When we began to approach the subject of movie curses our first thoughts went to the misfortunate occurrences of the cast and crew of films like Poltergeist and The Twilight Zone (go ahead, google it). But that’s not the kind of curses we want to talk about here today. Next, our thoughts went to the likes of Pulp Fiction and Goodfellas. Yaknow, ‘Atomic mushroom-cloud laying Mother**bleep**!’ …also not the kind of curse we want to talk about here today.
What we here are talking about is the Maloika, the Kavorka, Voodoo juju, Hexes, Katadesmoi, Bill Buckner, and Whammys (no whammys.. Stop!). After some grue filled head-knocking sessions, what we Geeks of Doom all came to realize is that both horror moves and children’s movies seem to have a lot in common. So many of them revolve around a simple curse. Think about it, my festering fleshlings. Sleeping Beauty and Serpent and the Rainbow — both main characters are put to ‘sleep’ by someone who’s pretty darn unhappy with their intrusions. The Wizard of Oz and Thinner — both characters have a pretty limited amount of time before their ‘curse’ kills them. Snow White and The Hulk — both characters are poisoned; one by an apple, one by gamma radiation. The unifying factor is that all of these films have someone cursing the daylights out of someone else, for reasons both right and wrong. So to honor the cursers and cursed alike, we gathered our doom crew together and came up with a list of a few films that we think exemplify the use of the woe-begotten whammy.
Based on the novel by Richard ‘Stephen King’ Bachman, Thinner is the embodiment of a ‘curse’ film. Moments after sleazoid attorney Billy Halleck (Robert John Burke) is acquitted for vehicular manslaughter, a 106-year-old gypsy named Tadzu Lemke (Michael Constantine) brushes against him outside the courthouse and whispers the word ‘Thinner’ in his ear. From that moment on, Halleck begins to lose weight rapidly. Regardless of how much he eats he gets more and more svelt as the days go on. He finally comes to the realization that he’d been beset by a gypsy cursed — a father’s revenge upon Billy for utter disregard of responsibility in his daughter’s death. Instead of apologizing, what does Halleck decide to do? Why, use his unsavory underworld connections to put the screws to the gypsy clan and force them to remove his curse… cause yeah, that’ll work. This of course, ends badly for everyone involved. We wind up with innocent gypsy men killed, a few of Halleck’s friends also getting cursed and committing suicide (they were involved in the cover-up, so screw them), and ultimately his entire family suffers the consequences of his folly.
The lesson we all should learn from this: Never run over a gypsy woman while you’re “gettin’ some” from your wife, then dodge your rightful punishment because you happen to be friends with the judge presiding over your trial.
Beauty and the Beast
Well if I had to choose someone who is cursed in a movie, it would have to be The Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The Prince was a royal pain in the butt and because he was not nice to a poor old woman who offered him a rose in exchange for shelter, he was turned into a horrible beast. So, not only did he look like a monster but in order to change back, he has to make a woman fall in love with him even with the way he looks. And to top it off, he has to do this before the petals fall from the rose or else he will be a beast forever. Now, thank goodness the Prince was in a Disney movie because had this happened anywhere else, he would have stayed a beast for good. No woman would ever consider dating, let alone love a man who looks like an overgrown tiger with a disposition not too much different than one.
The lesson we all should learn from this: If Disney has ever taught me anything, it is to be nice to everyone because you never know who has the ability to turn you into a hairy monster. Also, even cursed monsters can find love apparently.
The Grudge is one of the many American kiddie-horror movies that has been recycled from Japanese horror movies. It begins with a man who discovers that his wife has fallen for another man. In a fit of rage, he murders her, and then murders his young son — who witnessed the horrible act — just before killing himself. In this despicable and gruesome act of jealous violence, a curse was born. After the curse is born, there’s no stopping it — anyone who comes into contact with the cursed slain souls is killed, and in-turn, the curse is passed on to each victim until it has spread completely out of control.
The lesson we all should learn from this: It’s impossible to know, and thus, avoid, which locations contain the cursed soul of a murdered victim who will kill you on sight (while making weird-ass sounds and crawling down the stairs all twitchy to boot). So to make it easier on everyone, the lesson here is: just stay the hell out of Japan and away from their f’d up murder.
—The Movie God
In this U.S. remake of the Japanese horror film, The Ring centers on a cursed item — a video cassette. Yes, that’s right, a VHS tape has a curse on it and anyone who watches it will only have seven days to live, as it’s an angry VHS tape. Naomi Watts stars as Rachel, a journalist investigating the death of her niece, who died seven days after watching the tape. She finds out that the tape centers around an evil creepy young girl named Samara, whose parents were so frightened of her that her mother killed her. Now, Samara’s spirit enacts revenge on unsuspecting VCR users, forcing them to pirate and distribute the tape to others, as the only way to remove the curse from yourself is to show the tape to someone else. I wonder if Samara has moved on to DVDs or did her curse end when the VCR became obsolete?
The lesson we all should learn from this: Watch out for that Blu-ray player.
The Serpent and the Rainbow
Dennis Alan is some notable Harvard University Botanist. A big-ass pharmacorp decides to send him to Haiti to research a compound that is used during native rituals. His job is to determine if this compound has potential use as a new and better form of anesthesia. Alan finds himself thrust into a world of political upheaval, Voodoo, and zombification. Yes, zombies. Sounds great, but where does the curse come in? Well, let’s just say that Voodoo priests don’t take kindly to outsiders poking their noses into Voodoo practices — especially Voodoo priests that can make one appear dead to all the world, have one buried, then dig one up and control the mind of one so afflicted.
The lesson we all should learn from this: Don’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong. Especially when Voodoo and Zombies are concerned.
A lot of these slasher types die and return despite horrible “deaths,” so one could say that the curse is on them. For Michael Myers, that’s sort of the case. Sure, he hacked his share of babysitters, but under it all was a scared, demonically possessed little boy. Halloween 666: The Curse of Michael Myers shed some light on what makes Michael so indestructible and effing insane. The Curse of Thorn gave him borderline superpowers as well an instinct to kill his own family members, hence his vendetta against his sister Laurie Strode. As we learn in Part 6, the curse also caused him to impregnate his own niece. Needless to say, that’s some messed up $#*! right there. But I think the real curse was on Donald Pleasance, whose career was plagued by these half-assed sequels with this one being his last onscreen appearance. Sorry, dude. (Fun Fact – You can only get this on DVD in Germany. Spooky!)
The lesson we all should learn from this: Do not be related to Michael Myers.
We all know an love Shrek — the warm and comical fairy tale about an angry and reclusive-yet lovable and brave ogre who just wants to be left alone. When all of the fairy tale creatures are dumped in Shrek’s swamp, he goes to get some answers. Eventually he learns that the only way to get his swamp and privacy back, is to go and rescue a Princess Fiona for Lord Farquaad to marry. When they rescue the princess, she’s your typical snobby and stuck-up princess who is repulsed by Shrek’s appearance. We quickly discover that Fiona has some secrets of her own, though — every night, after the sun goes down, she herself turns into a repulsive ogre as well. It’s not long before Shrek and Fiona begin to click and fall madly in love with each other, and when Shrek helps her break the evil curse, she remains an ogre to match her true love: Shrek.
The lesson we all should learn from this: I could offer up an after-school special message and say: “Hey, beauty is on the inside! We should love people for who they are and not how hot they look,” but I won’t do that. The lesson that we really learn here is: sometimes curses are awesome and you’ll meet the man/woman of your dreams because of them! Just don’t go to Japan or gypsies to get it.
—The Movie God
No character is more cursed that Bruce Banner aka The Hulk. After saving his fellow scientist girlfriend from highly volatile gamma radiation, Bruce reverts into a giant green hulking monster every time he gets angry, excited, or even scared. And how does his girlfriend’s father thank him for saving his daughter? Well, because he is a military man, he leads an army to hunt him down. To make matters worse, when he becomes the Hulk, not only can he not control the monster but unlike his own super smart self, his monster alter ego has the intelligence of a four year old (who happens to be able to take down cities in the blink of an eye). The worse part is when he changes back to his normal brainy self, he is always half naked and in need of some new pants. If that is not being cursed, I don’t know what is.
The lesson we all should learn from this: Gamma radiation. Don’t mess with it.
The Grudge 3 Directed by Toby Wilkins
Produced by Sam Raimi
Starring Shawnee Smith, Marina Sirtis, Beau Mirchoff, Johanna Braddy, Matthew Knight
The ghosts of Kayako and Toshio return to spread terror as the Grudge saga continues in this sequel featuring Saw star Shawnee Smith.