This portmanteau film, directed by Lewis Teague and written by Stephen King, consists of adaptations of two short stories from King’s Night Shift collection and a third story written expressly for the film. As indicated by the title, it’s a Major Cat Movie, the stories being linked rather tenuously by a wandering feline, a Handsome Tabby.
The first segment, Quitters, Inc., is set in New York City and features James Woods as a nicotine addict who discovers the “firm” he has hired to help him stop smoking is none other than the Mafia. The cat is placed on an electrified grid and subjected to minor shocks to demonstrate what will happen to his wife if Woods continues to smoke. (Teague reportedly explained in his director’s DVD commentary that they “persuaded” the cat to jump by blowing air at it. Hmm.)
The Ledge, the second segment, is set in Atlantic City. Kenneth McMillan plays a high-rolling gangster who sadistically puts his wife’s lover (Robert Hays) through a frightening ordeal. The cat is pretty much an onlooker here.
Throughout the film, Handsome Tabby has been hearing the disembodied voice of a little girl pleading for help. He stows away on a train and, in the final segment, arrives in a suburb of Wilmington, North Carolina, where little Drew Barrymore (then 10 years old) is being menaced by a toothy troll (NB, a real troll, not the internet kind) which is stealing her breath at night, the way cats were supposed to do according to old wives’ tales. She calls the cat “General”.
SPOILERS! after the picture.
SPOILERS! Barrymore’s parents are so stupid they think it’s General which is endangering their kid, and sent him to the animal shelter to be put down. But General escapes and fights the troll to the death. Guess who wins. Hurrah!
PS Of course cats won’t steal your breath, but my cat Tiger was perfectly capable of sitting on my head and half-suffocating me out of sheer stupidity (at least, she wanted me to think it was stupidity mwah ha ha! see CAT OF THE DAY 077). So if you ask me, it’s probably not a good idea to leave them alone with babies.