Underrated 80’s Slashers: “Curtains” (1983)

Ahh Curtains. A vastly underrated and overlooked Canadian [yeah baby!!!] slasher. I spent almost my whole life trying to find the love for this movie, as I didn’t have internet as a kid, my parents did buy me VideoHound yearly, and I was always saddened by the WOOF [zero stars] rating it gave it, they didn’t even give a proper synopsis, did they even watch it???

When I was 7 years old I came home to my sister and cousin slapping this on, they stopped watching, but I knew, even then, that this was one slick horror treat! I LOVE the artwork of this case, it’s so creepy! I have a huge poster that I have framed in my living room, proud to have it on display, it needs all the recognition it can get. I have fond memories of watching this late at night with root beer and popcorn!

The plot involves asshole director Stryker holding an audition for “Audra” the main character in his new movie, having his ex wife Samantha think she’s up for the role only to abandon her at a mental hospital, which she was using as research, and proceed with the casting of 6 hot new and up coming actresses at his remote cabin in the Ontario Wilderness. Someone joins the casting party wearing a old hag mask and carrying a creepy doll, with murder on the mind. Who is doing the slashing?

What I really like about this movie that probably won’t apply to everyone but the narrative is odd and even non linear, events are even random at times. Now you could blame the sloppy, undeveloped narrative on the producers clashing with the directors vision making the film confusing and filled with plot holes. I see that as actually adding to the movies dreamy atmosphere. That’s what I get from this movie, it’s like a dream of Patti while in the mental hospital. What really happened? How did Patti know where Amanda lived and how did she get the mask? What’s the deal with that doll? The stalk sequences (the ice rink and prop house) actually come off as if it’s someone’s dream. Can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve had dreams of being chased and the feeling and mood I felt in the dream was basically the whole prop house stalk scene. Why is it a maze? how did Sandee Currie get lost? All very dream like with the sound design adding to the creepy atmosphere. I LOVE the sound of the humming lights, especially when she walks through the mannequins. Very Kubrick inspired. The ice skating scene is terrifying and the slow motion yet again adds to the notion that this film is someone’s very disturbed mind while they sleep. Obsessed with acting, getting the role, and doing anything you can to get it, including murder, the hardcore phobias of the casting couch and becoming old before your dreams are fulfilled. I also have to comment on how when I do show this to people, they “get played like a piano” as the film moves along, they don’t see a lot of surprises coming and that is all you could ask for in a horror movie! A lot of the narrative twists really work, like the rape scene? I love how is plays with the perception of reality, what is real and what is staged, love it!

Now after reading AMAZING interviews on The Terror Trap with producer Peter Simpson, the down to earth, extremely lovable Lesleh Donaldson, the classy and compassionate Lynne Griffin, and the talented composer Paul Zaza and it answered all the questions I could possibly think of, plus some! Making me love the movie all the more on a whole personal level, and this film NEEDS a DVD release with a top notch transfer before I can rest in peace! The acting is very competent and composed, I just wish we got some more depth to some of the actresses, but than again, add that to the dream logic, do you know everyone’s back stories in a dream? Like Mathew, ha ha the perfect anonymous person in a dream. Who the hell was he? David Lynch would be proud!

I also love that it’s filmed in Ontario, the exterior of the cabin property look like my parents back yard, especially the ice skating area. Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba is VERY Curtains, I feel the need to wear a old hag mask while listening to “You Save My Soul” while cruising through the park.

The movie needs more love, and stop with the hate! It knocks out many slashers from the same era right out of the park! Elegance has never looked so good in a slasher flick! Luckily I’ve found some love for this flick thanks to Facebook, but it deserves MORE praise!!!!!!!

– Vince Fontaine

RIP Peter Simpson! thank you for all your contributions to the film industry, especially horror!

And RIP beautiful Sandee Currie, reading about your passing affected me greatly, and I thought about you for days afterwards. you truly were breathtaking in your beauty and personality!!! A tragic story.

Slashers We Love: “Curtains”, “Alone in the Dark”, and “Clownhouse”

Three more mini reviews from fellow fans of the slasher genre as they each talk about their slasher favorites. Thank you Reece, Todd, and Panos for your awesome selections! Once again just go to the Slasher Studios Facebook Page and select a picture from your favorite slasher movie and do a small write up and we will feature you and your review on our site. One special review will win a free autographed copy of Teddy!

Reece Glen Donnell-“Curtains”

Curtains has to be my favourite slasher film. I remember I used to watch it at least once a week, if not more, when I was younger. I love the isolated atmosphere of the film and the amazing cast and performances. To me it’s the perfect slasher film, very well made and it’s a shame it’s never been given the attention it deserves. Curtains = a real hidden gem.

Tödd Halliwell-“Alone in the Dark”

Alone in the Dark (1982) is my personal favourite slasher for many reasons. It was just so original for an early 80’s slasher and broke so many of the typical slasher ‘rules’. I also loved that there were four killers, all of whom are known from the start of the film. Realistic and truly deep characters. And it’s the reason that all I want to see these days are the ‘home invasion’ style horror films. Brilliant casting too: Donald Pleasence, Martin Landau, Jack Palance, Erland Van Lidth De Jeude (Dynamo from Running Man) and, erm, that bleeding guy. Amazing performances by everybody involved. I could go on but i’m quivering in delight right now and am having difficulty typing…

Panos Tsiros-“Clownhouse”

Well, it’s difficult to pick one slasher film as my favorite, but undoubtedly one of my favorite flick of the late 80’s is the “Clownhouse”. Is a film that interferes with our deepest fears from our childhood. The fear that every child feels for people with make up 🙂 But as soon as those people starts stalking you inside your own house, then the fear reach another level and the instict for survive is more intense. I Love the atmosphere of this film, the Psycho clown is very frightening and the music gives me the creeps. If you haven’t seen it yet please do so !!! …Who’s for the Circus tonight ???

The Stage is Set for the Final Act: “Curtains” Review

Samantha Sherwood is a beautiful, aspiring actress who has herself committed to a mental institution to do some background research for the role of a lifetime. Sherwood will be playing a woman with unstable sanity in a film called ‘Audra’. Little does she know that well known director, Jonathon Stryker, plans to leave her at the mental institution for good. After finding out Stryker is letting a new group of girls audition for the role of Audra, she escapes the asylum and plots for revenge.

One of the girls who was going to audition, Amanda Teuther, is stabbed to death before she even gets the chance to go to Stryker’s mansion for the audition in a hilariously over-the-top set piece that actually made me jump a bit. The next day we are introduced to the five other women auditioning for the part of Audra. The girls consist of Patti, Brooke, Laurian, Tara, and Christie. The remaining five girls are left to audition meet Stryker at his mansion. Surprisingly, these five are given more personality than is usually the case in such slashers. These girls are catty, bitchy, and willing to kill for this dream role. Little do they know that there is another visitor along to surprise the hell out of them. If you didn’t figure out that Samantha would be appearing at the house without welcome, you owe me your slasher card. Well, after a night of the girls getting to know each other Christie is brutally murdered while figure skating by someone in a grotesque hag mask outside of Stryker’s house. Are the rest of the girls next?

“Curtains” is a whopper of a slasher film that does nearly everything right. Creepy costume? Check. Intriguing backstory? Check. Likable, if slightly over-the-top, characters? Check. Great death scenes? Double check. I know this movie went though hell in post production. Rumor has it that the film was shelved for a year, during which there were re-writes, re-shoots, and one major re-casting done. Eventually numerous crew members had to be re-hired to shoot the footage to complete the film.

This movie should be a mess. The fact that it isn’t is a miracle in and of itself but the fact that the movie is a damn near masterpiece? Well, let’s just say that the slasher gods must have been looking down on this movie because it is simply incredible. Love the twist at the end, love the figure skater who gets killed by the masked man in the old hag mask, and love the final chase. Sure it isn’t entirely believable and there is a bit of logic that must be stretched thin but that doesn’t stop this movie from being one of the best of its kind. Definitely worth checking out for slasher fans everywhere.