Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Curse Words: "Cathy's Curse" (1977)

This review gives away the entire movie because I care about you too much to make you watch it.

This Canadian effort opens with a little girl being taken by her father to go find her mother and little brother, who have left the dad. Right away, things do not make sense. There is no explanation why the mother took the son but left the daughter. Anyway, dad swerves to miss a little white bunny in the road, crashes the car, and he and daughter die.

Fast forward twenty years (and maybe until the end of this film), and little brother is all grown up and moving back into his childhood home with his wife and a daughter named Cathy. An elderly cleaning lady and a handyman greet the family, introduce themselves as certain murder victims, and help the family move in. Cathy takes the dead daughter's old room, and finds the dead daughter's favorite toy in the attic. The toy, a doll with its eyes sewn shut, is an object of constant bickering between Cathy and her mother.

The film makers make no bones about the fact that Cathy is haunted by her long dead child aunt, but they can never seem to decide who is doing the haunting. Is the gruesome doll possessed? No, the doll is not always present when weird things happen. Why does the doll have her eyes sewn shut? Never explained. If the dead child's possessions were so odious and offensive, why were they not thrown out twenty years earlier after the daughter died? That would make too much sense for our illustrious director. Is the house haunted? Possibly, but by the dead daughter? There is no indication as to the daughter's possible evil. Maybe she is mad at the mind altering 1970's wallpaper treatments in her old home. I almost became possessed by Christopher Lowell just so I could pull the crappy decorating down. Is Cathy just having a spell of ESP and a case of major whoopass? She is able to make some characters "see" things such as rats, snakes, and leaches, but this little devilish power is never explored, either. It just seems like the ghost here is eternally pissed off at something, and takes her revenge on the unsuspecting, idiotic cast members.

Since this is a badly written horror film, we must have a psychic come to the house for no other reason than to sense "evil." She is sent running and screaming into the streets. The cleaning woman is thrown through the second story window and dies. Cathy's mom flips out enough to be sent to Trembling Pines Relaxation Hovel and Insane Asylum. Elderly handyman, a drinker, watches Cathy, but his prized Doberman is poisoned. Through this creepy chain of events, Cathy's father remains oblivious to his own surroundings, never mind the constant presence of police, EMTs, and veterinary coroners in his manicured front yard. He chalks it up to bad luck and constantly goes to the "building site," although we are never sure if he is an architect, construction foreman, or bologna sandwich maker in the chuckwagon. In the conclusion, Cathy's mom figures everything out and saves Cathy from...well, I still do not know, my earlier questions were never answered.

This is a spiteful, mean little film in which the writers and director have just as much contempt for the viewer as they do for their own characters. I honestly could not believe entire scenes as the actors spoke horrid lines and tried to make me believe they were a family. Watch for the omelet scene, where father and daughter exchange some of the most unbelievably stilted dialogue ever captured.

"Cathy's Curse" cannot be taken seriously, the only real threatening curse here is on the unsuspecting video renter. I highly unrecommend it. (*) out of five stars.