Director: Richard Ciupka
Six chicks are invited to a famous directorâ€™s (Vernon) house for his own brand of casting. When an actress (Eggar) he once abandoned in a nut house shows up for the audition, her competition starts to drop like drunken sailors. Is she on a killing spree? Peek behind the curtain and find outâ€¦
If you like your slasher pastries heavy on the coating, youâ€™ll dig this sweet flick. I heard rumors that the production was plagued with trouble and maybe that wasnâ€™t such a bad thing for the end product. It's all put together very oddly and kept me guessing on the direction in which it was going. The first five minutes lead you to one f**ked up place but then the film shifts and gets even weirder. A rape scene is slapped in, a dream sequence with an eerie doll (brrrrr...) and a bloody murder. After that bombardment of hair-raising clips, I kind of figured out the filmâ€™s angle: it likes to play with our perception of reality. It sure got me a few times.
Things go a bit sour for the movie's main set up. We move up to six chicks in the directorâ€™s house for the casting (sex filled) session and the movie starts to lose grasp on its characters. The six chicks are interchangeable; I had so much trouble telling them apart. The fact that half of them hardly had any lines didnâ€™t help either. Developing the six candidates more would have made the movie easier to follow. NOTE: Was that Michael Wincott (Matthew) I saw stroll in and out of the movie? You bet it was. Too bad he has no lines, spends most of his screen time in a hot tub and is killed off-screen. What was the purpose of his character? Who knows.
Even though the main section of the film falls into the generic mold with a whodunit and the required kills, that doesnâ€™t mean that the overall movie is not a rollicking good time. The familiar ingredients are served up with a different kind of spice. The killer for one is real creepy. Itâ€™s ironic that in a house full of beautiful women, the murderer would wear a mask of a ragged ugly woman. Point well made. The murders are decent (loved the ones that took place in the daytime) and made me jump a few times (great set ups) but the highlight has to be the ice skating stalk. Thatâ€™s all Iâ€™ll sayâ€¦wowâ€¦very effective. We also get hints of style the whole way through (loved the way the film would cut from scene to scene with a curtain unfolding) and an extended chase bit in a prop room that redefines the word slick: brilliant cinematography, high tension, great use of color and lightingâ€¦classic.
So whatâ€™s all my rambling come up to? Curtains is a slasher movie that aims higher than the rest and hits the 80 points mark. I mean all the things weâ€™d expect are there but we get some extras: An engrossing story, lots of chilling images, kool locations (snow always worksâ€¦remember The Shining?) and an approach that concentrates on aesthetics. When the curtain closed after the last act, I wanted to applaud. Let the show begin!!!!
Some stabbings, some bloodâ€¦most of the murders are suggested and not shown but theyâ€™re still very effective.
Samantha Eggar (Samantha) delivers a very strong show. Sheâ€™s in the moment every step of the way. John Vernon (Stryker) is very effective as the horny, self-absorbed director and I wasnâ€™t sure if I wanted to punch him or have a drink with the man. Lynne Griffin (Patti) does well as the not so funny stand up. The fact that sheâ€™s not gorgeous (but cute) helped me set her apart from the rest. Linda Thorson (Brooke) does fine (if she is who I think she is), I like the accent. I fell in lust with Lesley Donaldson (Christie)â€¦what a cutie! She also has the best death scene. Tara Demillo (Sandee) does well in the end stalk sequence but for the life of me, I canâ€™t remember who the hell she was before that scene. Run Sandee Run.
T & A
Someoneâ€™s tit in a hot tub. A girl fondling anotherâ€™s naked breast (and it's not a lesbian scene...they had me there). Michael Wincott is naked in the hot tub too...or was that Gary Coleman...not sure.
Ciupka gives the film a touch of class. He likes to play with colors and designs. Lots of red, flashing lights, light through windows. The house is an architectural masterpiece (floors with flowered design, floor with checkered designs) and he makes great use of it. He also infuses the stalk sequences with high tension, style (love that slo-mo) and a few jump surprises. Impressive show.
The score works when it plays it subtle but distracted me when it went the broader way.
Not only is Curtains beautiful to look at, includes kool murders and a weird structure, it also manages to make a light statement on the whole "casting couch" thang (for those who donâ€™t know that term, it means when a director has an actress give him some sugar for a part). It has flaws but every horror fan should give Curtains a try.
This is a Canadian production.
Richard Ciupka wasnâ€™t happy with the film so he used the alias "Jonathan Stryker" (the name of the director in the film played by John Vernon).
Celine Lomez played the part of Brooke at first but she got canned when she wouldnâ€™t give a full frontal nudity shot. Linda Thorson took over the part (funny because I donâ€™t remember her giving a full frontal shot either!). Celine Lomez was blacklisted from the Canadian film industry after her refusal to show it off.