Cathy’s Curse (1977)

How do Canadian little girls act when they’re possessed? Well, they stop being polite, for one thing. Let’s get right into the batshit insanity of Cathy’s Curse.

Back in 1947, a man learns that his wife has left and taken their five-year-old son, George. His daughter, Laura, is a crying mess, but her father yells that, “Your mother is a bitch! She’ll pay for what she did to you!” They race out into the snow and narrowly miss hitting a white rabbit. The car crashes and they burn to death.

Fast forward a few decades. When George grows up, he moves back into his family home with his clinically insane wife Vivian and daughter Cathy. George is really happy that Cathy is adjusting so well, which upsets his wife, because he always judges how crazy she is.

Well, Cathy isn’t doing so well. She sees Laura’s face — the girl we saw die in the beginning — in the mirror and has started to play with the dead girl’s doll. When anyone tries to take the doll, she throws her cereal across the room, to which the maid answers, “Don’t worry about it!” No. Much like The Babadook and Manhattan Baby, the majority of these supernatural kid problems come down to bad parenting.

Basically, this movie is a collection of Cathy doing crazier and crazier things, like getting neighborhood kids to re-enact the car crash that started the film, which includes making young boys say things like, “All women are bitches.” Then she tries to stab a girl’s eyes out.

Then she throws a maid out the window in a scene that has nothing to do with The Omen.

There’s also a medium who shows up just to hang out and see the past through a photograph, yelling out moments of the car crash. Because you know, that’s what you do when ladies lunch. She keeps coming back to try and stop Cathy, but the first time she’s scared off when the little girl is rude and calls her an old bitch and a fat whore. This being Canada, one can see how that level of improper behavior could scare off anyone. But she comes back a third time and Cathy conjures another old woman — a power she only uses once in the film — who refers to her as “not a medium, but an extra rare piece of shit.” If you think I haven’t used this line in casual conversational already, you don’t know me very well.

The handyman agrees to watch her, but she keeps making him drink. Then, she kills his dog. Really, if you’re a handyman in a possession film, your life is going to be ruined. I’m going to film a tender side story dealing with how a handyman gets over the impact of a possessed child. It’ll be a drama and totally realistic, but at its heart, it deals with a supernatural event. Everything — all the grief and the stages of dealing with it — will be real. Except, you know, the possession scenes. I smell Oscar.

Cathy’s powerset is never clearly defined. She can teleport. She can become other people. She can change her voice. She can shake, smash, move and explode objects. She can make food go bad just by looking at it! What else can she do? Oh Cathy!

That said — the reason why Laura’s ghost possesses Cathy is never really defined either. Does she want to get back at George? Does she want to be alive again? Does she want Cathy to die when she tries to drown her? Does she want to kill Cathy’s mom? You’ll wonder, too! Oh Laura!

Even the ending makes no sense!

So you’d think I hated this movie. No. I loved it. I fucking loved it. It has no establishing shots. Characters and subplots float in and out and are never referenced again. The acting is amateurish at best. None of this matters to me. The fact that a seven-year-old girl has glowing eyes and a filthy mouth and is out to kill people makes me filled with joy.

For years, Cathy’s Curse only existed in the most beat-up of prints. Leave it to the folks at Severin to clean it up, get a director’s cut and interviews with the folks that made it. It’s like watching a whole new movie. If you’ve only seen the beat up orange tinted prints on YouTube and on Mill Creek multipacks, you’re in for a surprise. I love that Severin spent so much time making a movie that so few people know into such a great looking preservation.

You can find it here and trust me, this isn’t an ad. Their attention to detail, packaging and extras for such an unknown release is just awe-inspiring!

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