Cat Behavior

Cats in Horror Stories and Why We Love Them

Cats in Horror Stories and Why We Love Them

So you've chosen to hunker down with a good horror story this Halloween - why not pick something that both you and your feline cohorts can enjoy? Cats have been the object of epic tales for ages. Many of these stories are exciting or heartwarming. Others, however, are decidedly spooky. Cats in horror movies abound, and today, we will be looking into some of the most spine tingling! We'll also try to figure out why kitties are so prevalent in the horror genre, and look into the many ways the are depicted.




Cats in Horror: Why are They so Popular?

Although we are pretty enamored with kitties at this point, some would argue that despite their absolute lovableness, they do tend to have a rather... sinister side. I mean... their deceivingly soft appearance masks an unholy killing machine the likes of which the world has never seen! All right, that's a bit much, but there's no denying that they are fantastic hunters, and if you were an alien visiting from another planet, you'd be pretty shocked to discover just how much pointiness all that fluff covers!

For those reasons alone, it's no surprise that cats in horror stories are fairly common. But there's certainly more to it than that. From the Middle Ages association with witches, the haunting tales of the 19th century, all the way to the shape-shifting, anthropomorphic, and zombified felines of today, cats have had a big part in spooky story-telling. There's no clear reason as to why they've become so popular in horror culture, but to some extent, the fact that they are a part of our everyday lives plays a part. We see them all the time, live closely with them, treat them like family, yet we never truly know what's on their minds. We often ascribe them with certain thoughts and feelings, usually positive, but it's just as easy to attach more ominous motives to their actions. Tie in the fact that, as I mentioned earlier, they're a peculiar combination of soft and sharp, and bam! horror movie material all the way!

How Cats are Depicted in Horror

Cats in horror movies and stories usually take on only a handful of common tropes. In many cases, they simply appear as a whisper - a shadow against the wall, a soft billowing breeze that whips against a pant leg, an inaccessible form that bewitchingly bats a ball with a spirit-sensitive child. In other cases, they take on a more malevolent form, usually as a haunted or possessed creature that has lost all control of its senses, and has given in to the powers of demons, witches, or angry ghosts.

In more aggressive formats, cats are reanimated. Their return from the dead is rarely pleasant; they usually reappear as vicious animals with either a taste for vengeance or a mindless need to destroy. In more benign, but equally compelling, roles, felines may be neither good nor evil, but simply a conduit for the mental disarrangement of otherwise guilty human protagonists. In this case, the cat itself may either be alive or a haunting spirit. Though less common, kitties might also appear as heroes, usually as sidekicks that save their people from menacing creatures.

Top 10 Best Cats in Horror Movies

Now that you know a little something about cats in horror, you're probably ready to dig in and watch some good ol' fashioned scary movies. Here's a list of 10 fantastic scary movies featuring cats!

Eye of the Cat (1969)

Admittedly, to modern viewers, this movie is less scary and more kitschy; however, if camp is your style, this is a fun film. The story features Wylie and Kassia, a couple out to rob Wylie's well-to-do but eccentric aunt. Little do they know, his aunt is the ultimate "crazy cat lady," and their attempt is foiled - rather gruesomely!

The Cat (2011)

A claustrophobic pet groomer is asked to take in the cat of a deceased client. After taking the feline home, she begins to see eerie specters, and finds that those around her begin to die. Is it her new kitty companion or something more sinister?

The Voices (2014)

A jovial gentleman looking to expand his love life is crushed when his date stands him up. Sounds like a romance, huh? Not so much, as things quickly get more than a little gruesome when he's led astray by his malevolent talking cat.

The Cat with Hands (2001)

An old folk tale tells of a cat living in a well who yearns to be human, and so, collects the body parts of unsuspecting people. Wanting to know if the story is true, an elderly gentleman leads a young man to the well - with predictably spooky results! This is admittedly a short film, but well worth the watch.

The Corpse Grinders (1971)

Another fantastically campy title, The Corpse Grinders is about a failing cat food company that finds alternative means to cheapen their supply. The consequences of this decision leads to an all out horror show with the local kitty community!

Más Negro Que la Noche (1975)

Also called "Blacker than the Night," this Gothic horror film features four women who move into an inherited home with, of course, the condition that they care for a resident black cat. When the cat is found dead, strange things begin to occur, like odd voices and visions, creepy sounds, and mysterious murders!

Uninvited (1988)

Escaping from an evil research lab, an adorable, but virus-infected, feline goes on a killing-spree. Eventually it finds itself on a yacht crawling with bikini-clad girls and gangsters, where it continues its murderous rampage. The plot may seem a bit... well... light, but there's no denying that this is pure 1980s schlock entertainment!

The Night of a Thousand Cats (1972)

A rich playboy seduces young women, takes them back to his creaky old castle for a bit of romance, then dispatches them. The last part is what matters in this story, as his whole purpose, as a dutiful crazy cat man, is to feed his ravenous horde of human flesh-loving kitties!

The Shadow of the Cat (1961)

After a cat sees her mistress murdered, the loving and devoted feline makes it her mission to stalk, hunt, and destroy her owner's nefarious killers!

Sleepwalkers (1982)

No list of cats in horror movies would be complete without a Stephen King film! I'm going to bypass Pet Semetary, as you have almost certainly seen or read it, so instead, I give you Sleepwalkers! A story of romance, intrigue, and soul-sucking cat-people, this film is about a supernatural mother and son duo who move to a small Indiana town to seek out their next victim.

Conclusion

Now that you have some inspiration, cozy up and pop on that scary movie... just be sure to hold your kitty close - chances are, he'll be every bit as creeped out as you are!





Feature image by Dorothe via pxhere under CC0 1.0


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