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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Monday, July 31, 2017

Curtains (1983)

After Edge of the Axe I needed to watch something that restored my faith in cinema as entertainment. Seriously I took a couple days off after Edge of the Axe. It was that bad it killed my desire to watch anything. Not to fear I read a couple of books so I still have reviews to post to the blog. Curtains is a movie that I distinctly remember enjoying and I have a nice new Blu-Ray from Synapse sitting on my shelf. Time to dig in.

The movie opens with a director and an actress working on some lines. He claims that she is too nice and he doesn’t believe her and then the action shifts to a mental hospital. The same director is trying to have the actress committed. Turns out it is for her to do some research for a role. Though she gets a bit too method and is left in the hospital while he tries to recast her part! She breaks out and joins him, as well as six hopeful replacements at an isolated house in the mountains. Well actually only five actresses because we see one die before she ever makes it out of her apartment. The killings continue at the house until our suspect and victim pools are down to only two. Who is the killer?

This is a legit question when watching Curtains. This has to be one of the best written and acted Slasher movies in the entire genre. The dialogue is intense with the director, played by John Vernon, squeezing every kind of emotional response out of his actresses. He does this in between bedding as many of them as possible. His performance, as well as those of the rest of the cast, does much to set the mood for the movie. It is a high stress environment where Vernon’s character is boss and pushes everyone to their emotional limits. It makes perfect sense that someone might snap and start killing everyone.

John Vernon is awesome!
Time to talk about those kills. Curtains is a Slasher movie that isn’t too concerned with the special effects work. There are eight kills with just a couple on screen. They are tame compared to something like the Burning but still pack a punch. This is because of the execution of the kills. There is much stalking and tension built as the killer and victim creep around the spooky setting of the old house and grounds. The best example of this is towards the end of the movie where one victim is chased thru a prop warehouse. It is surreal with doors that lead to brick walls and cars that aren’t cars. Best of all is how they end it with the anticipated result, but from an unexpected direction.

The look of the killer is fantastic. One of the things you will notice in Curtains are the insecurities of a couple of the actresses over their age and appearance. The killer wears an old hag mask which shoehorns into that theme nicely. It also looks creepy on screen, especially in the ice skating scene where one of the actresses meets her demise.
Curtains is a great movie and one of the best in the Slasher genre. It reminds me a lot of a Giallo with the air of mystery and the black gloved killer running around with a very sharp knife. I love those movies as well. This is a must see.

I think that I’m going to call this particular Slasher movie marathon over. I covered sixteen movies from the subgenre and am getting a bit burned out. Time to mix it up with some creature features or perhaps some demon possession flicks. The choices are endless.

© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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