SUMMARY: A cat who is tired of being mistreated by human beings decides to go and live on the moon. But he finds that it’s not as quiet and relaxing up there as he had hoped.
WHY IT’S HERE: When Tex Avery’s MGM cartoons failed they were always still interesting and amusing in some way. ‘The Cat That Hated People’ is, overall, a failed experiment but it is fascinating for many reasons and still a funny and entertaining cartoon. The chief notable element of ‘The Cat That Hated People’ is that it finds Tex Avery attempting to emulate another director, in this case Bob Clampett. Clampett was one of the most inimitable of all animation legends and this is all too clear here. ‘The Cat That Hated People’ is very clearly a rejig of Clampett’s ‘Porky in Wackyland’, in which Clampett created a land of insane characters and wild gags that were dumped on the viewer in a perfect symphony of unrestrained anarchy. Here, when the titular cat arrives on the moon he finds it is a similarly crazy place and the gags are much in the same vein, but under Avery’s direction these surreal jokes form an orderly queue, appearing one by one and waiting for the viewer to laugh before the next one arrives. It plays out more like an oxymoronic parade of orderly chaos. The result is a demonstration of how the different legendary figures of animation all had their strengths and, when they attempted to borrow from each other, the result was usually sanitised, bastardized and disappointing. This is highlighted even more by ‘The Cat That Hated People’s great first half in which the cat gives details of why he dislikes human beings so much in a series of blackout gags. This is Avery playing to his strengths and makes the surreal second act seem even more out-of-place and ill-judged when it arrives.