August 1, 2014

Blu-ray Review: Curtains (1983)
Curtains (1983)
Synapse Films
Price: Currently $19.99 on Amazon (click pic above to order)
1 50 GB Blu-ray disc
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/2.0
Region A (locked)

Plagued by production issues such as delays, cast members being fired and replaced, and massive re-writes and re-shoots, Curtains is an early 80's Slasher flick that never made much of a splash back in the day. Even watching the movie now, it feels like two absolutely different films were just squeezed together; half of Curtains plays like a highbrow Psychological Thriller, while the rest is purely an era-friendly Slasher flick. Even with all of its issues though, Curtains is one of the better offerings to have come out of the golden age of the Slasher film, which was roughly between 1980-1983.

Though it quickly fell into obscurity, its VHS release in 1984 changed all of that; via the magic of word of mouth, which was due mainly to its chilling "ice skating" scene, Curtains eventually became something of a cult classic in Horror circles. Sadly though, Horror fans had only the crappy VHS version of the movie to watch for the next 25+ years. It was barely watchable, but it was the only option Horror fans had if they wanted to see the flick.

In 2010, Echo Bridge released Curtains on DVD for the first time (in a cheap 4-pack with 3 other crappy, B-grade Horror flicks), and it looked no better than the original VHS release. Some people say it even looked worse. Yes, Curtains was still barely watchable,

A few years later, Synapse Films announced that it was bringing Curtains to Blu-ray with an all new 2k transfer, which pleased Horror fans everywhere; someone was finally going to do right by the underrated little Slasher flick, and make it watchable. That's all we ever wanted! Sad that it took more than 30 years to happen, but hey, better late than never, right?

So the bottom line is that Curtains is a really solid 80's Slasher flick that is being released for the first time ever in a pristine Home Video format. That is why we must own it.

She sure looks surprised.
As terrible as the Home Video versions of this film have been over the years, the video quality of this Blu-ray transfer is simply astonishing. It's not even fair to call it a transfer really, as this release is honestly more of a restoration from the ground up. It's crisp, it's clear, and you can actually see what's going on in the darker scenes; no joke, in the previous versions of Curtains, there were a few scenes that were all but unwatchable because they were so dark. Watching this version of Curtains felt like we were watching it for the first time, and quality wise, we were.

There's a ton of grain present here, and the black levels are good; we didn't notice any major instances of crush at all. The movie itself may look like it's straight out of 1983, but you'd never know it from the quality of this transfer. This is as perfect as this movie is ever going to look.

Take a gander at the picture below to get an idea of just how great of a job Synapse has done with the picture quality here. *The bottom frame being from the new Blu-ray version, of course.

That jump in quality is breathtaking.
The immersive 5.1 DTS track is a new mix that is as crisp and sharp as the video that accompanies it. The dialogue is clear, the score sounds great, and it's an overall truly dynamic presentation with few flaws. In all fairness though, the Burton Cummings song that plays during the "ice skating" scene is fairly lame, but you can't win 'em all.

"Nobody puts creepy in a corner!"
Not a ton of extras here, but the Making of Curtains mini-documentary was a fun watch. We also loved the commentary with Lesleh Donaldson and Lynne Griffin, as both ladies seemed to be enjoying the hell out of themselves while recording it.

The one Special Feature that is absent from this disc is the inclusion of deleted/alternate scenes. That really bums us out, because there were scenes shot for this movie that would have been great to see; including an alternate ending, the snowmobile scene, and alternate takes on some of the kill scenes. Synapse tried to get their hands on them, but apparently they were destroyed a few years ago, and look to be lost forever. 

  • The Ultimate Nightmare: The Making Of Curtains - Retrospective.
  • Audio Commentary with Stars Lesleh Donaldson & Lynne Griffin.
  • Audio Interview with Producer Peter R. Simpson.
  • Audio Interview with Star Samantha Eggar.
  • Theatrical Trailer.

What a shitty way to go. Zing!
As a movie, Curtains is probably somewhere in the B to B+ range. It's a great retro Slasher flick that has tons of atmosphere, boasts a killer wearing one of the coolest masks ever, and the "ice skating" scene is an all-time great. It's not perfect, and it certainly could have been a bit bloodier for our tastes, but Curtains is an above average effort from the golden age of Slasher flicks.

As a Blu-ray disc, Synapse's release of Curtains is a bonafide A+. For them to have made this film look as good as it does here, which may be about as drastic of an improvement in transfer quality that we've ever seen, is nothing short of astounding.

This disc is destined to be one of the best releases of 2014, and any true Horror fan that loves a good Slasher flick needs to own this one without question.

Here are a few more pics from the Curtains Blu-ray, so as to whet your appetite even further.

1 comment :

  1. I first saw CURTAINS when it was released in theaters. I later bought a copy on Beta.

    I've long regarded CURTAINS as the best slasher film of the era, with the possible exception of HALLOWEEN. The latter deserves credit for inventing what I call the Uberpyscho (an indestructible slasher -- up till then, slashers were mortal and vulnerable, e.g., Norman Bates).

    I've also long written about CURTAINS. It's a beautifully artsy film, along with a substantive story and themes (e.g., the desire for fame, the resulting exploitation of women, the way aging is treated in Hollywood).