1977 Canuxploitation favorite Cathy’s Curse gets the Severin Films Blu-ray treatment
Every horror movie needs 10-20 years to become what it will become. It’s a journey. Filmmakers sweat blood making movie. Movie is released. Movie is judged via a single viewing by critics and pundits. Movie vanishes. Movie ends up on TV/video/streaming. People “find” it. Champion it. It is “revived” and next thing you know the confused people who made it, once dismissed, are now labelled auteurs. Indeed, a genre movie needs to be removed from the zeitgeist in which it was formed. It needs to be separated from the pop culture climate that supported it. It needs to breathe…
Director Eddy Matalon’s low budget 1977 French-Canadian The Exorcist/Omen/Carrie rip-off Cathy’s Curse is one of those movies that has had plenty of time to breathe and has done its tour of duty on every sort of screen and every sort of shape. And it too now has a cult following. But to be honest, the sudden surge in love for Cathy’s Curse might be a case of the last guy left to be picked for baseball. Pretty much every clone of this kind, from the Bava hybrid House of Exorcism to Abby has been lauded as a masterwork and there aint much else obscure in the ’70s possession sub-genre left to mine except Cathy’s Curse.
The film opens with brutal but phony car crash in which a little girl and her dad are fried alive and then flashes forward to the girl’s brother, now an adult, coming home to his birth house with his family, decades after the trauma. Things are kind of off from the get go. The man’s wife is a bit of a nut and his daughter Cathy is acting strangely, especially in regards to her weird little dolly. Faster than you can say Pazuzu, the kid is possessed by her dead aunt’s puzzlingly evil ghost and she begins to swear like a truck driver and mess around with all the people who cross her path. And then she gets covered in crusty make-up and bad stuff happens.
No, Cathy’s Curse is not very good. There’s no sublime moments of delirium or superlative stretches of gore or hypnotic strains of music. The acting is alternately pancake flat or, especially in the case of veteran Canadian indie film and theater presence Alan Scarfe, so broad that its jarring. But still, it’s uniquely Canadian. I say this because I am Canadian and I know Canadian! The movie came and went in the ’70s before becoming a staple on late night TV and then an eyesore in every public domain DVD dump bin collection known to man and found its desperate following via the latter presence, especially. No one ever dreamed that they would see this dull little curio come to Blu-ray, but Severin did what they do best and have managed to make a 2K scan of some unearthed archived elements and have padded the picture up with some loving extras that do help make the film more endearing. The best ex tra is a charming and again – TOTALLY Canadian – video featuring Cathy herself (Randi Allen), all grown up, living in rural Quebec and sifting through a scrapbook her mom kept of her adventure making the regionally produced movie. She’s joined by her mom and both have a blast relating anecdotes from the making of the movie and how their lives were affected by it. It’s a very sweet, touching segment. Also of note is the French language interview with Matalon and a U.S. feature commentary (the disc also includes the longer Canadian cut) of the film with Matalon and journo Brian Collins that is maybe a bit forced but still a decent listen.
If you’re a Cathy’s Curse fan, you’ll love this release. Hell, I loved this release and I’m NOT a Cathy’s Curse fan!