Movie Name: Curtains
Studio: Jensen Farley Pictures
Release Date(s): March 4, 1983
MPAA Rating: R
Jonathan Stryker (John Vernon) is finally bringing the novel Audra to the screen and Samantha Sherwood (Samantha Eggar) knows that she is Audra’s Audra. With Stryker’s help, she secretly enters an asylum to prepare for the role, but Samantha quickly learns Stryker has betrayed her by finding six women to audition for Audra during a weekend in the woods. Escaping the asylum, Samantha joins the other contenders to win the role, but when a mysterious masked killer begins to kill the competition…has Samantha finally cracked?
Directed by Richard Ciupka, Curtains is a horror film released in 1983 after being shelved for a few years. The slasher film bombed at the box office but gained a cult following over the years.
I remember the cover for Curtains at the video store, but never checked it out…going for the classic slasher films like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. While Curtains never started a franchise, it has some fun jumps, a slightly different plot, and is worth checking out for fans of the genre.
I thought Curtains was going to go a completely different direction from the start of the film. The movie spends a lot of time setting up Samantha in the asylum, and I thought she’d become trapped there…resulting in horror. Instead, that aspect is kind of scrapped about twenty minutes in with Samantha escaping and just showing up at the audition. It is a bit of a lost opportunity, but the audition portion of the movie is the meat of the picture since it is when the slashing starts.
The opening automatically paints Samantha as the go-to killer, but the plots do some twists that leave it not so cut and dry. The storyline has some clever kills with the laughable figure skating scene (with the killer taking the time to lace up). The final ending of the movie does blur the “who’s the killer” moment, but the movie has some casting problems that does muddle the plot.
Other than John Vernon and Samantha Eggar, the cast of Curtains is rather bland. It would have been better to have a more diverse cast since the girls all get lost in their auditions. The characters backstories were all lost in that the women all blended. Today, the cast would have probably been more diverse, but here, all the women have a similar look.
The movie is a fun slasher though it doesn’t really make a lot sense. The killer often uses a doll as bait before killing. The killer also wears an evil woman mask and is pretty stylish. The scenes in the asylum are also pretty good, but the movie didn’t do enough with it.
Curtains is a different kind of horror film, and fans of horror will enjoy it. Slashers ruled the ’80s, and Curtains was often overlooked. It is always fun to “discover” new ’80s horror films since they are often less scary and more funny…and therefore fun on multiple fronts. Find a new horror film and open Curtains for a good time.