Setting Sail With The Kitty From Hell

Once in a while I like to wander around YouTube looking at all sorts of weird and obscure stuff, the kind of stuff which sometimes turns out to be a trailer for a largely forgotten movie so whacked out that I feel an unreasoning and irresistible compulsion to hop on Ebay and buy it. Such is how I came to be in possession of a low budget 1980s horror called Uninvited. Uninvited is a story about a cat, but not any ordinary cat. Oh no, this is a feline fury, a monster moggy, a psychopathic mouser on as gruesome a killing spree as the special effects budget could manage – it is, as you may have gathered from the title, a cat from hell! Well, strictly speaking it’s a cat from a research lab where highly suspect and probably unethical experiments are being carried out, but the result is nonetheless an amusingly inept one. On the safe assumption that unlike me you won’t go out and buy this slab of cheese, I will make no attempt to withhold any details of the plot. In other words, spoilers ahead.


As this celluloid train wreck gets under way we find the protagonist of our tale – a Nice Orange Kitty sporting the almost unbearably cute moniker of XT618 – attempting to bust out of a genetic research facility where he has apparently had enough of being poked and prodded by Julliard rejects in surplus lab coats. After much running around and a fusillade of loud meows suspiciously reminiscent of a cat being prodded with a fork by an underpaid stagehand, XT618 is rendered unconscious by a tranquilizer dart. It is at this point that the lump which researchers had diagnosed as a tumor is instead revealed to be a second and rather ill-tempered cat residing within Nice Orange Kitty. This second feline is a dark, gnarly-looking individual who erupts through his host’s mouth, tears chunks out of the facility’s staff, then lets his innocuous-looking friend make his escape by retreating back into what we can only assume is a very dank and messy hideout.


Not long after we are witness to this momentous event, a couple of highly decorative but somewhat befuddled gals are invited by a rich, shady businessman named Walter ( you can tell he’s shady because he has a cheesy moustache and hangs around with a very large man whom he refers to as his “associate”) to join him for a midnight party on his yacht. Strangely enough, the girls seem to arrive at the yacht on a bright and sunny morning, a circumstance which seems to puzzle nobody except the poor viewer, who is left wondering whether the movie is set not in the stated location of Fort Lauderdale but rather in one of those regions commonly lumped under the term “Land Of The Midnight Sun.”


Just as our two eye-catching eyefuls and a predictable assortment of frat boys – a brain, a jock, and a preppy type – that they picked up over drinks are about to board the boat, who should the girls happen to find inexplicably trapped inside a locker? Surprisingly, it is none other than our old friend XT618, who one of the girls decides must be saved from any possible dissection through inclusion in the upcoming nautical shenanigans. XT618, however, does not seem to relish this idea, and struggles wildly in the actress’ arms. Perhaps this is simply a case of a cat not wanting to be surrounded by all that water, perhaps he longs to escape the film set so he can track down and garrote his agent, or maybe the poor creature is merely bewildered as to why, unlike most nights, this one is so blindingly bright. But whatever the reason, our mutant moggy gives the impression that he would rather be back in the lab with several electrodes in his brain and a tube up his stern than trapped on a ship crewed by a bunch of cardboard cutouts.


Once on board the frivolity is quick to ensue. First to fall victim to the bad kitty is Nitwit Albert, an apparently comical drunk whose idea of a cultural pursuit is to spit booze at the Nice Orange Kitty. Enraged by this attack on his host’s dignity, Evil Kitty climbs out of his hidey hole and tears a piece out of the inebriate’s throat, causing him to flail around wildly before falling overboard. This early elimination of the film’s comic relief is of no major consequence, as at around this time the rest of the cast decide to fill the gap by giving the old black vinyl a spin and bouncing around convulsively in what I can only presume is a decidedly inept attempt at dancing.


Soon after this shameful display, Shady Walter makes the mistake of sexually harassing one of the pretty young things whilst Nice Orange Kitty looks on. Presumably because his sense of Southern chivalry has been offended, Evil Kitty bursts forth from his orange lair, but in the ensuing confusion somehow manages to ignore Shady Walter and instead ends up eating part of Mike the Associate’s foot before skedaddling off into the darkness. At this point it is disclosed that Evil Kitty is not only a violently irascible bastard but also poisonous, and soon poor old Mike the Associate is writhing in agony, bleeding profusely and sprouting what appear to be several spontaneous hernias on his chest and abdomen. Perhaps the most bizarre symptom of the ill-fated henchman’s condition is his inability to stop uttering the phrase “Oh, God!” over and over until we all wish he would die already. Almost immediately our wishes are fulfilled as Mike bites the big one, and is wrapped in a makeshift shroud and sent on his way to the bottom of the marine food chain. And Mike’s last words? You guessed it – a plaintive cry of “Oh, God!” At this point, presumably in protest at the alarmingly unimaginative dialogue, the motor decides to join Mike in the great beyond. So now, everyone is stuck out at sea, with a useless motor, a dwindling crew, and a venomous devil cat still on the loose somewhere on board.


Soon after Associate Mike’s burial at sea, the movie threatens to take yet another peculiar turn when several of the hot young things start displaying the kind of lascivious behavior one expects not from a bad horror movie but from a reasonably well made porno flick. But have no fear, just as things are getting too licentious Evil Kitty once again pops up and proceeds to chow down on one of our would-be porn stars. By this stage the psychopathic pussycat seems to have turned into an amalgam of Evil Kitty and Nice Orange Kitty… or is it still Evil Kitty but just more orangey? I don’t know, and frankly I don’t think the filmmakers did either. Either way, one cat or another tears into this latest victim, leaving him alive and poisoned with the same virulent form of cat rabies that sent Mike to rendezvous with his maker. Not keen on a slow and lumpy death, this latest victim decides to end it all with a headlong plunge into the Big Blue, taking one of the girls with him for company.


Next in line for a watery grave is the handsome preppy, whose plans to become a rich Reaganite are dealt a severe setback when his attempts to blow Evil Kitty’s head off result instead in an explosion that char-broils his face and somehow results in his death, presumably from shock at realizing he will never make the cover of GQ. Still, things could be worse for the survivors, they still have plenty of food and water locked safely inside a big steel container so at least they will be fat and well hydrated when they fulfill their fate as cat chow. But alas, I have spoken too soon, for Evil Kitty has now grown so powerful that he can chew his way through steel and has raided the pantry in the middle of the night! Not only that, but the little vandal also takes it upon himself to poison the remaining supplies! So now our luckless heroes have a metal-tearing, pantry-soiling, flesh-eating cat on the loose, the motor is on the kibosh, they have nothing to eat, and to make matters worse the only entertainment available is painting one’s toenails or feeling despondent over an impending and grisly death. Despairing at this situation, and at having run out of nail polish, one of the two remaining girls breaks into the larder and stuffs her face with the kitty-poisoned food. Almost instantly her throat starts to bulge and as the Nice Orange Kitty – who by now must be starting to feel rather redundant as a result of all these unexpected suicides – looks on, said throat bursts open and our gluttonous cutie bleeds to death.


And then comes the storm…


Precisely how this cheaply staged tempest leads to the ship being filled with water is unclear. There seems to be a hole on the inside of the ship and below the waterline, but one wonders why it would take a storm to get the water flowing through the hole. Perhaps it is the result of more feline mischief. Perhaps sick of watching his intended victims kill themselves, Evil Kitty has been keeping the hole plugged in the hopes that an appropriately dramatic storm would come along, and has now unplugged the hole and slunk away snickering “Drown you suicidal bastards! Drown!”


As the two remaining men and one remaining girl prepare to abandon ship, Shady Walter decides to go back to his cabin to retrieve what money he hasn’t already loaded into the lifeboat. Much to the viewer’s amazement  this turns out to be a bad idea as the cat, offended by the man’s avarice and fashion sense, dispatches him like so much Fancy Feast. This is no great loss to the other two, who never liked Walt much anyway, and they cast off with not only a nice big lifeboat all to themselves but with a suitcase full of cabbage leaves that Shady Walter had previously ensconced on board – what has happened to the second suitcase we saw placed in the lifeboat is a mystery, but as the infamous Bermuda Triangle lies off the coast of Florida it’s probably a waste of time to look for a rational explanation.


For a moment all seems well as our heroic duo watch the yacht sink unrealistically into the briny depths, but as is the wont of his kind, Evil Kitty is still alive! He comes tearing through the windswept rain like a small, hairy banshee hell-bent on obtaining passage on the last boat out. Our protagonists grab the persistent little sardine-swallower and hurl him overboard, but as one of them informs us, “It’s not over yet!” Here he comes again, launching exactly the same attack in exactly the same way, almost as if the scriptwriters couldn’t think of anything else, and once more he is dumped unceremoniously into the raging sea. Suddenly the male survivor realizes that as long as the lifeboat is the only thing afloat the cat will keep trying to board it, and that something equally buoyant must be thrown overboard. After the two spend a few seconds pondering whether or not they should draw straws to see who gets to be a kitty raft, they decide instead to ditch the suitcase – but not before plonking the money into a nice waterproof gym bag. The ploy works, the water-logged villain decides to forsake bloodlust for safety, and is last seen floating into the dark and stormy night while holding onto the suitcase for dear life.


The following morning finds our hale and hearty survivors – bag of cash safely in hand – on a sunny, tranquil island where they are hosted by a naval sort who diplomatically puts their wild story of poisonous cats and mass slaughter down to the stress of being involved in such a dodgy production. For them, all is well. But then we see a beach, and upon it a suitcase which no longer bears its furry burden. And now we see a cat, a normal, wholesome looking chap, sniffing around in the sand. And who is this? Why, it’s a sweet little boy, who innocently picks up said cat and carries him away to the strains of music which suggests that despite appearances this is none other than Evil Kitty, still at large and ravening for human flesh! Of course, it doesn’t look like Evil Kitty, nor indeed Nice Orange Kitty, but perhaps it has somehow mutated into a completely different cat, or perhaps both the special effects man and Nice Orange Kitty had by this stage fled the production in disgust. After all, stranger things have happened – like the producers finding someone to pony up the cash for this cinematic catastrophe (sorry, I had to get it in there somewhere.)

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