Monsoon-A-Day: ‘Curtains’ 1983

Welcome to Monsoon-a-day.
Where I watch and review a movie a day

Day 18

 

If you were to ask a group of horror fans what the origin of the Slasher film is, You’d probably get a bunch of different answers. Some would pick Halloween, Some would choose Black Christmas, while others would go a bit further back with Psycho and Peeping Tom but the true origin of the Slasher was released 30 years before any of them.

Thirteen Women is a 1932 film about a woman picking off Sorority Sisters one by one till there’s none left.

Some Scholars believe this was the inspiration for the book- And Then There Were None (I can’t write it’s original title) which pretty much wrote the tropes all slasher films use today.

  • Group of strangers in one location.
  • One by one, they all start dying
  • It’s usually a twist on who the killer is

That formula has been used in everything from House on Haunted Hill, to Friday the 13th. The only element the Slasher Film added was the inclusion of a mask. The killer always wears a mask to sell Halloween costumes.

That brings us to the 1983 film Curtains.

Samantha Sherwood (Samantha Eggar) is a famous ageing actress who decides to go full Daniel Day-Lewis and method the hell out of her latest performance and actually commits herself to an insane asylum to better understand the character.

The Director, taking advantage of the situation, decides to keep her there so he can cast the role with a younger actress.

He holds an audition for 6 actresses at his house to see which one has whatever he’s looking for. Or he’s trying to nail em all. And the older actress breaks out of the asylum. And the competition starts getting lower and lower…

It’s a pretty by the numbers affair but what’s interesting is at every murder scene there’s a doll.

The movie never explains the relevance of the doll. Why the killer is obsessed with leaving the doll around for victims to find.

Or the fact that Michael Wincott plays a character named Matthew who’s also in the house. He’s in one scene having sex with one of the actresses and is never seen or even mentioned again. If he’s a red herring, they spent no effort setting it up. He just disappears.

It’s not a good film but who the real killer is actually surprised me and the set up isn’t that bad. It’s one of those horror films that could easily be remade today.

I have a rule about slasher films and it’s been fairly on point:

If the killers Mask/Costume isn’t cool, the movie isn’t good.

Would you buy that mask at a Halloween store?