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Curtains (1983)

DVD Cover (Synapse)
Director:
Richard Ciupka Richard Ciupka
Starring:
John Vernon John Vernon
Samantha Eggar Samantha Eggar
Linda Thorson Linda Thorson
Anne Ditchburn Anne Ditchburn
Lynne Griffin Lynne Griffin

5.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Slasher Film, Thriller
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Review by Bill Wolford
Added: September 24, 2014
I have to admit that I cheated. When I found out that Synapse was going to be doing a DVD of this movie and I saw the promotions and the trailer, I couldn't wait. I went out and found a four DVD pack that had "Curtains" as one of its films. I did enjoy the movie, but was kind of disappointed in the full frame feature, and the general drabness of the picture. It just goes to show you what a little love and care can do for a film. The synapse version of the movie is engrossing and brilliant in its anamorphic widescreen transfer. Be prepared to have fun.

Audra is a screenplay about a woman who is confined to a mental institution. This screenplay is bought by Samantha (Samantha Eggar) as a gift for her director Jonathan Stryker (played by John Vernon. Is it only me, or does Vernon seem to be suitable only for scummy roles?). Samantha assumes the title role of Audra is hers, even going so far as to have herself voluntarily committed to an insane asylum to better learn the role of the title character. Jonathan though, seems to have other ideas as he leaves Samantha in the asylum, and has six actresses invited to his mountain home for the weekend to audition for the role of Audra. Things are made more complex when a friend of Samantha's helps her escape from the asylum, and she shows up at the home unannounced to regain the role she had fought so hard for in the first place. Someone then starts killing off the actresses one by one, presumably to have the role to themselves. But who is it, and what is their true motive?

Shot in 1980 (and going through massive re-shoots and edits, and not released until 1983), Curtains is more than just typical slasher fare. There is quite a lot of character development, and some very classy camera work going on throughout the film. Although I was reminded of quite a few other films while watching this one (House on Haunted Hill, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Friday The 13th, Ten Little Indians), it still works on it's own merits and has some genuinely creepy moments sprinkled in with one or two truly iconic scenes for fans of horror cinema. The stalk and slash formula does creep into the film later on, but even that is handled well because of the strange setting, and neon bright colors used throughout this portion of the film (reminding me of Argento for a few, brief moments).

Synapse films presents Curtains on DVD and Blu-Ray in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and is anamorphic widescreen. You have your choice of the original 2.0 mono, or Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.This is a brand new 2K high-definition transfer from original vault materials. Special features include The Ultimate Nightmare - an all new, thirty minute 2014 retrospective including interviews with director Richard Ciupka, stars Lesleh Donaldson and Lynne Griffin, editor Michael MacLaverty, special make up effects creator Grag Cannom, and composer Paul Zaza. Audio commentary track featuring Lesleh Donaldson and Lynne Griffin. Alternate audio track vintage interviews with producer Peter R. Simpson and star Samantha Eggar. Original theatrical trailer. Synapse has seemingly exhausted all avenues in bringing us the definitive version of Curtains to the home theater market. Be wise and find a copy today.

8/10.
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