The Curse of the Cat People

At this crazy moment, when film history is caught in the grip of multiple clichés that grind on and on and on—puerile revenge + empowerment fantasies (pioneered by Quentin Tarantino), a lazy equation between the mass-marketed and the genuinely popular, an even lazier equation between audio-visual entertainment and technological progress—it might come as a shock to revisit Val Lewton’s nine-film horror cycle for RKO in the ’40s.

I Walked with a Zombie

A nurse leads a catatonic through an expanse of moonlit cane. They pass displays of sacrificed animals before encountering the towering, shirtless, dead-eyed Black man who grants them entry to a private outdoor religious ceremony…