Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Curtains" (1983) d/ Jonathan Stryker

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Apologies for an erratic August as usual, review-wise, here, I've been squeezing in all my late summer partying, and along with that, comes the inevitable late summer slacking. How about you? Have an unforgettably raucous and decadent week in Bermuda that you documented with thirteen thousand pictures you're going to graciously share with the rest of us, via Instagram? Who cares. Cult movies are our champers in the tub here, snots n boogs, and here's a surprisingly proficient slasher from C to the -anada that utilizes one of the creepier giant sized little girl dolls in recent memory (it's got the face of that weatherbeaten broad down at the far corner of the bar who's looking for a Wednesday night charity pumpin', oof-ah.) and an effective latex hag masked giallo-style killer among a gathering of would-be leading ladies of the cinema that includes Lynne Griffin, Samantha Eggar, Lesleh Donaldson, and Canadian ballet dancer Anne Ditchburn. Oh yeah, Dean Wormser's in there, too, and throw in a nasty-looking sickle, just for kicks, while we're at it. The whole affair was directed by Richard Ciupka, under the alias Jonathan Stryker, the director character's name in the movie. I see what you did there...

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Not bad for starters, but seriously, where's the grapes, mirror fulla coke, and most importantly, the two other chicks? "Sorry, I can't hear you. As you can plainly see,  we're having eighties hot tub sex with each other."(Matt Berry voice)
Wow, that was a busy caption. Too many episodes of IT Crowd and Snuff Box rolling around in me brains, 'innit? Shoulda rolled with a simple play on words or something. Back to the story. After allowing marquee star Samantha Sherwood (Samantha Eggar) to get herself institutionalized to research her upcoming role as the highly disturbed Audra in his latest film, Jonathan Stryker (John Vernon) conveniently forgets about her while she's among the loonies, and announces that he'll be re-casting the role on a private weekend at his out-of-the-way mansion in Variety magazine, which just so happens to have a subscriber in the same squirrel farm that Sherwood is indefinitely checked into. Naturally, she escapes in time to show up as an uninvited sixth actress to audition, since the original sixth woman is mysteriously snagged on a miserable looking little girl doll strategically propped up in the middle of the road in the rainy downpour, and promptly mowed down by a car before she can emote for the womanizing director.

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Tonya Harding takes it to another level. More at eleven...
Of course, there's still Patti (Lynne Griffin) the comedian/comedienne ( we even distinguish between the two anymore? Just a thought.) whose flat, predictable jokes lead her to try out for the part, Laurian (Anne Ditchburn) the contorting interpretive dancer, Christie (Lesleh Donaldson) the ice skater who has a memorable slo mo incident on the frozen pond with our murderous pal in the hag mask, Brooke (Linda Thorson) the established actress, and Tara (Sandee Currie) the aspiring musician, all jockeying for position with the puppeteer Stryker, who's not ashamed to go from bedroom to bedroom in his inclusive elimination process. Nobody's too surprised to see Samantha, who's fresh from an asylum escape, and eager to bicker quietly in the shadows with Stryker, as the masked figure whittles down the would-be competition, each in their own creative manner, of course. These cinematic serial killers always seem to keep us well entertained over an hour and a half with their homicidal shenanigans, don't they? And wouldn't you know it, they even had the heart to throw in your obligatory twist ending, too. Thanks, guys.

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I'd feel worse for her if her shoulder wasn't visible in the bottom of the frame, Gods love 'er.
Lesleh Donaldson made quite a name for herself in genre movies during the eighties, appearing in Funeral Home (1980), Happy Birthday to Me (1981), and Deadly Eyes (1982) in succession at the outset of the blood-stained era. Lynne Griffin you'll no doubt remember from Benjamin "Bob" Clark's highly celebrated seasonal slasher opus, Black Christmas (1974), and perhaps one of the greatest cult comedies of the eighties, in Strange Brew (1983), as well. Ms. Eggar is no stranger to our favorite genre either, with titles like Cronenberg's The Brood (1979), The Uncanny (1976), The Exterminator (1980), and Demonoid: Messenger of Death (1981),  all under her belt. If you don't instantly recognize John Vernon as Dean Wormser from Animal House (1978), you'll surely recall one of his half million genre credits, from Dirty Harry (1971) to the Chiodos' Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988). Synapse released a remastered print of the film on all formats earlier this year, each with a smattering of choice extras, so hunt it down, if you haven't already gotten it, that is,  me 'ol beauties. Like... Arrrrgghhhh. On the scale, this set of Curtains draws itself a respectable pair of Wops, and is well worth checking out. Nicely done, Canada. Nicely done.

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She's probably relieved that the killer's only cutting her head off, and not cutting footloose (Eff you, Kenny Loggins).
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