CHILLING CLASSICS MONTH: Cathy’s Curse (1977)

John S Berry is back with another entry in this month’s Chilling Classics event. He’s been watching a lot of Big Japan wrestling, which I can totally respect, and has a lot of cool things to say about one of my favorite movies ever. Seriously, I could watch this one every single day of the year. You can read more of his words on his Twitter

 

Even Linda Blair possessed

Was a more likable kid

Than when Cathy was not cursed

***Gamberlaku 7-7-7 format created by the dude Raven Mack***

I think I have seen Cathy’s Curse multiple times. Similar to the sense of I think I have had that dream before that was out of order and at times it has a pink or sepia tone and characters appeared that I instinctively knew who they were. Also acceptable comparisons are: driving late into the night with heartburn from gas station coffee and your eyes drying up, falling asleep with on a Saturday night where it switches from edited movies to Byron Allen to infomercials about non-stick egg pans and a two hour hayride in the cold Midwest night with not a lot of pay-off.

I do not mention these comparisons in a negative sense, or for that matter a positive one. Cathy’s Curse is its own sense, its own grainy huh? magic. I have watched it several times and am pretty sure even if I have a sudden change of lifestyle and emulate Old Paul I am guessing I will view at least a few more times before I shuffle into a possessed doll or an old lady specter that lives in a cold ass attic.

There is an aura about this film and all of the gaps and plot holes just add to all the speculation fun you can have with it. My original viewing of this was with my nephews on a Christmas visit and it makes me proud that the movie is often quoted and will probably live on the next generation and maybe even further. Our family may not have jewelry to pass down but we have plenty of warped.

This is French Canadian film and it looks like most of the actors didn’t really go on to do a whole lot (watch for the scene at the 27-minute mark when Mummy moans “My Baby!” and police investigator puts his hand over his mouth to prevent himself from laughing). A lot of the acting is flat and Mummy seems to be filming two different movies, one where she is a doting mom and the other when she is ready to lock her daughter in an attic and go on vacation with an escaped convict. But this unevenness just adds to the film.

The film starts with a flashback scene to 1947 when a scorned husband decides to wildly drive off with his left behind daughter to catch up with his wife and son. They lose control and meet their end in an awful way in a snowy ditch. Also, this is the start of the great lines which I will not ruin, best to experience them in the moment (I actually envy those who get to hear them for the first time).

Flash to current day and the son that got away actually decides that after his wife’s breakdown it is a good idea to move into his drafty, cold ass childhood home. George just marvels about all the good memories from the house. Maybe he was too young when his mother took him away to remember all the bad times or maybe he is just a clueless putz. I am leaning towards the putz angle.

George never seems to put two and two together and have an Ah-ha moment linking his family history and all the horrible things that are happening around him. He is one of those business as usual guys, housekeeper plunged to her death? Well looks like I better put another ad in the paper tomorrow. Wife having a breakdown in a bloody bathtub and back is all lashed up? She will be fine with some soup and rest.

There is something about this film that just feels cold and also has that spare cold room you have to stay in when you visit a grandma or aunt’s house feel. Maybe you will see your breath when you wake up and for sure you are going to go thru those comforters and blankets stacked on the rocking chair next to the bed. Only thing colder is Mummy’s affection towards the Prince Valiant flat delivery Daddy. Maybe the cold and musty old house smell is not as much of an aphrodisiac that Paul thought it would be (see putz).

It doesn’t take long for the bad vibes to arrive in many forms. Creepy dolls are found, mediums (or extra rares) show up and Mummy’s sanity slides down the cold slippery ditch embankment. Luckily she has a housekeeper to help things run nice and tidy. Well, actually she may be the worst housekeeper since me in college. After for no reason, Cathy shatters a bowl against the wall the housekeeper picks up about 4 pieces and announces “there it is all done.” Shortly after the tidying up, Cathy’s doll plays some Wolf Eyes and Mummy is home just in time to see the lady go out the window.

Mummy is the only one who seems to be kind of shook up about this. Everyone else seems pretty flat and emotionless about it. Mummy has questions and suddenly Cathy can teleport and control objects and Mummy is scared and screaming. Paul seems more upset about having the ambulance out to his place for the second day in a row than his wife being sent away for another breakdown. As the ambulance pulls away I honestly thought the shrill siren was Mummy wailing and crying out. Yup, her voice and screaming and voice is that bad.

I am not sure if Old Paul and the housekeeper lady were married. Paul didn’t seem that broken up by the lady’s stage dive out the window. Maybe that is why he started hanging out with Cathy. I am not sure how or what exactly you did but I owe ya one for getting rid of that old cow. Paul’s home that was once tidy and proper is now a mess with plates piled in the sink, smut mags on the coffee table and piles of old holy underpants now that the lady is gone and he loves it.

He ties one on Cathy is way ahead of the curve in encouraging others to binge drink. The psychic just decides to pay a visit and the duo drives her to stumble to the hills. Paul drinks more and snakes appear. Cathy is going to really be fun at parties when she gets older.

Mummy comes home and immediately trouble brews. Paul tries to sober up and protect her but well let’s just say that did not end up well for poor old Paul. Mummy has a final showdown with the doll and a burned up specter of her husband’s sister. The house chuckles shakes and bellows and George never really figures out that the haunting is by Laura his crusty faced dead sister.

But Mummy smiles at Cathy and the clueless putz strikes again. See everything is fine. I often wonder what life would be like for characters after the movie wraps up. I imagine that things would be back to normal for hmm… maybe an afternoon. By the next cold morning, Mummy is back to screeching and Cathy will never be the same again. George probably completed the cycle of life and ran off with Cathy leaving their mom behind. Hopefully, George put snow chains on and is a better driver than his dad. If not, well they do make a lot of sequels and reboots these days. I’m game.

2 thoughts on “CHILLING CLASSICS MONTH: Cathy’s Curse (1977)”

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