Directed by Mardi Rustam
Shriek Show/Media Blasters DVD (Now out on Vinegar Syndrome Blu)
Why does Mardi Rustam hate me? I’m pretty sure I’ve never met him. I’m also pretty sure he’s probably a real nice guy. It seemed that he might like me at first. He top-loaded his film Evils Of The Night with sexadelic shenanigans that seemed to say “Welcome to my Nude World. Enjoy.” But, the nudity and such began to wear me down. It became less fun. By time I was 45 minutes in, I even hated me.
Evils Of The Night smells funny. You know the feeling, You lean against a wall or a couch and you smell something and it ain’t on your shoe. You sit there, sniffing and frowning. What the hell is that? Where is that coming from? Why does this odor haunt me? Evils Of The Night looks like a film. It has actors you’ll recognize in it. It has a decent spaceship model at the beginning and the end. And yet, that’s not me, is it? No. I’m as clean as a cloud after a rainstorm. Evils Of The Night, let me see your hands!
A bunch of aliens land on Earth to kidnap and do something or other to young people. Why? To save their planet, I would imagine. What is it they’re doing? I’m sure they told me, but I’ll be damned if I can remember. Let’s just say they need to drain blood. And, let’s just say that John Carradine, the head alien, needs the blood to replenish his people’s wasted world. He has help from Julie Newmar, Tina Louise, Aldo Ray and Neville Brand. Holy crap! That’s a lot of recognizable help. The first half hour of this movie is loaded with nudity and fooling around. The second half hour has a lot of running around combined with a large amount of prowling around. The final half hour has our main characters tied to posts and threatened by Neville Brand. It all feels a lot like Evil Town, which has a similar plot and which I re-watched for this review and…I liked Evil Town more than Evils Of The Night. Maybe that’s why Mardi hates me. He knew I liked Evil Town better. I don’t know.
When folks who have never made a movie end up with bad dialogue, awful characters and ripe acting, you take it and move on. When a seasoned pro ends up with the same, I can feel the disdain. Watching this movie was like buying a DVD at a store where the hip cashier clearly hates you and the choice you’ve made even though he or she would be out of a job if you weren’t buying that DVD. No one comes away happy.
Evils Of The Night, sure, has its charms. Nudity, gore, fun character actors and a beach scene or two lends itself to something that isn’t all bad smells and strange stains. But, at the same time, I feel like Mardi may have been laughing at me while I watched this film. He created the film and just left it there with the knowledge that one day I would watch it and his feelings for me would become clear.
Why, Mardi, why? “Mardi” is Polynesian for “world”. You’ve got a great name, Mardi. Why be so mean? Can’t we discuss this? I’m a big fan of Eaten Alive.
AUDIO AND VIDEO
Sounds fine. My DVD was full frame. Actually, there were very tiny lines on the top and the bottom. What would that be, 1:45? It looks great. It didn’t have that shiny/hazy look that I usually associate with films from this time period.
The Vinegar Syndrome Blu looks beautiful. (As does their Evil Town Blu, which I think is a much more fun film.) If you want to watch this goofballery looking gorgeous (I did), pick it up.
A decent preview that could trick you into watching it if you didn’t know better. There are also some stills and posters that feature tremendously prominent nipples on the young lady being restrained by aliens on the cover.
There were some other previews. The only one I watched was The Being. I’ve finally got it on Blu.
The Vinegar Syndrome Blu has some fine extras. Explore!
I watched Evils Of The Night. As I watched it, I thought I heard the director laughing at me. When you think “Well, not as good as Evil Town…”, something has gone horribly wrong somewhere. The sad thing is: I’ll probably watch it again. I’m just like that.
What is going on? Why is the army here? This is the United Kingdom! We have rights! What are those noises in the sewers? Why are there so many middlemen in government? Why do we live in the one village in Britain populated by nothing but Italians? Why is David Warbeck the only British guy here?
Where is Professor Adams? You told me he went fishing! Why is all his fishing stuff in his home? Wasn’t he at the heart of the chemical leak the other day? I noticed that his disappearance coincides with the rash of killings breaking out around here. Why won’t you tell me what’s going on?!
Is that a crazy-ass melting face mutant killing everyone? Is he horny? Why does he kill so many nice ladies who are nude or nude-ish? Why-Why is there such a long, boring chase in the sewers near the end? And, where the heck did they find those two guys in the plane?
I don’t like when the army sets up roadblocks and shoots at me! Why are they doing that? “Army maneuvers”? Do you think I am a stupid man? I may be panicking but I’m not a jerk. You are!
And your mama!
Why are we all dubbed so funny? Are we Italian? What is that plane doing spiraling down towards us filled with nerve gas? Who is ordering all this? I keep going up the line of government to get to the person in charge but everyone has a “superior”? What is happening?
AUDIO AND VIDEO
Why are some shots completely dark? Why is everything so hazy? Am I infected? Why do we all sound like we’re talking in a large closet even when we’re outside in a crowd?
Answer my questions!
In the end, I didn’t Panic as much as I thought I would. But, the suspense gripped me for 91 minutes. They are Italians! Professor Adams is a mutant! The government wants to kill me! And, these 91 minutes got better as they went along but got a little dull near the end.
Do you like Italians? Then, you should try to go buck-ass nuts for the duration of this movie. It’s not bad.
When I reviewed The Force On Thunder Mountain, I wondered who the film was made for. Well, the same company “presents” Didn’t You Hear… (American National Enterprises) and I would like to ask the same question. I’ve watched it four times and every time I watch with fascination but steadily failing interest as I approach the inevitable (in some ways) end and then think “Who is this for?” (Of course, it doesn’t need to be “for” anyone but it’s fun to think about. For example, who is The Last Slumber Party for? Answer: Me.)
Kevin is a college freshman. He’s got a beefy Gary Busey-like friend named James (played by Gary Busey). Kevin seems like a regular college kid to me. He’s a bit overwhelmed, a bit awkward with the ladies and not quite sure what place his parents now hold in his life. He is also loaded with “philosophical thoughts” about the world around him. So, in essence, from the little we see of his actual life, he’s like almost every college kid around, discounting those who are there on athletic scholarships. In college, I was pretty good around the ladies. Apart from that, I was very much like Kevin.
Kevin keeps disappearing into his daydreams. A very complex world, ish. In this place, he and his friends travel in a boat called The Queen of Sheba, of which Kevin is the Captain. They play “games”, they question the System, they spout various philosophies and burn their possessions. When Kevin gets mixed up in a real life sorority prank, the gal in the prank, Paige, becomes part of the dreamland. We spend a lot of time in this waking dream, most of it actually. Eventually, because the Sheba crew is young and doing their own thing, a group of square “Islanders”, led by Paige’s military man dad, come after them with guns to bring them down and/or harsh their buzz.
It’s a very interesting movie, filled with psychedelic effects and wonderful synths and a lot of chatter about life and death. Some of it doesn’t quite make sense. But, it’s all pretty fascinating. The filmmakers were clearly up to something. It seems that they are saying “Young people have their own way of doing things. The squares shouldn’t get in their way.” A good way to think of the Sheba crew is as variations of a biker gang but without as much facial hair.
The film has one flaw that I think gets in the way of what it’s up to. Now, it started as a feeling that nagged me but I couldn’t pin down. It’s not the slightly embarrassing “Happy Birthday World Day” bit. It’s not the moments when the film seems to be going somewhere and then slows way down. It’s not the over explained “symbolic” moments. As far as I’m concerned, if this is all in the mind of a young man, than there will be pretentious and awkward bits. That’s just how we are. Love us or leave us, baby.
Out of that last thought springs the problem: Even the trailer describes this as a “symbolic” film…but I’m not sure it is. Yes, the filmmakers may have planned it that way but something shanghais it. The bulk of the film is the daydream of an awkward college kid. It’s not a Bergman-esque journey through the Symbols of Mankind. It’s the brain wanderings of a slightly goofy young adult. Daydreams are daydreams. They are extended fantasies in your head that you keep control over, unlike dreams. Now, he may be actually dreaming some of this but whenever we enter the other world…he is awake and thinking. So, this isn’t a Series of Universal Symbols being laid out for all mankind. It’s an awkward kid passing time in his mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin was a writer who was just thinking up this idea for a script or a novel. The filmmakers didn’t seem to have the courage of their convictions. They should have done a full on “Symbolic Film”. As it stands, we don’t see enough of Kevin’s real world to be able to draw all the parallels we need between it and the Land of the Queen of Sheba. I think that would have made for a richer experience. As it stands, the sum of the parts make up a weak whole. Luckily, the parts are pretty darn interesting. If it doesn’t completely hang together in the end, you can, at least, enjoy the journey. Maybe that’s the point.
AUDIO AND VIDEO
The synths sound fine. The picture is horrible. But, this is the only way we can see it, so take it all in.
Five trailers for films put out by A.N.E. The Invincible Barbarian, Didn’t You Hear, Hooch, and two others.
I think the film needs to be watched. We can blab about it when everyone has seen it. It is a flawed film with a story that’s a little vaguer than it should be. But, it is a one-of-a-kind film. It’s rather fascinating and full of ideas, some better than others. Enjoy it.
“You and I both know that I’ve had a nervous breakdown.”
Cathy’s Curse is all about a little girl and her dad dying in a car crash during some very slippery synth-filled opening credits. The girl’s brother (now grown and working for someone-or-other doing some-such-thing) returns, years later, to the family home with his wife and daughter, Cathy. Cathy finds a doll belonging to the little girl and becomes possessed. Havoc is wrecked and dirty language stays well within the barriers of good taste.
My favorite Exorcist-homage (as it were) is The Possessed. The best! Where is the DVD uncut and letterboxed? I don’t know. I’ll ask my man on the street.
Well, I asked him. He yelled something about snakes in the garbage cans and tried to run me over with his shopping cart. Target is not getting that cart back anytime soon.
Why mention The Possessed in a review for Cathy’s Curse? Frankly, I don’t remember. I like it though. And, I like Cathy’s Curse. Most of it. At least, I remember liking it. I could be thinking of something else. This film is very Canadian. If you’ve seen Ghostkeeper or Rock ‘N’ Roll Nightmare, you’ve been wrapped up in the Canadian thing. They feel a bit like other horror films you might have seen, but do their own thing. Cathy’s Curse feels a bit like The Exorcist but it feels more like The Exorcist if, before you watch it, someone says, “Oh, this is an Exorcist knock-off.” Little girl swearing. Yep. Killing people. Sure. Strange make-up on her face. Eventually. Odd voices. Why not? But, somewhere in the mix things went a little goofy. The film brews its own rhythm, atmosphere and structure.*
Unfortunately, “goofy” is a two-way street. “You whore! You big, fat whore!” That’s awesome. The amusement on the faces of the little girl yelling it and the old, drunk guy with the big beard makes for a good time. On the other hand, the lack of any kind of pacing, well…It just means that the viewer relies on set pieces rather than momentum and story. And, some of the set pieces are a little on the bland side. Especially when I started to think, “How come the dad can’t piece together the fact that his daughter’s acting goofy, his wife is going mental and people keep dying?” It’s as odd as the house in Pet Sematary with the busy road in front of it. Oh, it worked in the book. In the movie, I can’t imagine why a sane person would move there with a child. And the thing here is that I rarely think of this kind of stuff during a movie. Usually, I let the movie carry me along. If I am thinking it, it’s really blatantly coming across.
I like Canada. I grew up near Niagara Falls. There’s a picture of me being menaced by the Frankenstein’s Monster while in a backpack on my Dad’s back that is awesome. (I was a baby. This wasn’t last year.) Things go kind of odd when they go north or south of the U.S. border. The Canadian oddness is subtler than the Mexican oddness but don’t let the lack of wrestlers put you off. Again, I was making a point about the movie and my mind drifted away. Suffice it to say, Cathy’s Curse is not something I’ll go back to, most likely. But, I might. The setting and some of the individual moments are nice. It’s a movie that was more fun to watch than to think about.**
So, maybe that means you should watch it once and go from there.
AUDIO AND VIDEO Cathy’s Curse works best on video. The Continental tape looks all muddy and worn, just as a VHS should.
Boy, that Chilling Classics 50 DVD Pack really craps out with this one. The film has all sorts of digital video hoohah going on. People keep breaking up into their constituent digital parts. It’s a touch distracting. I think, at one moment, Dad became a series of ambulatory ones and zeroes. The VHS would be a better choice.
(By the way, the Blu-Ray is brilliant.)
An upgrade from “whore” to “big fat whore” is an extra in my book.
Cathy’s possessed. And, it ain’t half bad. A double feature with Ruby would be ideal.
*I have seen one review that said this was an “Omen rip-off”. I don’t think it’s apocalyptic enough. Audrey Rose rip-off, maybe. But, then that sort of ties back to The Exorcist anyway so I’m standing my ground.
**Here’s something I noticed on a proof read: The opening quote about the breakdown is a bit of blatant exposition from the mother to the father. I had been planning on mentioning it in the review. But, my mind just strolled away and I left the quote up there. Why? I think it’s there to amuse me as I wrote. The movie will not stick to my ribs, as it were.