To me, the epitome of the horror genre has always been slasher films. Sure, monsters and creatures are scary, but we know that stuff like that can never happen. With slashers, however, the danger is a little more realistic; it is always possible that a mysterious stalker could be watching and waiting to get you, at any moment. One such film that seems to get mentioned in discussion from time to time is Richard Ciupka’s Curtains.
On paper, the premise for Ciupka’s 1983 film seems like a perfect fit in the sub-genre every fan knows and loves — a group of young, beautiful actresses gather in a director’s mansion to audition for a role in play, entitled Audra. Each actress is then picked off systematically, until we reach the end and the killer is revealed, of course. So, what could have gone wrong with a setup such as that one? Unfortunately, it seems everything went wrong.
The execution just didn’t seem to be there. I found myself disinterested the entire time and almost confused at various stages, also. With too many jump scares and false terror, there is certainly a lack of cohesion as the story unfolds. I was never able to really grasp what was going on because there seemed to be some sort of strange side-story being crammed down our throat, trying too hard to throw us off from figuring out who the real killer was. Let me assure you, I don’t think anyone will care enough about the film to really try to figure anything out before the climax any way.
In addition to the poor execution, ineffective lighting, shaky camera work, and lack of blood, pile up Curtains’ woes higher and higher. The one good thing that can be said about this film, however, is that the acting was performed very well. Each actor did a great job with the exception of a few, but sadly, it wasn’t enough to really pull the entire film together.
If you love slashers just as much as I do, you should definitely watch this one, if not only to mark it off your “to-see” list. I give Curtains 1.5 actresses out of 5.
The 1983 slasher film Curtains directed by Richard Ciupka is extremely hard to come by on DVD, at the moment. So, when I stumbled upon a four-pack of films that contained it, I just had to grab it, based solely on what I had read on the internet, calling it a ‘lost classic with such a creepy mask and some awesome kills.’
Well, this transfer of Curtains is lower than VHS-quality, actually having some tracking lines in it, but I’m not gonna gripe too much about the packaging mainly because we actually get to have the film on DVD…until someone like Shout! Factory gives it a proper release. The film, itself, really isn’t anything special. Six actresses trying out for the same role are being offed one by one by a killer in a creepy old woman mask, which really is the best part of the film.
Considering that Curtains is about actresses, you would think that the acting would be a little above average. Ironically, only a few actually stand out. John Vernon really does a great job with such a red herring role, but that’s about the biggest redeeming factor acting-wise for this film. Yes, it’s hard to find, but that doesn’t make it a classic like Maniac or The Prowler; it’s just another 80’s slasher, lost in obscurity (for now).
It’s one of those films that you won’t love, but you’re not going to absolutely hate it either. It has some creepy moments here and there and really picks up the pace the last half of the film, but for me it just wasn’t enough. I won’t be calling this one a classic any time soon.
I give this film 1.5 casting couch jokes out of 5.