Weak, slow-moving but sensual (in an early '80s sort of way) remake of the classic from 1942 is remembered best as a cinematic excuse for Kinski to romp around naked. She plays an orphan who meets up with her brother (McDowell) who informs her that she's part of a long-lost race of "cat people" (hence the title) who turn into homicidal panthers after having sex.
The only way to stop this annoying transformation (brought to screen briefly through the make-up effects of Tom Burman) is by committing incest! Annette O'Toole as a secondary character has a poolside nude scene which helped garner this film free publicity in Playboy magazine. McDowell is his usual nutty self as the bad guy.
All in all, the flick is pretty forgettable, and very slow. The Val Lewton original was a masterpiece in character and subtlety. The remake is a disaster of suspense-free storytelling and too much talking. Sure there are some boobs and special effects, including some cool transformation scenes. But, eh ... It had a good theme song by David Bowie though and an interesting score by then-popular Giorger Moroder, the man behind the Donna Summer phenom.