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Curtains (1983)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Richard Ciupka

Starring:
Samantha Eggar/Samantha
Lynne Griffin/Patti
John Vernon/Stryker
Linda Thorson/Brooke
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Six chicks are invited to a famous director’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 out…
THE LOWDOWN
If you like your slasher pastries heavy on the coating, you’ll dig this sweet flick. I heard rumors that the production was plagued with trouble and maybe that wasn’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 film’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 director’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 didn’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 doesn’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. It’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. That’s all I’ll say…wow…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 lighting…classic.

So what’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 we’d expect are there but we get some extras: An engrossing story, lots of chilling images, kool locations (snow always works…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!!!!
GORE
Some stabbings, some blood…most of the murders are suggested and not shown but they’re still very effective.
ACTING
Samantha Eggar (Samantha) delivers a very strong show. She’s in the moment every step of the way. John Vernon (Stryker) is very effective as the horny, self-absorbed director and I wasn’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 she’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)…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 can’t remember who the hell she was before that scene. Run Sandee Run.
T & A
Someone’s tit in a hot tub. A girl fondling another’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.
DIRECTING
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.
SOUNDTRACK
The score works when it plays it subtle but distracted me when it went the broader way.
BOTTOM LINE
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 don’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.
BULL'S EYE
This is a Canadian production.

Richard Ciupka wasn’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 wouldn’t give a full frontal nudity shot. Linda Thorson took over the part (funny because I don’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.
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12:55AM on 10/04/2012

Very Underrated Slasher

I recently found this movie by freak luck in a four pack with 3 of the worst compiled pieces of shit ever. I had to double check on the web that this was actually Curtains. Very well directed slasher/whodunit. The characters were mostly female starving actresses that all nailed their parts well. The killers costume might have been a little hokey, but I dug it. The standout is notoriously the ice skating chase sequence. Can't deny it's originality. Also heavy kudos to the image of the doll which
I recently found this movie by freak luck in a four pack with 3 of the worst compiled pieces of shit ever. I had to double check on the web that this was actually Curtains. Very well directed slasher/whodunit. The characters were mostly female starving actresses that all nailed their parts well. The killers costume might have been a little hokey, but I dug it. The standout is notoriously the ice skating chase sequence. Can't deny it's originality. Also heavy kudos to the image of the doll which I am guessing represented forthcoming death to who has found it. In addition to the old slasher motif, shockingly we get a more Halloween stylized feature than Friday the 13th. Meaning it relied more on suspense than graphic kills. It worked for me. What hurt the movie for me was the quality I saw it in. The transfer was grainy and distracting. Its a shame because it is the only version of Curtains on DVD or BLURay. The finale may or may not shock you, but undoubtedly one of the most overlooked films of the slasher hey day. If you can find it grab it. Warning you ahead of time avoid the other 3 in this compilation.
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12:38AM on 07/29/2005

Curtains (1983)

What really sets this film apart from the rest of the 80's slasher offerings is the amazing performances from it's stellar cast.

Besides the cast, the film has a great plot. I once heard it described as A Chorus Line meets Friday the 13th. It's clever and creepy, yet almost totally realistic. It's real that some one would go to any depths to get what they want.

The killer is actually quite terrifying. The old hag mask disguise is horrifying. The film also sports one of the most
What really sets this film apart from the rest of the 80's slasher offerings is the amazing performances from it's stellar cast.

Besides the cast, the film has a great plot. I once heard it described as A Chorus Line meets Friday the 13th. It's clever and creepy, yet almost totally realistic. It's real that some one would go to any depths to get what they want.

The killer is actually quite terrifying. The old hag mask disguise is horrifying. The film also sports one of the most innovative stalk scenes in film history(the ice skating scene). The final chase in the prop house is also a tense piece of work.

The film does suffer from some things. You really just have to go along with the film. It's a strange ride, which seperates it from other slasher films. The movie desperatly wants to be an intellegent thriller, which it half way pulls off. The film suffered from a year of re-shoots and re-casting on a main role. The original director is the one who wanted to make a thriller. You can tell this, because he only shot the scenes at Stryker's house. Those scenes are very thriller like and you could see where it could have gone. The producer was terrified that the film might flop since it wasn't gory enough, so he re-shot and added some scenes when the director refused to come back. My real complaint is that the charcters are not developed at all, except Lynne Griffin's unforgettable Patti. Becasue of this, the only oen you really end up caring about is Patti, Christie, and Samantha. I really only cared about Christie, because she was played so well with charm by Lesleh Donaldson.

The films other flaw is that our last remaining heroine is never given more than 3 lines to speak. When she starts the final chase, we couldn't care less about what happenes to her, we barely even remember her name.

Despite these, Curtains is a well done mixture of thriller and slasher. Well reccomended.
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