Hello again, Neighbor. We're out of 2021 and back to the 80's for the ninth movie in our 13 Movies of Halloween adventure: 1983's "Curtains."
"Curtains" is a movie about actors acting. I don't mean that like it's a Meryl Streep drama; films like those don't typically feature human heads floating in toilets. "Curtains" is literally about a group of actors in a mansion auditioning for a movie role getting picked off one by one by an assailant in an ill-fitting old lady mask. Is the killer an outsider bent on revenge? Or is the killer among them: an actress willing to do anything to get the part of a lifetime?
"Curtains" is all about misdirection and performing, and as a result has enough mystery to the story to keep you wondering what's really going on. Just when you think you have it figured out, your lead suspect is found floating face down in a jacuzzi and the mystery continues.
"Curtains" features two scenes that will be instantly recognizable to people in our neighborhood. First, a pouting doll standing in the middle of the road in the pouring rain, arms outstretched for a hug--or a trap. Second, the killer in the old lady mask ice skating with a sickle towards a potential victim. Clips of these scenes pop up all the time in gifs or super cut compilations, and for good reason: they're as disturbing in context as they are out. I don't know what it is, Neighbor; there's just something primally scary about dolls that look a little too human and something moving slowly, steadily towards the camera right at you.
Those sequences alone make "Curtains" worth recommending for a first-time watch. I don't know that Callie and I will watch it again soon as it felt a little restrained and pretentious. That makes sense though, given all the characters are self-absorbed actors or directors. Add to that the producer, Peter Simpson, apparently intended for this movie to be an "adult" slasher featuring adult characters and aimed at older audiences instead of a standard slasher featuring mostly young characters intended for younger audiences. It's a weird mix that didn't always stick the landing for me. Callie only perked up for the kill scenes.
We'll give "Curtains" three stars. It's an original take on a subgenre that already had a formula established at the time of its release, and if you're curious about slashers but queasy about gore, "Curtains" may be just your speed.
Next up we're going forward in time again to present day, but until then: could you go, would you go, won't you go to our drive-in?