A series of reviews and random bits of pop culture ephemera that I'm watching, reading, listening to or whatever.
Sunday, June 2, 2019
Directed by Eddy Matalon
Continental Video VHS
“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.