If I've had any kind of theme this year, it's been flicks that I've tracked down based on my own vague and misty memories from what counts for me as a distant past. Curtains hails from a time when obscure slasher movies ran like gushing streams through the sylvan forests of late night cable TV. My memories of it are fond ones, and it turns out deservedly so.
The movie opens with totally awesome movie director Jonathan Stryker, played by the jerk dean from Animal House, being a total jerk. Well, not right away, but you know it's coming. That fucking guy put Delta House on Double Secret Probation!
Stryker and his favorite actress Samantha Sherwood hatch a plan whereby she will fake mental instability and be committed in order to get authentic perspective for an insane character named Audra. Can you think of anything dumber than pretending to attempt stabbing someone while in the office of the head of a lunatic asylum? Me neither.
Naturally Stryker decides the whole "she's old and washed up and she can't handle it so she's in the booby hatch" idea works just fine for him as a non-hoax. He ditches Samantha and holds an exclusive Audra casting session at his estate in the wintery countryside. Samantha reads about it in Variety, because of course if you're a director at the top of your game you don't pass up an opportunity to announce in print that you're going to bang at least three different chicks this coming weekend.
Samantha effortlessly escapes in a scene we don't even see, and soon afterwards somebody starts picking off the short list of actresses invited to Stryker's, sporting a genuinely creepy old hag mask. Also deployed is the unlikely prop of the saddest doll ever made, although it has no practical or thematic relevance to any of the murders. It's just spooky as hell, to a degree not captured by the poster above. Any little girl who looked upon it would instantly start crying.
According to Wikipedia, word-of-mouth among horror fans has boosted Curtains from a forgettable Canadian slasher film (is there any other kind?) to something of a cult hit. The ice-skating chase scene is cited as the movie's peak, and it certainly holds itself up. Managing to be scary on a glaringly bright winter morning is no mean feat.
While it doesn't hold back on the standard-issue goofy stuff, this is a worthwhile addition to any Horrorthonner's personal viewing roster. The writing, characters and plot all hold up admirably for such a withered old hag.
Wait! I didn't mean it!
Fuck, everybody run! No time for skates!