the second track “Autopsy” serves primarily as a background theme, the horror on the screen already working it magic, and “Night Rabbit,” again works to heighten the tensions and using screeches like a mixture of crying babies and wild cats, aiding in delivering shocking moments. The fourth track captives the feeding and hunger of predators over their prey, suggesting the exchange of lust and power, that leads in the sexual suggestive “Leopard Tree Dream”, though it appears to pull the reoccurring theme of the first song into this one, and replaces the essence of how it originally started, this repeats subtlety on Track 7 “The  Myth”. Track 6, “Paul’s Theme (Jogging Chase)” incorporates a bit of military march, but thinking of the film’s subject a leopard (or large cat) on the prowl chasing down its prey, the hunt is on, cunning maneuver into the kill position, a racing heart, pumping blood, lust in the eyes, all transcending each other; goes to show one how the music works a tad better than perhaps the actual film at times.

Track Listing:

  1. Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
  2. The Autopsy
  3. Irena’s Theme
  4. Night Rabbit
  5. Leopard Tree Dream
  6. Paul’s Theme
  7. The Myth
  8. To The Bridge
  9. Transformation Seduction
  10. Bring The Prod

Moroder creates an interesting tension between beast and man, the hunt, fight, lust all intermixed with dream-like sequence, which repeats over and over throughout many of the tracks in various methods, tones, especially incorporating many synthesizers to enrich the sound for the listener’s pleasures. These styles became a mainstay for the composer throughout the eighties with films Flashdance and Scarface, reappearing every so often, that have kept him in to the forefront of other composers in cinematic genres.

While, it’s not my favorite soundtrack of the 1980s, it ranks in as one that’s music held its quality and intrigue many years later and that encourages one to seek out other works performed by the composer and understand a tad more of the essence of man versus beast and the shared qualities we have with them, the music drives one easily into that direction.


Baron’s Rating: 4.0/5.0


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