Cathy's Curse (1977)

APRIL 10, 2007

GENRE: GHOST, KILLER KID, POSSESSION
SOURCE: DVD (BUDGET PACK!)

The purchase of my 50 movies for 20 bucks set that has provided this blog with several (disappointing) entries was single-handedly validated with Cathy's Curse (aka Cauchemares). I’d have gladly forked over the entire 20 for this movie alone.

Not that it’s any good, mind you. But it simply must be seen to be believed.

First of all, the writer’s use of profanity is simply unparalleled. The words (primarily “bitch” and “shit”) come spewing with such venom and hatred (mostly out of the mouth of the eponymous Cathy, a 7 year old girl) that nearly every line becomes a ‘memorable quotes’-worthy classic. My personal favorite comes about halfway through the film, when a medium is attempting to rid Cathy of her curse. The understandably angry Cathy responds “Medium?!? I’d say EXTRA RARE PIECE OF SHIT!” Whether you’re a 7 year old girl possessed by the ghost of your dead aunt or not, what the hell kind of thing is that to say to someone? I have no idea, but I love him for writing it.

It makes one wish the entire script consisted of only unnecessarily mean-spirited profanity, especially when other lines, such as “You and I both know I had a nervous breakdown!” come rolling around. There are also bafflingly odd moments sprinkled throughout, such as when Cathy breaks a vase. The maid is cleaning up, she picks up two (of about a hundred) pieces and says “There, it’s all done” and leaves the rest of the mess on the floor. Not to mention cinema’s least subtle foreshadowing ever (“I should oil this door, it sticks. Someone could get trapped up there”).

To equal the inane script, director Eddy Matalon keeps things baffling with his stubborn refusal to ever film a single establishing shot throughout the entire film. We come and go into scenes with nary an explanation of where we are, how much later is, and, in the most extreme case, who the fuck we are even looking at (1:07 into the film: A man is shown walking out of a house and into his car. We’ve never seen him before, we never see him again). Some scenes are broken up by quickly cutting to others, like when two characters are investigating a dead dog and we slam cut to the dog’s owner giving a solemn soliloquy for a few seconds, then cut right back to the investigation. As Tom Servo once said: “The movie that delivers more 'huh?'s per second!” He also fails to hide his obvious shortcuts, such as when Cathy almost drowns. She is shown being in what is obviously deep water in underwater closeup, but when her dad saves her, we cut to a wide shot and the water isn’t even up to his waist.

I plan to buy this movie again on its own DVD (which, in keeping with the film’s bizarrely incoherent tone, features a leather clad vixen on the cover that in no way has anything to do with the film). Not only would I be proud to have it displayed along with my collection (since I am OCD and thus all DVDs are alphabetical, I believe it would be sandwiched between Candyman and Child’s Play, to give it a touch of class), but the quality is the absolute worst I have seen on this budget set. It honestly looks like a theater shot video bootleg. The compression is so bad that whenever the camera moves, everything turns into mush. It basically looks like someone placed the Smear filter from After Effects over the whole movie. It’s also scratched to hell, and strangely, the first 20 minutes or so have the letters SC imbedded in the corner (strange because the company responsible for the DVD is Mill Creek). Dammit Mill Creek, this goddamn pinnacle of ineptitude deserves better!

What say you?

14 comments:

  1. Fuuuuuuuuuuckkk. I've wanted to see this since I saw the poster in one of the Psychotronic Encyclopedias. Which of those boxes is this in? I need to invest in them.

    YOU GET THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD YET?

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  2. No house yet (unless its in one of the sets, i have to pick up TERROR once i have some money). This ones in the CHILLING box which so far is much better than HORROR.

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  3. Fuck that was a funny review. You made my night! I am so going to have to buy this box set tomorrow. Like you I have OCD and must own every DVD....for better or worse!

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  4. haha please do... I've been asking people all day if they have seen it and so far no dice. the "extra rare piece of SHIT!" line alone should have catapulted this gem up with plan 9 and manos long ago...

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  5. i will watch this movie.

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  6. I have this box set as well. Your assessment was dead on. Keep up the work, especially on the "chilling 50 movies pack".

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  7. Yeah I think I will start tagging the 50 Chilling movies so they can all be easily found later. Any other suggestions from the set that I haven't watched yet? Other than PIECES, I think every one I have watched has an entry here...

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  8. Ah yes, I've tangled with this little bitch myself. My favorite scene has to be the maid getting hurled out the second story window.

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  9. "... 1:07 into the film: A man is shown walking out of a house and into his car. We’ve never seen him before, we never see him again."

    Dude, you had me cracking up over and over again over this throughout the day. Thank you for this website/blog.

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  10. Good Heavens! I worked on this tax-shelter epic YEARS ago (with other wacky jobs like Black Roses & Edge of Hell - both highly reccomended). I thought it made no sense - & now that's what people like about it! Is it because people like laughing at bad movies - or are they seeing it as a "non" narrative classic?

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  11. Personally, I just love the sheer hatred going on. I mean, the 2nd line of the movie is "Your mother's a bitch!". And the review talks about the "extra rare piece of shit" line at length. If you really worked on it - do you know of anyone that has a 35 or even 16 mm print of the film??? I have been begging my local indie theater to show it on one of their horror nights and they haven't been able to find one...

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  12. Anonymous 3/21/09, who are you?! Can we interview you?

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  13. Holy Crap! I remember seeing this movie when I was about 4 (My Older sister dragged me to this movie with her boyfriend). I didn't think anyone ever even heard of this movie much less saw it. The sad part was I remember people in the theatre actually cheering when Cathy's father busted down a door with an ax to get to his possesed daughter. BTW, does anyone remember the last name of this dysfunctinal family?

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  14. Finally watched this movie and it did not disappoint. Your review is way funnier now that I've actually seen the movie!!!

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