Saturday, 10 January 2015

Curtains (1983)

Country: CANADA

Beset by production difficulties, the 1983 Canadian slasher flick Curtains, emerges from the early 80’s effluent as a quite thoughtful, intelligent, and at times lyrical contribution to the horror genre. The slasher film is the horror sub-genre that I have the lowest regard for, so when one comes across my screen that is a little bit different I tend towards generosity. In the case of Curtains I’m willing to overlook the myriad plot deficiencies; the only partially developed characters, and the patchy performances, because the film has a fairly original premise, and an offbeat tone that is most welcome. The producer of Curtains was Peter R. Simpson, who a few years before had scored a major commercial success with Prom Night (1980), and clearly sought to replicate that feat. Simpson evidently knew what ingredients were required to make a successful horror picture in a market place that was obese with derivative product. The first time director was Robert Ciupka, a cinematographer, who brought with him a wealth of visual artistry. Therein lies the tragedy of Curtains, the reason why there is a push and pull between the market and art, why the film only partially succeeds, why the film suffers from an uneven style and a number of structural weaknesses. It is also the reason the film, which commenced shooting in late 1980, didn’t see the light of day until 1983. A clash of philosophies between producer and director would ultimately be the films undoing and lead to marginalisation, commercial failure, and for fans of horror, badly distributed and poor quality releases.

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