Evil Cat

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Every fifty years an evil cat spirit returns to find a host to exact revenge against the Cheung family, the chosen guardians of humanity against this diabolical feline phantom. The premise of Dennis Yu’s Evil Cat (1987) isn’t the most original, but it is a lot of fun. Evil Cat carries many of the charms of Hong Kong cinema in the eighties like excessive gore and comedic narrative non sequiturs.

The highlight for me was the performance of Stuart Ong as Mr. Fan. This guy knows his cats and it shows in his work. Ong’s choices put him head and shoulders above the other actors who had to perform as if they had been possessed by a cat. Ong didn’t even really use his hands, instead treating them as clawed swatters to smack people with. Ong is awesome in Evil Cat.

It seems wise that Yu built up to the amount of gore in the third act of Evil Cat gradually, allowing some of those moments to retain their shock value. Evil Cat isn’t short on style by any means. Yu fills the film with deep blues that give it a neo-Gothic quality that was kind of popular in eighties thrillers. There’s also a lot of borrowing from more famous films, albeit in healthy doses and with enough variation that the material doesn’t grow stale. The obvious comparison would be the scene where Mr. Fan’s now possessed assistant terrorizes a police station and when the Terminator does the same in The Terminator (1984).

Evil Cat is a forgotten little gem from the hey day of Hong Kong action films. And like so many of those films it mixes genres in some pretty interesting ways. Fans of this niche or of Liu Chia-Liang would be wise to check this one out. Unfortunately the home video release comes from Fortune Star so the subtitles aren’t very good. However to some, this just adds to the fun.