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Cathy's Curse (1977)

Directed by Eddy Matalon
Starring Alan Scarfe, Beverly Murray, Randi Allen, Roy Witham
Public Domain

Abysmal Canadian horror flick that attempts to mimic THE EXORCIST and CARRIE with disastrous results. The writing, acting, directing, editing, photography, and sound are so mind-bogglingly terrible, so amazingly inept that the film is almost surreal in its awfulness.
In a poorly constructed prologue, a family is in the midst of a breakup. The mother has taken the son and split, leaving the daughter with her drunk husband. Dad and daughter get in the car to track down the mom, swerve to avoid a bunny, and end up in a fiery crash that kills both of them.

Years later, the son has grown up and moves his own family into the childhood home. His young daughter Cathy finds a creepy doll (with eyes sewn shut) in the attic, and things start getting weird. Cathy develops strange powers; she can teleport around the house, make objects explode and/or fly through the air, and can induce hallucinations of worms and bugs in people she doesn’t like. She also develops the ability to use swear words with the finesse of a longshoreman, which she demonstrates as often as possible.

Meanwhile, Mom and Dad don’t seem to notice any of this, even after Cathy throws a housekeeper out of the second story window. In fact, nobody is this movie reacts to anything the way a normal human being would. The neighborhood medium shows up and has a full-blown ghost freakout in the Gimble’s dining room. A moment later, nobody, not even the medium, acts as if anything happened. In another scene, Cathy uses her powers to smash a plate against the wall. The housekeeper, who watches this happen, acts as if it were an accident. Even more maddening, the housekeeper says, “It’s all cleaned up,” when we can plainly see that the shards are still on the floor. Maintaining continuity, or even attempting to make sense, wasn’t a big concern for director Eddy Matalon.

The highlight of the movie comes when Cathy gets drunk with Paul, the crusty old groundskeeper. Paul tells Cathy the doll is possessed by an evil force and must be destroyed. Cathy responds with more cursing and hallucinations of bugs and snakes on Paul’s dinner plate. This scene is no more technically competent than the rest of the movie, but it stands out for its sheer weirdness.

If you make it to the final act you’ll get to see more dolls and toys being hoisted by wires, the world’s loudest electric razor, and Cathy in some terrible gloppy brown makeup. Is it worth the effort? Probably not. In fact, it’s an endurance test due to the truly irritating sound and the horrible quality of the print. The version I watched (from a Mill Creek collection) had a nauseating yellow tint that looks like it had been preserved in a vat of hobo urine, and the sound track sent my cat skittering out of the room several times.

CATHY’S CURSE is so bad it’s almost offensive. The movie was financed through a Canadian film program, aka the Canadian tax payer. There should have been a revolt. The one bright spot in all of this is the fact that the movie is in the public domain, and can be watched on Youtube or the Internet Archive.

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