Movie Review: Cathy’s Curse (1977) – Severin 4K/Blu-ray combo

April 25, 2024

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Years past, a man and his daughter experience a fatal auto accident after the man’s wife hauled ass with the couple’s son George.

It is then that we get down to the meat n’ poutine of Eddy Matalon’s Canadian-lensed supernatural shocker Cathy’s Curse, as a grown-ass George (Alan Scarfe) returns to the family home with his wife, Vivian (Beverly Murray and her awesome eyes) and daughter Cathy (Randi Allen in her only film role), after Viv suffers a nervous breakdown.

Offering assistance are handyman Paul (Roy Witham, who appears to be one highball away from starring in a Mick Fleetwood biopic) and maid Mary (Dorothy Davis)… and the family will need it as Cathy begins acting downright strange after finding a creepy doll in the domicile’s attic.

To wit; Cathy begins to show signs that she is possessed by the spirit of George’s deceased sister… like making naked statues explode, controlling objects through telekinesis, making animals do her bidding, killing people with her paranormal powers… maybe a bit of spontaneous teleportation… I mean she’s either possessed or ready to join the X-Men…

Will Cathy’s parents, her caretakers, and a medium that looks like Mrs. Doubtfire (Mary Morter) be enough to lift Cathy’s curse? Probably not, I mean the kid is OP as fuck…

At times surreal, often filled with a great sense of dread, and featuring some strong performances, Cathy’s Curse probably wouldn’t exist without the success of 1973’s The Exorcist or 1976’s The Omen, but I’m sure as shit glad it does!

There’s an oppressive coldness to the environs surrounding that arcane abode that really helps sell the whole atmosphere of the piece, and the stellar performance from Allen (who manages to be sweet and incredibly eerie in equal measure) that make this unique and special in it’s own right… in truth the entire experience brings to mind Italian horror flicks, especially with the fever dream narrative and jumping on popular cinematic trends of the ‘70s.

Also in the plus column are the turns from Murray who presents a believably shell-shocked housewife trying desperately to cling to her mental health as her daughter goes absolutely batshit, and Witham who is both lovable and sympathetic as the handyman Paul that is (almost literally) put through hell.

Special mention goes to Paul’s dog Sneaker; a good girl that tried her level-headed best to warn everyone of the fucked-up goings on to no avail.

All of the above looks pretty damn fantastic, and after experiencing this on cheap-ass DVD collections sourced from a beat-to-shit print, I can assure you the image is crisp, clean, and full of detail… which provides a greater understanding of what is happening on screen…

That being a segue in disguise, this release from Severin contains two cuts of Cathy’s Curse (both appearing on 4K and included Blu-ray discs), a 90 minute Director’s Cut, and a nearly 9 minute shorter U.S. cut that manages to trim out important exposition and replaces it with awkward title cards!

There are a host of special features present here with the 4K disc sporting an archival audio commentary from critic/Fangoria columnist Brian Collins and filmmaker Simon Barrett that offers up analysis from the fan’s perspective sprinkled with anecdotes and trivia relating to the film’s production. It’s a fun listen, and the pair’s admiration for the film is truly evident, along with a few theatrical trailers for the film.

The Blu-ray disc features all of the above, along with interviews with Director Matalon, Actor Scarfe, and Actress Allen, along with her mother Joyce who served as the film’s costume designer.

Also included is an introduction to the film provided by Collins for a screening of the film at Cinematic Void/American Cinematheque.

Additionally this release features a full-color booklet with writings from Collins and Barrett, and a reversible sleeve featuring some ghoulishly groovy promotional artwork.

Cathy’s Curse is in every way deserving of the royal treatment Severin has lavished upon it; it’s a phantasmagoria of ghastly, ghostly goings-on and is a devious delight for lovers of off-kilter fright flicks!


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