Production Year: 1983
Release Date: 07/29/2014
Director: Richard Ciupka

Studio: Synapse Films

Canada has a rich history of horror films from classics like Black Christmas (Bob Clark; 1974) to more modern films like Ginger Snaps (John Fawcett; 2000). Within the mix there are a number of seldom seen gems that have not been given their due, thankfully however, we have companies like Synapse Films; a studio more than willing to resurrect underappreciated films giving them a second life in today's home video market.   Curtains was an early entry in the slasher craze that befell the 80's. Is it the most competent of the slasher films during that period?  No.  But the film remains pretty enjoyable and after my initial viewing it's easy to understand why it has built up a modest fan base over the years.

The film is about director Jonathon Stryker (John Vernon)and his attempt to cast his new film Audra. Seasoned actress Samantha Sherwood (Samantha Eggar) assumes she's a shoo-in, after all she did help the director purchase the rights to the film. Jonathon (being the extremely supportive fella' that he is) insists that Sherwood commit herself to the role and before you can say "free healthcare" the actress is locked away in a psychiatric institution. With Samantha out of the picture Jon is able to go behind her back and seek out a new young actress.  The director has an "audition weekend" at his secluded mansion and invites six different starlets in hopes of narrowing down his list.

Stryker must have been pretty surprised when the actress he dumped at the asylum happens to show up. Samantha Sherwood is not only upset, but intent on getting the role she was promised. Luck might just be on her side this time around as a masked murderer is on the loose and has an appetite for young actresses. When the curtains fall which actress will be the last woman standing!?

It really is surprising that it's taken so long to get a decent release of Curtains, while it's not the best slasher film of that period a number of lesser films have had worthy editions for years now. Fans of the subgenre who've yet to see the film should be more than satisfied, the movie features a great cast and some fun kills. The antagonist ("hag"-tagonist, maybe?) has one of the strangest get-ups in slasher history. As you'll see from the screen-grabs the mask is pretty memorable and is sure to send shivers up your spine, especially if you suffer from Gerontophobia.   I think one can judge the merit of a Slasher by it's ability to keep the viewer questioning the identity of the masked murderer, in the case of Curtains, it's one that will keep you guessing until the last kill.  A solid little Canadian horror film.

The film's PQ is surprisingly good and stays steady throughout most of the movie's run time, viewers with a keen eye might notice the occasional burst of grain or slight bit of film damage, but they are few and far between. The colors present are very natural, while some might have been disappointed by Curtains shifting release dates I'd say it was well worth the wait.  It's clear Synapse Films put a lot of effort into the restoration of this release. The sound is also solid with a 5.1  DTS HD track. The sound never really falters and is a very even mix.

Audio Commentary with Lesleh Donaldon and Lynne Griffin

Alternate Audio Track featuring interviews with Peter R. Simpson and Samantha Eggar - This is a vintage audio interview that's presented in the form of a commentary track.

The Ultimate Nightmare: The Making of "Curtains" (35:51 HD) - Red Shirt Pictures offers up another quality featurette.  A number of the cast and crew return to talk about the tumultuous production.

Ciupka - A Filmmaker in Transition (15:27 SD) - A vintage documentary about Director Richard Ciupka, this short feature has some behind the scenes footage from Curtains and is exclusive to the blu-ray edition.

Trailer (01:55 HD)

When you see the "Synapse Films" logo on the spine of a DVD or Blu-ray you automatically know it's a quality release. There's not too many companies out there that have such an impeccable track record. Curtains is another in a long line of great releases.  It's a bizarre little film, one that's sure to please any diehard slasher fan.


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