The Role of a Lifetime – Curtains (1983)

Curtains is a surprisingly good little slasher from the Great White North that despite a troubled production and the loss of the original director, turned out just fine when all was said and done. Usually, that means trouble for most films and yet, it did not happen here and it turned out to be a cult classic with the passing years.

The premise involves a similarly troubled production looking for a lead actress to play Audra and doing so at a directer’s home in the country. The woman who brought it to him, the former being Samantha Eggar playing an actress named Samantha and the latter being director Jonathan Stryker as portrayed by John Vernon, is committed to an asylum but soon breaks out and looks to start killing the other six actresses auditioning for the part. One by one they are killed off in strange, yet memorable ways and when it finally all wraps up, even Stryker is dead and the killer is not who the audience believes him to be.

The perfect word to describe this film is underrated for even though it may not be the best out there, it has a lot going for it including a great performance from Vernon who always makes for the perfect villain. The man makes it look incredibly easy as he goes through the motions of interviewing the ladies at his estate while bedding them whenever given the chance. He can go from monster to empathetic colleague in an instant and nobody else in this movie can touch him, at least as far as acting goes. Some of the kills are quite good including a scene which has become quite famous as it takes place on a skating rink where despite her best efforts, the skater is unable to get away and meets her ultimate fate. There is also a creepy doll for some reason, though why it factors into anything is unknown but it does lend an air of unpredictability and a fair bit of creepiness about it all.

There is a bit of suspense that runs through it and a fair amount of tension that works when things take a twist instead of a turn and it never lacks for the attention of the audience as it moves along at a fairly brisk pace. There is a bit of nudity, almost a necessity in a slasher as well as a decent amount of blood though it would be the writing and the very unique temperature at which the picture has been set that really sets it apart. Factor in that very surprising end that few would see coming and one has to wonder why this film is not talked about more. There might be a logic loophole here and there that makes a person want to scream but given the genre and how human nature makes people run towards the killer rather than away, one has to feel okay when they finally meet their respective ends.

3 out of 5

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