THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan
"THE CURSE/CURSE II: THE BITE"
The 1980s were an interesting time for horror movies. Thanks in part to the new popularity of home video, where genre films were always big renters, there were more of them than ever before. Some were great, many were...not. In fact, a lot of them were bad, goofy, corny, or whatever negative adjective you can think up. The fine folks at Scream Factory thankfully curate all kinds of horror fare – the classics and the crazy stuff. On February 23, they will bring viewers a double feature of cheesiness with a Blu-Ray containing 1987's The Curse and its 1989 in-name-only sequel Curse II: The Bite. If you have the means to watch this disc outdoors, it would make for a fun "drive-in night."
The Curse - Will (later Wil) Wheaton plays a teen who finds a meteor that has crashed in his small Tennessee town. Goo from inside the rock seeps into the water, causing everyone who drinks it to break out in huge pustules and become uncontrollably aggressive. This movie is a delight for anyone who loves unintentional hilarity. It's got sound recording and special effects equipment visible in a number of the shots, Claude Akins (looking embarrassed to be in a picture of this sort) playing a Bible thumper who chastises his wife for trying to initiate sex, and an Akins stunt double who is noticeably thinner than the actor himself. That's just the tip of the iceberg. The Curse is cheap and terrible, but those things give it a certain amusement value when seen today. This is a quintessential dumb '80s horror flick.
Curse II: The Bite - Producer Ovidio G. Assonitis inexplicably decided to slap the title Curse II onto a completely unrelated movie called The Bite. Hey, why not, right? Noted '80s horror queen Jill Schoelen plays the girlfriend of a guy (J. Eddie Peck) who gets bitten by a radioactive snake and has his hand turn into one of the slithery creatures. Meanwhile, M*A*S*H star Jamie Farr portrays a snake bite antidote salesman who, with the help of a bunch of truckers, tries to track the couple down in order to help reverse the damage. Curse II: The Bite is better made than The Curse, and it has a couple of nifty creature effects. But, like its predecessor, the movie is ridiculously silly, with generally poor acting and an overabundance of nonsensical plot twists.
While neither film is especially good, both manage to provide some entertainment by way of their inherent ineptitude. They're a throwback to an era where grandiose concepts often trumped a filmmaker's ability to effectively realize them. The Curse looks as good as a 27-year-old low-budget horror picture can, and it comes with the original theatrical trailer. Curse II: The Bite had its transfer done from a theatrical print of the film rather than a master, so the picture quality isn't quite as sharp. On the plus side, you do get “cigarette burns” in the upper right corner every twenty minutes, which really adds to the old-school feel. There are no special features for this one.
For more information on this double feature Blu-Ray, please visit the Scream Factory website.
The Curse and Curse II: The Bite are both rated R for violence, language, and sexual contend.
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