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Why Cat People is the perfect Halloween movie

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Courtesy Everett Collection

Prolific filmmaker Mickey Keating released two pulse-raising movies this year: the haunted house tale Darling and the survival-thriller Carnage Park, which The Mind’s Eye director Joe Begos recently recommended as one of his perfect Halloween watches. But what does Keating himself suggest readers check out on this spookiest day of the year? The answer is 1942’s Val Lewton-produced, Jacques Tourneur-directed, Cat People, about a woman who believes she is descended from a race of people who turn feline when aroused.

“I think it’s truly one of those films that makes you terrified of the dark,” says Keating. “The sound design is so brilliant and the tension is razor sharp — especially in the scene where Jane Randolph races from street light to street light as the footsteps behind her get closer and closer. But then they just stop. All at once. And she realizes something’s wrong. Pure suspense. That’s a scene I think should be taught at every film school, because it is the definition of editing rhythm — it’s all the more incredible because there isn’t a bit of score. The bus that shows up at the end still makes me jump. Cat People creates the ultimate fear of walking home alone at night, but it’s also magical and has this fantastic mythology, which I think makes it the perfect film to watch on Halloween.”

Carnage Park is released on Blu-ray by Scream Factory on Tuesday. You can see the trailers for Cat People and for Carnage Park, below.