Awfully Good: The Curse
The Curse (1987)
Director: David Keith
Stars: Wil Wheaton, John Schneider, Claude Atkins
Is there a plot?
A young boy, miserable with his life on his family's failing farm, finds conditions even worse when a meteor crashes on their property and begins leaking a strange goo that turns plants in to garbage and people in to slimy monsters.
What's the damage?
While Wil Wheaton is now beloved for his online geekery (and STAND BY ME nostalgia), the actor was once reviled by fandom for his portrayal of Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." So if you're a hardcore Trekkie whose criteria for a great movie involves Wil Wheaton covered in manure and getting slapped repeatedly, THE CURSE should satisfy your bloodlust. For everyone else, it's Awfully Good garbage.
Wil Wheaton turned to the only person you can trust in times of need…Slightly Chubby Gary Cole.
But not for lack of "talent!" Listen to the bizarre pedigree here: THE CURSE is based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, directed by actor David Keith (DAREDEVIL's dad!), stars Wheaton and "Dukes of Hazzard" vet John Schneider, and has second unit directing by none other than Italian gore director Lucio Fulci. I can't think of a movie comprised of a weirder mishmash of people. Okay, maybe SOUTHLAND TALES. But THE CURSE is still pretty weird too.
Though clearly excited about her product, Ethel proved to be a poor knife saleswoman.
The first thing to note is that there's no real curse in the movie, except maybe the general bad luck of living in the exact spot where an alien disease-bearing rock happens to land. (It was originally titled THE FARM for this less exciting reason.) The giant meteorite falls from the night sky (unfortunately it's not dark enough to disguise the metal pipe guiding the prop on-set), glows an ominous hue, changes shape and leaks some weird extraterrestrial sludge. Nope, definitely nothing out of the ordinary! The police quickly deduce that the Asteroid of Doom is actually frozen poop fallen from a passing plane (which leads to many humorous lines about "airplane doo doo"). Everybody ignores Zack's (Wheaton's) concerns and goes about their lives, even his whore mother who we see attempt to seduce a farmhand who was so hairy I thought the film was about to introduce werewolves to the plot. (I wish….)
The townsfolk never forgot the day Paul Bunyan's testicles finally dropped.
Soon the alien liquid begins seeping in to the town's water and almost immediately begins turning the crops in to rotten vegetables filled with maggots and what looks to be human blood. The animals follow suit, going crazy and also filled with goo, maggots and bugs. This leads to several amazing sequences where peaceful chickens and dogs attack humans and cows explode bugs on people. Not long after, Zack's cheating mother (a flat out terrible actress who mistakenly calls Wheaton's character "Wil") also begins turning in to a murderous psycho with huge sores on her face that soon transform in to straight up Elephant Man stuff. Of course, all the drama about the wife's infidelities or the financially failing farm that are set up in the first half are conveniently (and understandably) forgotten once the shit hits the f— er…meteor sludge hits the water supply.
Frank would soon find out what it was like to be stalked by present day Meg Ryan.
But still, in spite of all of this, nobody believes Zack about the meteor's ill effects! His redneck stepfather, Neanderthal brother and pretty much the rest of his clearly idiot town just think they're having a little bad luck with their crop and livestock and that Zack's mom is just on her period. It's not until the film's action packed finale, where trees start uprooting themselves and the farmhouse starts exploding for no reason that the adults are like, "Hey, maybe something strange is going on here…." (Also, the destructive house effects are hilariously bad, like they bought a model at the store and had a three year old play with it roughly.) Just as our preteen hero is about to meet certain doom…in comes Bo Duke from out of nowhere to save the day! The end. Hooray?
"What do you mean 'bad touching?' Jonathan Frakes just told me my hands would go where no hands have gone befo— Oh God!"
One last thing: THE CURSE features the same writer as NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET's most homoerotic installment, FREDDY'S REVENGE. This might explain some similar thematic elements in this movie, mainly the fact that Wil Wheaton's 14 year old character doesn’t seem to ever wear a shirt or that his tub o' lard brother likes to regularly expose his butt and wear midriffs.
This vintage trailer should give you an example of the film's horrible line readings.
1) Let's just call this "Maggot Explosion" and leave it at that.
2) A woman mistakenly assumes she can outrun a pack of vicious infected dogs. A man mistakenly assumes he can walk in to a dark barn without being attacked by a monster
Some lingerie-clad ladies, but that's about it.
Play Along at Home!
Take a shot or drink every time:
- Wil Wheaton gets slapped
- Wil Wheaton isn’t wearing a shirt
- Animals attack
- You see the step brother's butt
- The farmer recites a bible verse
Double shot if:
- Wil Wheaton isn't wearing pants
- Maggot explosion!
Thanks to our very own Eric Wallkuski for suggesting this week's movie!
Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.