Creepy Girl With The Glowing Eyes

Strains of Carrie and The Omen inform Cathy’s Curse, a derivative but rather fun entry in the creepy, possessed child genre. The independent Canadian b-movie from director Eddy Matalon has its problems like cheap effects and bizarre edits but there several important things going for the spooky tale. Namely, a great child actress in Randi Allen and hilarious dialogue that has her throwing around the word “bitch” at the most unexpected of times.

Cathy’s Curse opens in 1947 as a father and his young daughter die together in a horrific car accident. Now thirty years later, her brother George Gimble (Alan Scarfe) returns to the home with his wife Vivian and daughter Cathy (Randi Allen) in tow. After finding some of her deceased aunt’s belongings, Cathy becomes possessed. She slowly destroys the family from within. A possessed Cathy, exhibiting psychic powers with a nasty killer streak, wants her father George all to herself and will bump off anyone blocking her way.

Strains of Carrie and The Omen inform Cathy’s Curse

Randi Allen in her only screen role of note is wonderful as an intensely chilling and manifestly creepy child possessed by the malicious spirit of her aunt. Many of these character beats were touched upon with more elegance in The Omen with Damien. Matalon ups the ante by tossing in psychic powers in the fray as a nod to Carrie, all performed with shoddy, almost quaint practical effects worthy of its forgotten b-movie status.

Cathy is a daddy’s girl through and through and her clueless father George seems completely oblivious to the dangers she poses her mother Vivian. The mother was already recovering from a nervous breakdown when Cathy is possessed. You would think parents could notice their daughter turning from a sweet nine-year-old into a raging villain with animosity starkly directed at any woman around George. Darling Cathy hurls some of the nastiest, misogynist invectives of the ‘70s. It’s a trip and the film’s lasting calling card.

The scares in Cathy’s Curse often deliver in a raw and crude manner borrowed from better films. There’s a harrowing scene when Cathy gets an elderly man drunk, tormenting him with psychic visions as an actual snake and giant spider crawl over him. That’s not CGI, kids. The poor actor had to sit there enduring them for the scene.

There’s definitely a low-budget feel but the schlocky ‘70s vibe neatly enhances the storytelling in Cathy’s Curse. The plot is your basic ghost-possesses-a-child story with horrifying results but enough wacky stuff going on (such as a medium and haunted doll) to make it lively and entertaining. The Canadian horror flick isn’t a classic but a rather memorable blast from the past in the genre worth a look.

Video

Recently discovered film negatives in solid condition are the source for Severin’s new 4K transfers of the director’s cut (90:59) and the alternate, R-rated U.S. version (81:49) on a triple-layer UHD. The 1976 Canadian production features fairly standard HDR with small improvements seen in the contrast and shadow delineation. This is certainly an upgrade over the earlier 2017 Blu-ray but there’s only so much more detail one can extract from the movie’s rather uneven cinematography.

Boasting soft definition with thick chunks of grain, the gauzy cinematography possesses relatively muddy detail. The unfiltered 1.85:1 presentation is replete with a moody palette full of darker shades. The 2160p video’s steady but somewhat lackluster picture quality isn’t likely to wow newcomers to the film, unaware Cathy’s Curse can’t possibly look any better. A tick of ringing can be spotted.

The UHD is mastered at the usual 1000 nits of brightness and .0001 nits on the lower end, ensuring satisfactory color rendition for the encoded HDR. Black levels are serviceable, primarily taking place in exteriors and well-lit interiors. Minor debris litters the print.

Severin delivers the final word on home video for Cathy’s Curse, gifting the independent movie a 4K UHD no other label would have tackled.

Audio

The director’s cut for Cathy’s Curse offers mono 2.0 DTS-HD MA English audio and 2.0 French Dolby Digital. The Canadian film was shot in English if you’re wondering. The English audio is quite ordinary reflecting the movie’s low-rent production values and almost inadequate.

Dialogue is often recessed, especially for Vivian Gimble. Some hiss is evident in the occasionally thin recording. Dynamics are boxy with little obvious range. Sound effects are serviceable but underwhelming for a horror flick.

Optional English SDH and English subtitles intended for the French audio are offered on the director’s cut.

Extras

Severin put out Cathy’s Curse on Blu-ray back in 2017, giving the forgotten Canadian horror film its first real attention in the home video era. Previously, the film had barely circulated and was left in poor condition.

This two-disc 4K UHD set gives you both the preferred director’s cut and the R-rated American version in 4K quality with the Blu-ray carrying over several bonus features from the earlier 2017 disc. One new interview rounds out the 2024’s benefits. A 10-page booklet by Simon Barrett and Brian Collins is included, the same fun-loving horror movie critics who deliver the commentary.

It’s safe to say this will be the one and only 4K UHD release for Cathy’s Curse. Both the UHD and BD are region free.

Available directly from Severin Films is an optional limited edition slipcase set in which the girl’s eyes actually glow on the cover. Pull on the loop of black ribbon at the top of the case to slide the interior housing away from the slipcase. In so doing, the magnets discreetly packaged in the inner case will activate the green LEDs behind Laura’s eyes.

A single pass of the magnets create a steady glow, a second pass causes a rapid blinking effect, while a third pass slows the blinking. A fourth pass of the magnets will disengage the LEDs. The LED lights are powered by CR1220 button batteries, which have a shelf life ranging from one to ten years, depending on usage. The LEDs and batteries are securely sealed within the packaging and cannot be replaced without damaging the slipcase’s interior.

4K UHD extras:

Alternate U.S. Release Cut (81:49 in 4K; 2.0 DTS-HD MA mono with optional English SDH subtitles) – This shorter version of the film makes inexplicable cuts early in the narrative, cutting out critical background information on the characters and setting. There isn’t much rhyme or reason to the edits as the gorier bits are all left in the b movie. Outside of historical curiosity, go with the longer director’s cut for maximum entertainment.

Audio Commentary by Fangoria contributor Brian Collins and filmmaker Simon Barrett – A highly entertaining and loose commentary found only on the alternate American version. Both fans of Cathy’s Curse, this is two guys who love the film but correctly understand it’s not Citizen Kane. Definitely worth a listen if you dig the movie at all, they point out the choppy editing and differences with the longer director’s cut.

Cathy’s Curse Theatrical Trailers (01:53 in HD and 02:35 in HD) – Two vintage trailers

Blu-ray extras:

Tricks and Treats: An Interview with Director Eddy Matalon (20:16 in HD) – Largely in French, the director discusses making the horror movie.

Cathy’s Daddy: Alan Scarfe Remembers Cathy’s Curse (11:57 in HD) – The only new special feature is an interview with the actor, who unfortunately passed away before this 4K set got released.

Cathy and Mum: An Interview with Randi Allen and Costume Designer Joyce Allen (12:33 in HD) – Now grown up, Randi recalls her only major screen role with her mother along for the ride.

Introduction to Cinematic Void Screening at American Cinematheque by critic Brian Collins (04:28 in HD)

Cathy’s Curse Theatrical Trailers (01:53 in HD and 02:35 in HD) – Two vintage trailers

Audio Commentary by Fangoria contributor Brian Collins and filmmaker Simon Barrett – A highly entertaining and loose commentary found only on the alternate American version. Both fans of Cathy’s Curse, this is two guys who love the film but correctly understand it’s not Citizen Kane. Definitely worth a listen if you dig the movie at all, they point out the choppy editing and differences with the longer director’s cut.

Full disclosure: This UHD was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

Cathy's Curse
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Canadian B-movie tingler heavily influenced by The Omen and Carrie stars a great child actress in her only major screen role destroying a family from within

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 49 full resolution, uncompressed 4K screen shots ripped directly from the UHD:


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