Paul (Joseph) Schrader David Denby - Essay

David Denby

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[In Cat People] Schrader and screenwriter Alan Ormsby are trying for an obsessive "dark" myth of monstrous couplings, births, transformations. The movie is full of blood-stained floors and sheets, steaming, gelatinous gunk, alligators moaning in the night. [The original storyline] has been crassly refashioned so as to produce juicy Freudian horrors—sex as annihilation, as ultimate taboo—and after a while we seem to be watching not the possibilities that were always inherent in the material but the mucky personal fantasies that have been loaded onto it.

Paul Schrader's last two films, Hardcore and American Gigolo, were also weighted with a heavy load of sexual obsession; by...

(The entire section is 576 words.)