The Curse (1987)

Something is terribly wrong with the cabbage! And the tomatoes have gone freaking postal! As if Frances didn’t face enough horror in the bedroom when Claude Akins rebuffs her advances thus sending her into the hideously hirsute arms of the local handyman, now she can’t even make a salad without being infected with an extraterrestrial element that turns her into a pus-oozing demon!

How in the world is she going to save the family farm and help heal the rift between her son Zack and his hyper-religious step-father while she’s so crazy she starts to sew her own hand? That’s easy! She’s going to disintegrate into a tarry black pool of bio-ick while Zack runs “you’re not my real dad!” Nathan through with a pitchfork as the entire house is collapsing around all of them! This is my favorite evil crashed meteor ever!

Zack (Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Wil Wheaton) is having trouble adjusting to his new hillbilly family. His step-dad is a Bible-quote spewing sourpuss who seems to be channeling the not so secret fantasy of mean-spirited Trekkies everywhere by slapping the tachyons out of Zack whenever Zack gets a little bit lippy.

To make matters worse, Zack has to put up with the bullying ways of his stepbrother, Cyrus. Being pushed into a pile of manure that you’ve been forced to shovel is by itself pretty traumatic. Zack though is forced to endure something so unspeakable that frankly it renders all the outer space malevolence perpetrated by the monstrous meteorite as a mere afterthought! I speak of course of the half-shirt that the fat ass Cyrus wears throughout the film!

Cyrus is a big fan of the Tennessee Volunteers football team and unfortunately chooses to display his allegiance by displaying his big flabby gut as he inexplicably wears a way too short Volunteers jersey!

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Zack gets a measure of revenge when Cyrus is trampled by a crazed horse and as he scrambles underneath the barb wire fence, Zack lets the fence drop right across his doughy ass! This event led to the most shocking moment in a film loaded with delectably icky moments (rotted cows, John “Bo Duke” Schneider in big eyeglasses) when Zack’s crazy mom applies iodine to Cyrus’s ass and begins playing connect the dots! Thankfully, Nathan put a stop to this before she could start doing the Jumble on his hairy back!

Perhaps owing to its impressive pedigree, The Curse manages to perfectly blend crazy country folks, slimy special effects, brief pseudo-scientific explanations, subplots that go nowhere, an obnoxious and ever present score that suspiciously calls to mind Italian horror trash of the same period, and self-indulgent touches such as the scene where two characters are driving around listening to a song on the radio that just happens to be sung by the director and his band! And the director just happens to be actor David Keith who starred in Firestarter and Major League II? And he got some help from a guy named Louis Fulci?

Fulci? Surely I don’t mean Italian directing legend Lucio Fulci? What would he be doing working on an American movie starring recognizable TV icons such as Wesley Crusher, Bo Duke and Sheriff Lobo?

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Sure, the music sounded Italian in origin. Oh, wait. The score was from the guy that did the one for Umberto Lenzi’s Black Demons? And the look of the film with its fog shrouded house as well as the destruction of a model that kind of looked like the house gave off a distinctly Italian stench. It was shot by a guy worked on Cannibal Holocaust and Fulci’s City Of The Living Dead?

Huh. Well, it’s not like there’s shots of maggots exploding all over or anything, right? Wrong! The maggots go flying when it turns out that not only has the cabbage and the tomatoes gone on a rampage, but so have the apples! Is it really a stretch to assume that the guy calling himself Louis was most likely on set as head maggot wrangler?

We don’t have to understand exactly what we’re dealing with here what with the mainly American crew making an American movie, but with Italian horror vets lurking in the background in most of the technical jobs, but we can certainly extend our thanks to Egyptian producer Ovidio G. Assonitis for making it all happen! It’s refreshing to not have the usual cast of foreigners and American nobodies and has-beens that tended to populate the Italian horror flicks of the period, but with the unrelenting gory silliness that defined the funnest of them still intact!

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So often, American movies work overtime to try and shoehorn every little plot point raised at some point in the movie into the conclusion or at least attempt to make it have some bearing on the film as a whole. The Italians seemed to understand that sometimes a broad cheating on her elderly and Bible-thumping husband is just an excuse to show a little grab ass between scenes of guys’ eyes getting eaten. Director David Keith adopts this technique throughout the movie so Frances’ affair doesn’t have any impact on the proceedings and I don’t even remember seeing the handyman again after they were done.

John Schneider appears sporadically as the Tennessee Valley Authority employee who is surveying the area for a possible reservoir. Nothing comes of that other than he shows up to save some characters at the end of the movie. There is also a doctor who doesn’t exist other than to have the water tested. All we get from that is there is a new element in the water that is mutating the water. There’s no explanation beyond that for why it causes people to devolve into yucky psychos or why Zack is able to reverse the process on his infected sister by giving her clean water and Frosted Flakes.

Do I really need to have things spelled out for me though when I can see a stone pillar crush Claude Akins? Or mad dogs attack the doctor’s sexy wife who just wanted the doctor to keep quiet so they could make a bunch of money off the TVA project and open a big practice in the city? Or watch Wil Wheaton’s real life sister get almost pecked to death by an angry flock of chickens?

It’s obvious that while Claude Akins thinks God is punishing everyone in the movie (and probably his acting career as well), the Almighty is actually rewarding the audience with a little slice of Heaven-sent schlock that every American and Italian can offer a up a prayer of thanks for. So pleased was He with The Curse, God also bestowed upon humanity the gift of three totally unrelated sequels!

© 2013 MonsterHunter

One thought on “The Curse (1987)

  1. I enjoyed this movie and felt there was something a little different about it that I didn’t put my finger on the first time through, but after reading your review I would have to agree that it’s the Italian influences..ahem..*shining* through. Laugh out loud funny review as well, especially the part about doing the Jumble!

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