Nowadays, there is a statement often made that old horror movies aren’t scary and they suck. Sometimes, this statement reflects the change of what scares people now as opposed to then. Sometimes, however, that statement is completely accurate. In the case of Cathy’s Curse, it’s dead-on.
George Gimble, 5, is taken by his mother who abandoned his dad and sister. It says so right on the screen. There’s a bad cut about 40 seconds in that sets the tone for the whole movie. When he finds out his wife left with his son, the angry dad does what’s right…he grabs his daughter, jumps in the car on a rainy night and proceeds to wreck and kill them both. Actually, it’s not his fault. For whatever reason, a white rabbit runs across the middle of the road in a thunderstorm, and the daughter grabs the wheel. Ok, well, that was the opening credits.
George (Scarfe) marries and brings his family to the house that his family occupied that night. 1979 – George’s daughter Cathy with a C (Allen) becomes the target of a family ghost. So, another bad piece of writing appears on the screen, telling us that little did George know, he and his family would come back to this house. That really helps to explain why George’s first dialogue is content reminiscing about how his mother used to curl up and read to him and how the house is still the same.
Oh and his wife had a nervous breakdown, cause she said so.
The ghost’s presence is confirmed by bad lighting and worse music, and every attempt to build tension by zooming in on an inanimate object is used to extremes. The real fun begins when a psychic (apparently the basis for Mrs. Doubtfire) enters the house complete with bad voice over. Cathy shows signs of possession when she makes the neighbor’s children re-enact the accident, and she stabs a girl in the eye (off camera and preceded by super-scary blurry closeup). Hilarity ensues.
Cathy with a C has a mom who is completely nuts, but George is still tagging her, so he keeps her around. Ok, so she develops psychic powers but not enough to overcome the crappy dialogue. And if dolls aren’t scary to you, even when coupled with bad sound effects, this movie won’t be either. I suggest drinking a shot of jagermeister everytime someone says “bitch”. Actually, anytime anyone says anything. You can’t do it when the little girl blinks though, because it’ll be a dry night. Evil people don’t blink.
Oh, if you hadn’t guessed, there’s a scary doll too. There’s a drunk old housekeeper who looks like Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull. And snakes. And rats. And a tarantula. Hilarity ensues.
This movie apparently earned an R rating because the children curse like sailors at last call. To his credit, the detective is a competent actor. So is the dog. (For the record, the Doberman is called both male and female in the movie.) There are some visuals in the movie that are scary in concept but aren’t pulled off very well. The editing makes certain to make all sorts of people and animals appear and disappear. In the end, though, for what it tries to be, this one earns some points.
The version we watched was part of a ten-pack or movies, including God Told Me To and Pieces. The conversion was miserable, the features were non-existent, and the oboe music over the menu sounded like someone let their kid loose at the Kimball’s organ and piano store in the mall.