Movie Review: Curtains (1983)
by, 07-30-2012 at 09:41 PM (2098 Views)
In 1980, fresh off of the moderate sucess of "Prom Night" Producer Peter R. Simpson decided to send out another slasher movie, and so commissioned "Curtains" to be made. The movie had very troubled production, many reshoots had to be done, and it was unceremoniously given a small release in 1983, the heyday of the Slasher.
The film languished in obscurity for a long time, only on VHS, until finally in 2011, Echo Bridge entertainment released a 4-pack of horror movies containing it:
Now, I first heard about Curtains in Horrorhound Magazine, which announced it's release on DVD, mistakenly calling it a giallo film. This piqued my interest, and when I saw the pack at K-mart for 3 bucks, I had to pick it up.
Now that the boring backstory is done, let's talk about Curtains, shall we?
Curtains' plot revolves around an actress named Samantha Sherwood (Played by Samantha Eggar) In order to get the title role in the upcoming movie "Audra," directed by Jonathan Stryker (John Vernon) She has herself institutionalized in a mental hospital to know what is is like to be insane.
The only problem is, Stryker abandons Samantha in the Asylum, and holds a casting party for six younger actresses at his secluded mansion to determine the role of Audra. Escaping from her asylum, Samantha vows revenge, and shows up at the mansion, taking the place of another girl who never arrived. This naturally stirs up tensions between everyone.
Now, if you've seen a slasher movie before, you know the drill: girls stuck at snowbound mansion get picked off one-by-one, until there is one left and the killer is unmasked. I'll try to keep this review spoiler free on the identity of the killer, and the girls (not that I remember their names.)
Stylistically, Curtains is pretty good for low-budget 80's horror. Shots are framed well, and it is very professionaly handled. No early Friday the 13th shaky-cam here. The black animated curtains that slide across the screen to jump from scene to scene are a nice touch as well.
The score does it's job, but is unmemorable to me, and I really didn't pay it enough attention. Suffice to say, chase scenes are intense, and everything else is dull in the music department.
Technical points out of the way, how does Curtains fare as a Slasher film? In truth, not very well. Most of the death's are completely bloodless. Now, I'm not a huge gorehound, but come on now; you just can't show a girl's throat get slashed with a scythe without blood. If it was a cutaway kill, just show a look of surprise, that would be alright. But when a movie shows the scythe slash down, a 1983 movie nonetheless, not showing any gore is a copout.
That's not to say that there aren't some good things to be found in Curtains. There's a very unique kill on an ice-skating rink, and the final chase scene through a darkened backstge is very effective, with a satisfying conclusion. Special note must be made of the killer's mask, which is extremely creepy and discomforting. Several plot twists are also handled well throughout the film.
Overall, Curtains is a weak slasher film, with occaisional bright spots of drama and suspense. If you are a die-hard slasher fan who has to see every film in te genre, you can find a lot worse, but it's just so mediocre as a slasher, most of you will want to stear clear of this.
2/5 stars, Low Recommend
On the subject of the DVD that has been released, the quality is clearly a VHS transfer, with grainy picture and slightly fuzzed sound. Still, you can find it for 5 bucks or less, so you get what you pay for.