October's Daily Horror Dose 3: Reckoning - Day #31 - Curtains

Holy shit the last review of the third October marathon! The final entry is always both sad and a huge relief. I love October. I love Halloween, watching scary movies in the appropriate season, the way the Internet comes together to celebrate the horror genre, it’s all great and I can’t help but feel a little bummed out that it’s coming to an end and we are now one day away from Christmas taking over everything for the next two months. On the flip side, I don’t have to write a review every day anymore! And my god does that idea ever sound appealing right now.

I’d love to say that we’re ending this year on a big note with something either truly incredible or truly terrible. Sadly those would each be lies and here we are ending with something perfectly middle of the road.

I had never even heard of Curtains until a special edition bluray was released a few months ago. I’m always a sucker for 80’s slasher movies (I seriously can’t believe how many of the damn things there are out there) and I got a good deal on it so I figured I would grab it. I mean they don’t give special editions to just any movie right?

Curtains opens with a famous actress, Samantha Sherwood, going undercover in a mental hospital in order to play an upcoming, and very coveted, role in something called Audra. However, her husband/producer Stryker ends up leaving her there in the asylum and moving on. When Sherwood gets word that Stryker is looking to recast the role, she escapes the asylum to get her revenge. Meanwhile, Stryker has gathered a group of six girls at his house in order to go through an audition process. Stabbings ensue.

Curtains feels very all over the place, which apparently is the result of tons of reshoots and rewrites that took place over the course of several years. Knowing nothing about the movie going in, the opening led me to assume that the action was going to take place entirely within the asylum. Nope. That whole sequence is completely separate from the rest of the movie and almost seems weirdly out of place. Another strange and disconnected bit is that the first couple of kills set up this running motif with a creepy doll, where the victim finds it right before being murdered. I kept waiting for this to be explained but it’s dropped completely after the second murder. It definitely reeks of reshoots all the way. A stylistic choice where “curtains” open to reveal key scenes is quickly lost as well.

Since it’s a slasher movie we should talk about the kills which are largely uninteresting. The one stand-out piece, and apparently one that has become infamous, is a kill that takes place outside in the middle of the day on a pond where the victim is skating. There is definitely something novel about seeing the killer (who dons a creepy old woman/banshee mask) skate after the victim wearing fluffy fur skates. The rest of the kills are quick and mostly dull. They are also stacked far too heavy in the final act. After only getting 2 kills for the first 70 minutes or so, we suddenly get like 4 kills in rapid succession, all occurring within about 3 minutes. I will say that a couple of the deaths surprised me, so good on them for that as usually these things stick to a very strict and predictable formula.

It does help that we get a few interesting characters to follow. Sherwood is sympathetic and Stryker is the perfect detestable asshole. Among the group of girls there was even one I was actively rooting for, though outside of maybe one other exception, this group of people is largely interchangeable. The killer is pretty good as the mask is creepy and even the motivation reveal is pretty ok.

Curtains is a perfectly adequate 1980’s slasher movie. Outside of one exception the kills aren’t great and the characters are hit and miss, which is just enough to make the movie entertaining. Though holy shit the cast and crew are not fans of this thing. I watched the new documentary included in this release and about 80% of the run time is talking about all the many ways this thing is terrible. It was interesting and definitely fun to watch as a result of all the blatant honesty, but there’s still something odd about buying a product and then being repeatedly told by the creators what a pile of garbage the product you just bought is. Eh, whatever, I enjoyed it well enough.

And that’s it for 2014! I fell behind more than once but we made it to the end! 31 reviews! Lots of pleasant surprises, a few disappointments, and loooots of “well, that was fine I guess”. Still enjoyed this for the most part and yeah who am I kidding, I am totally going to do this again next year. See you in 2015! Well I’ll still be writing other stuff between now and then so like, maybe see you tomorrow hopefully!