First released in 1978 and currently available in a few dozen public domain box sets from Mill Creek, Cathy’s Curse is one of those very special films that is so bad that it simply has to be seen for itself. Cathy’s Curse is a film that is just so relentlessly bad and inept that it succeeds in transforming cinematic incompetence into an art form.
Cathy’s Curse begins with grainy, out-of-focus footage of an insane man deliberately killing his daughter in a car crash. Years after that fateful car crash, the man’s son moves back into the old house. Accompanying him is his mentally unstable wife (who speaks in an oddly chirpy monotone throughout the entire film, it simply has to be heard to be believed) and his precocious daughter, Cathy. A few minutes after entering the house, Cathy finds her dead aunt’s old rag doll. A few second later, the rag doll’s eyes suddenly start glowing and Cathy’s possessed. Suddenly, she’s speaking in a much lower voice and cursing all the time. Nobody seems to notice.
Nobody, that is, except for the maid. However, the maid is easily taken care of when she happens to casually roll out of the attic window. I had to laugh out loud at this moment because director Eddy Matalon didn’t make much of an effort to disguise the fact that the maid had been replaced by a very stiff mannequin for the shot. The mannequin’s arms don’t even move as it plunges in freefall. It simply has to be seen to be believed.
Speaking of seeing and believing, the unstable mom does happen to notice the mannequin fall out of the window and then catches Cathy staring down from the same window. She confronts Cathy and Cathy, via a jump cut so abrupt that it actually makes a “gwapp” noise on the soundtrack, vanishes and then reappears directly behind her. Naturally this leads to mom having a nervous breakdown and going back to the mental hospital.
Cathy’s father has a business meeting out of town and informs Cathy that she might have to go stay with relatives. Cathy cries and her father decides that it would, instead, be a better idea to just leave Cathy alone in the house for a few weeks with the old, alcoholic groundskeeper. Cathy and the groundskeeper get along pretty well until an older woman shows up and claims to be a medium. A mysterious voice replies, “You’re a medium piece of shit!” and the medium runs off. Meanwhile, the groundskeeper starts to have hallucinations where he’s covered with rats, snakes, and spiders and then his noisy dog dies mysteriously.
Eventually, both dad and mom return home. Mom thinks something is wrong with Cathy. Dad says there’s nothing wrong with Cathy. Dad then leaves for work. Mom takes a bath. Suddenly, the bathwater is replaced with blood and mom is covered in leeches. Mom screams in terror.
At this point, (an hour and 7 minutes into the action for those that want to check) there’s an abrupt jump cut to a distinguished looking man getting into a car and driving off. This is the first time we’ve seen this man in the movie and it’s also the last time. Seriously.
Anyway, there’s another jump cut and Dad is relieved that mom is okay despite the fact that just a few seconds ago, she was literally covered in a thousand leeches.
Anyway, at this point, the film goes into its climax and I can’t really go into too much detail but (SPOILER ALERT) let’s just say that those of you who have spent 70 minutes going, “Why don’t they just take the doll away from her?” will end up feeling somewhat vindicated.
If you’re a true lover of bad films (as opposed to just someone who watches these things and goes, “That was so dumb…”), Cathy’s Curse is a film that you must see.