The Curse (1987)
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Duh-Duh-Duhhnn! I'm guessing that maybe this meteor is supposed to be a punishment from God (or so the husband says.)
Everyone but the younger brother and his sister eat the food and drink the water from the farm. First, the fruits and vegetables start to rot/become infested with insects/fill up with brownish fluid. Next, the chickens attack the daughter, and the horse kicks one of the brothers. After that, the cows become sick and start spewing up maggots. By this time, the mother, who was infected first I'm guessing, starts to break out in these nasty little blisters. Eventually, she starts talking in gibberish, eats with her fingers and tries to stitch a cloth to her hand, then she tries to kill her husband. The husband puts her in the shed for the next few days. The next person to show signs of infection is the brother, who starts acting like more of a buttmunch than usual. A dog on their farm kills a traveling salesman's assisstant, and the wife ends up munching the salesman's guts. When the husband finds out he moves his wife to the attic. Meanwhile, the main character (Will Wheaton) tries to figure out how to save his sister from his now-criminally insane family. That night, his father finds him in the shed looking for his mother. Then he notices that his son has a backpack filled with evil, sinful, store-bought food. His father tells him he's unappreciative and tries to beat him. When that fails, he tries to kill him. The brother is able to hold him off until the house starts collapsing. A friend of the family comes by to save Will Wheaton and his sister, but Will says he has to save his mother. He goes up to the attic, and in one of the most creepy scenes of the movie, he watches his mother rot away into a puddle of black goo. He escapes just in time to watch the house sink into the ground, sending his unholy kinfolk into redneck hell!
I liked this movie, it WAS poorly acted, but it was far-fetched to begin with. There are some genuinely nasty moments that will make your skin crawl. For instance, after the chickens attack the little girl the camera zooms in as their eyes collapse in the sockets and start bleeding this nasty yellow goop. Or the scene where the cow's udder splits open and locusts fly out. Or the scene where the mother cuts open a head of lettuce to reveal it's putrid, rotting innards (and lettuce doesn't even HAVE innards!). The film is very dark in atmosphere and there is a sense of impending doom throughout the whole film, not unlike that of Poltergeist. I give it 6 1/2 out of 10 because the acting, other than that of Wheaton and Akins, was horrendous.
The Curse had all the makings of being a decent film. But the director and writers just don't fully understand the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Dumbingt down the man's work for a pedestrian horror film just doesn't cut it. Whilst it get's an A for effort it get's an F minus in execution. Bad acting, sloppy direction and lousy dialog dooms this movie from the get go. Better luck next time.
Not recommended, unless you're a H.P. Lovecraft completist.
7/10 (8,5/10 within the genre)
This is 1987, the classic year for 80's horror, and this little film is no exception. It harbors a real deviant and nihilistic quality that makes it disturbing to watch. Icky, gooey slime oozes from vegetables, animals and human beings suggesting the worst effects of a diseased and tragic aftermath of cosmic proportions in the typical Lovecraftian sense. Wil Wheaton portrays the sympathetic protagonist as he must not only confront the terror at hand, but deal with being alienated by his step-family's cruelty and oppression. With everyone against him and time running out, poor Wil, being the only one intelligent enough not to drink the water or eat the food must convince authorities that something extremely weird is going on. A gloomy ambiance looms over the mood of this lost 80's gem thanks to Director/Actor, David Keith. Nothing about this film is comforting or reassuring. Spielberg look out!
Poor Zack(Wil Wheaton) has to rough it on his own once his mother, Francis(Kathleen Jordon Gregory) becomes "under the weather" and his sister(Amy, Wil's sis) is assaulted by manic chickens, as Nathan(Akins) and his antagonistic jerk son, Cyrus(Malcolm Danare), both even worse after being infected, torment him through insults and harsh treatment..you see he's not their blood(..his mother married Nathan, it seems, because they needed support he could give) which means they feel little pity or affection towards him. Nathan is a hard, strict, bible-quoting fanatic who doesn't want anyone "butting in" to matters he considers private, even if disease and death spread because of the infected water, or what's evident before him, the fact that his family are afflicted with a plague.
Tolerating Claude Akins for the duration of this film proves to be difficult because he's such a loud and repugnant creature you just want to see suffer in the worst possible way for the problems he causes. And, Wheaton is certainly easy to sympathize with because he's caught between a rock and hard place, little wiggle room to remove himself as madness evolves all around him. Of course, those involved in attempting to cover up something which could prove harmful regarding future prosperity will get their just desserts. Some really spine-tingling make-up effects showing what the mutations and disease cause to humans(and particularly the fruit and cattle)such as opening wounds bursting forth maggots, slimy puss, and beetles! The climax, as the house literally begins imploding while sinking into the earth, is a bit too much. The hideous nature for which causes mother Francis to deform into a ghastly monstrosity is really potent stuff. I'm sure Akins and Danare's fate will be met with applause. I do consider The Curse a success in regards to how it can effectively make your skin crawl, but other than that, I find this rather foul in all respects. It seems to suffer post-production problems, in script particularly, as characters vanish, while others make such preposterous choices which could cause irreversible results(..not to mention a ridiculous ending which leads us to believe that nothing was done in regards to the crisis of the film, written off as no threat or danger to the communities surrounding the farm whose soil and water could cause a national outbreak).
This is part of a series of films unrelated to each other.
The characters who suffer the most are the ones you WANT to see suffer, (well, most of them, anyway), right from the get-go. I love that; seeing mean, awful, stupid characters just having a horrible time. And they don't die quickly, oh no. They're embarrassed, injured, made to look really stupid and THEN killed.
If you've ever wanted to see a giggling woman sew a sock onto her hand, this is your chance. Or a little girl pecked half to death by chickens, which she could've very easily just ran away from. Sure it's ridiculous, but it's fun to watch.
To my mind this stands on the same ground as "Critters" or "Pet Cemetery Two". Its production values are low, the script is predictable, and the pace isn't great, but it is super fun to watch if you like that sort of thing.
Plus, if you're familiar with Lovecraft's work, this is "The Colour Out Of Space", minus the color itself. To be fair, when this was made, doing credit to an indescribable, animated color would've been very expensive, and it was obvious that this was made on a shoe string.
To me, The Curse, is mostly funny(intentionally or not), part horror but either way, still an absurd movie! Absurd because we've an inconsistent story that messes things up. There's an alien object that crash lands on earth and changes the lives of a farm family for the worse. Which is all fine, but this object is erratic in its destructive nature, thereby giving its victims enough time to flee. It seems to kill people or animals only when it's in the mood :-)
There're certain characters too, after being in important scenes, just disappear from the proceedings after a while, and we've no clue as to what happens to them.
However there're on screen moments that are quite scary, coupled with eerie background score that heightens the anticipation.
And some of the acting also contribute, bringing the fear factor alive in the movie - like Wil Wheaton as Zack, Claude Akins(as the god-fearing, strict stepfather of Zack) and Kathleen Jordon Gregory(as Zack's mother). Kathleen's performance, especially, is the highlight of The Curse.
Also, let's not forget the enough doses of skin show that adds to the excitement or fear...whichever way we want it :p
Verdict: If you've always enjoyed illogical or senseless horror, The Curse perfectly fits the chill, oops...bill :)
Now that is bad.
Oddly only a small glimpse of the town is visible in the movie, in the scene where you can see an old barbed wire fence outside of the car window as John Schneider drives down the road... well the hill just above it has contained 3 apartment complexes since around 1992 and I currently reside in one of them.
In another scene you can see out the door of the "Inn" (if you can call it that) the old historic Co-Op building which used to be a Railroad Station that was used in the Civil War (tracks have been gone since 1990 or so).
Fortunately I did spend the other half of my childhood in various other places across the country.
Unfortunately, I am currently residing in good Ole' Tellico Plains Tennessee again ..... can't seem to stay out of this place .... aaahhh... omg it is a curse!!!!
The Curse is obviously low-budget: special effects are pretty crappy (although some are better than others), music sucks, and most of the scenes appear to not have had more than one "take". But still a brave effort!
Acting is not bad. And scattered throughout are little sly and subtle bits of ad-lib-type humour which caught me by surprise, making me laugh out loud more than once.
Rated 6 out of 10 for an entertaining watch without high expectations.
While much of the film's direction is bland and strictly pedestrianised, there are some things in its favour. But firstly, the down side. The film was made in the mid '80s, and the influence is clear. I somehow thought that with the Italian involvement in the production, there might be some difference, but no, the television atmosphere is certainly there with an obvious low budget and rubbery effects. Also, the acting is uniformly bad in this film, with Wil Wheaton (young star of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION) not being a strong enough actor to carry the film, in fact he is strictly mundane. His real-life sister is given little to do and lacks any of the personality of Heather O'Rourke, child actress of the POLTERGEIST series.
The actors playing the rest of the family overindulge themselves by overacting horribly, the worst offender being the boy playing the brother, who incredibly tries to play the disgusting premise of this film for laughs! Claude Akins is the only realistically effective character, his religious, stereotyped redneck a lot like the redneck in DEMENTED DEATH FARM MASSACRE: THE MOVIE(but which came first?). The rest of the cast are faceless and bland, including one blonde woman whose sole purpose is to walk around in lacy underwear in one scene.
Another bad factor is the score, which is constructed of loud, intrusive rock music, totally at odds with what little atmosphere that there is. However, if you stick with the film, you might find yourself enjoying it despite the many faults. For one, the story retains the essential ingredients of Lovecraft's tale, so for those of us who haven't read the story, the film will be freshly original. The special effects are mainly on the good side, apart from the absurd glowing meteorite which looks like a huge beach ball.
There is an effective montage showing the varied use of water on the farm, such as watering plants, drinking, feeding cattle, and of course we all know that there is something bad in the water and that there will be disastrous consequences. The images of rotted vegetation - especially the tomatoes, packed with maggots, are excellent, and other scenes like when a chicken dies and slime comes out of its eye are also effective, and highly reminiscent of the alien plants from CONTAMINATION.
Unfortunately in the last reel the film falls apart, quickly decimating the cast in a variety of non-violent ways, and it becomes just like any other middling '80s film. However, the makeup effects of the pulsating boils and the disintegration of the mother into a slimy, rotted thing are truly, wonderfully disgusting and well worth waiting for. The Italian influence on the film is clear, with roughly 40% of scenes having that Italian 'feel' to them, and interesting the associate producer is credited as Louis (Lucio?) Fulci, who knows if this is the maverick gore master or not? THE CURSE is an interesting but badly flawed adaptation of a Lovecraft story, worth seeing for fans who want something more than another generic slasher movie. For an earlier version of the same story, check out DIE, MONSTER, DIE!
While not a pop crowd pleaser, it did catch the Lovecraft dead dark black kinda occult emotion. I will never forget this black-dead-space emotion, which I had never felt before, coming off the big screen in the Tennessee theater in Knoxville, TN; the small screen of TV may not give the same effect.
For those fond of art horror films it could be a cult film for its ability to go for the emotion of the book rather than modifying it to be just a typical Hollywood film.
The gross out scenes, bugs on people, hurt the otherwise cult feel of an other-world creation as the house environment is attacked by a force.
The directorial debut of David Keith who is better known as an actor it comes as no surprise that in the twenty years since The Curse was made he has only directed two other things, judging by the results here he obviously decided somewhat wisely to concentrate on his acting career... Anyway, the script by David Chaskin, whose only other previous script was for A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985), was filmed under the title 'The Well' & was supposedly based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft interestingly called 'The Colour Out of Space' & is just a little bit different that makes this stand out from the countless slasher films that were being made during the 80's, unfortunately however that still doesn't mean it's any good. It's funny because while I was watching The Curse for the first time last night since it was originally released in the late 80's & knowing of it's bad reputation I sat there thinking we all complain about films, in particular horror, not being original yet when something that at least tries to be different comes along like The Curse they almost always get bad reviews because of them being silly or stupid, I'm not really sure where I'm going or what I'm trying to say with that statement but it feels relevant. The film moves along at a reasonable pace at less than 90 minutes in length & at least I never got bored with it, the character's & dialogue are poor but just about suffice & most of all it entertained me & as far as I'm concerned that's what films are all about regardless of any other consideration & it's as simple & straight forward as that. On the negative side there's a distinct lack of exploitation or gore & the character's & story aren't quite good enough on they're own to save The Curse. I also didn't get what the meteorite was in the end & there was no consistency in it's explanation, at first everything was explained in a scientific way with the goo altering the molecular structure of living things but at the end it suddenly appeared to become some supernatural force as it ripped the farmhouse apart without much explanation of how it did so.
Director Keith does alright, it looks OK although there is one terrible special effect when the meteorite originally lands. If you look closely at the left hand side of the screen during the shot when the meteorite hits the ground for the first time the resulting explosion & fire illuminates the rod/stick thing that is attached to the model meteorite & is being used to 'move' it along the obviously model set! Overall though the special effects are OK, there's an unfortunate & somewhat frustrating lack of gore, someone gets some fingers stuck in their neck & someone is stabbed with a pitchfork but generally speaking it's pretty tame. There are a few quite effective scenes here including a gross bit when someone bites into an apple & it's literally full of crawling maggots which has to be right up there as your worst nightmare, I think I'd be physically sick & wouldn't be able to eat another piece of fruit ever again!
Technically the film is OK, it's reasonably well made without being spectacular or anything. The IMDb states that The Curse was an American production but I was interested to see several familiar names from the Italian horror industry listed in the credits including Ovidio G. Assonitis & Lucio Fulci on the production side of things & the fact that some of it was actually shot in Rome in Italy. The acting is OK, apparently actor Wil Wheaton said the only good thing about The Curse was that his sister got a job because of it, I think there will be some out there who see even less good points in it. The cast list also credits someone called Steve Davis with a part, I can safely but regrettably inform everyone that it's not the famous British snooker player...
The Curse is one of those strange films, it's one of those films where the general public opinion is that it's complete crap & to be fair I would have a hard time arguing with that assessment but, & there's always a but, for whatever reason that I can't really explain I liked it. I'm not sure what that says about me but I reckon this just might be misunderstood...
So, why do all these ultra low budget film makers have to torture poor H.P. Lovecraft stories? I mean, is there any excuse for it? I put forward that , no, there is not.
This little diamond of poop managed to rope Sheriff Lobo and Luke Duke in to it's crap-trap. And wow! They got Will Wheaton (so?!?).
Okay, it was based on the Colour out of Space (sort of), so, being an HPL fan, I had to get it. Well, I got it....I even went in skeptical, and knowing it was a lame 'un, but still was disappointed.