Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cathy's Curse (or "If this is what having a period is like, I'm glad I'm a guy!")

It can be so easy to get suckered into watching a movie. Me, I love to see things that promise low-grade thrills. In volume. So, over 15 years back, I rented a tape (that's VHS, folks -- retro technology these days) called Terror On Tape. I believe it came from the fine folks at Continental Video, known for their oversized tape boxes which were graced with the most incredible cover art. (As an aside, I recommend snagging any of these that you can find as I'm sure they will be collector's items, even if the tapes are shot to hell. Where else can you find a Boris Vallejo painting for Mistress Of The Apes?)

Anyway, while watching Terror On Tape, they showed a couple of clips from a film called Cathy's Curse. Vaguely creepy little girl wagging an even creepier doll around. People falling to their death. Rotting fruit. Sounds effects done on an old synthesizer. I had a new goal in life. I had to get me a dose of Cathy's Curse. A year or two later and I find it in a grocery store video rental section. Oh, I was in heaven. I was hyper, I was elated, I thought I'd wet my pants.

Then I watched the movie.

Canadians can make some awful, awful films. Cathy's Curse is almost reason enough to overthrow their government. Okay, it isn't that bad. Actually, my girlfriend and I laughed our asses off through most of this crapfest. But I was disappointed. Not because I thought I was going to see something along the lines of the original Omen. It was just that Terror On Tape had prepared me for a scene of gratuitous blood-spurting when the housekeeper throws herself out of a second-story window (which would only be fatal in extreme circumstances, like landing on your head, impaling yourself or being forced to do so by the most butt-ugly doll on the planet). THE BLOOD WAS NOT THERE!! The whole experience was tainted. Never mind the wet-tissue performances or the fact the little girl's hair never looked as though it was washed or the randomness of the scenes. I wanted my spurting blood.

Denied my cheap thrill, I hoped to find a complete copy out there in the world. First, my girlfriend and I bought the tape off eBay, hoping for a different copy that what we had rented. It was, but it too was missing the spurting blood. Now, thanks to Mill Creek Entertainment and BCI, I have two more copies of the film. Alas, no spurting blood in either one.

Short breakdown on the story for those who have stuck it out this long: Decades ago, a family had troubles, so the father decides to run off with the young daughter. Due to the child's liberal tree-hugging nature, they swerve to avoid splatting a bunny, and they both burn to death. Jump to sometime in the late 70's, and the dead girl's brother, who was taken away by the bitch of a mother (Hey, that's what the father called his wife before he burned!), moves into the family home. His daughter, with a face that appears to be paralyzed for the most part, finds her aunt's hideous doll in the attic, and before you can say "Brown recluse spider", we are off to possession city.

To be honest, I think the filmmakers were trying to equate the whole possession theme with the fact the girl was of the age to begin her period. Usually a possessed person, in the movies that is, become more and more evil. This little fluff bunny has mood-swings and seems to be vaguely sexually aware at the most improper moments. And they call it Cathy's Curse. If she scarfed down chocolate and complained of sore breasts, we would have had serious confirmation. But to think the filmmakers had any deep thoughts concerning this film is giving more credit that anyone involved with this film deserves. So never mind.

As I said, this film is released by both Mill Creek and BCI. I watched both. They seem to be the same print for the most part. The same line runs through both prints in the same location for the same length of time (most of the beginning, but it isn't troublesome). The big tip-off was the letters in the bottom right corner of the screen. I couldn't read them, though they appeared to be "SC". I have no idea what company those marks belong to. Possibly Canadian? Oddly, the BCI print seems to be a touch darker, but that could have more to do with the transfer process than anything else, but I openly admit I have no clue. You can find the movie on Mill Creek's Chilling Classics 50 movie megapack and on BCI's Nightmares From The Crypt 20 movie set.

Worth watching for grins and giggles. Don't expect logic. Don't look for anything to be emotionally involving. But I doubt you'll be able to refrain from repeating "She's seen me! Kill her!" for weeks after seeing this film. That scene, though missing the spurting blood, is worth the price of suffering through this film.

No comments: