Curtains (1983) – By Duane L. Martin

Jonathan Stryker (John Vernon) is a producer who has a new film in the works about a woman named Audra who goes insane and commits murder. The film is all the buzz in the trades and his long time companion and cohort Samantha Sherwood (Samantha Eggar) is supposed to be playing the lead role of Audra, and as such they fake her being homicidal and have her committed to a mental institution so she can study other insane women to see how they act. Unfortunately, once she was inside, he left her there, and it took her quite some time and the help of a friend to get her out.

Now Stryker is holding auditions at his mansion with six actresses to find a new “Audra”, but things become tense when Samantha shows up and reinserts herself not only into his life, but into the auditions as well. Suddenly, the girls start dying one by one, but who’s the killer? That’s the million dollar question.

The first thing you’ll notice in this film is John Vernon. Is there anything he didn’t play a jerk in back in the eighties? He’s one of those people who’s instantly recognizable, and even though his name may not be familiar, his face sure is. Speaking of recognizing people, there was someone else in this film that I recognized, but it took me a bit to put my finger on who she was. Her name is Lynne Griffin, and my god it was bugging me where I knew her from. That’s when it hit me. She played Pam Elsinore in Strange Brew! Even though she’s had a very prolific career, this is the only thing I’ve seen her in other than Strange Brew, at least as far as I can remember. There are other recognizable faces in this film as well, including Samantha Eggar and Linda Thorson.

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding who the real killer is in this film, and I won’t reveal it here because it does come as a bit of a surprise at the end. Suffice it to say, it’s creative and certainly not something you’d expect.

As far as the film itself, it’s all right. It’s nothing overly special, but it’s not bad either. It’s a slasher film, so people end up dead in sometimes creative ways, the producer never passes up a chance to sleep with one of the girls, and there’s the occasional nude scene with different girls. There are parts of it I quite enjoyed, in particular I thought Samantha’s time in the mental hospital with all the other insane women was very well done and created a perfect lead in for what was to come. It also set a great tone for the film and showed us right off the bat what an unscrupulous bastard Stryker is.

As with all of the releases from Synapse Films, this one has been painstakingly restored. It looks and sounds great, and comes absolutely loaded with special features. The film itself is a brand new 2K high definition transfer from original vault materials and it has a 5.1 surround remix that was specifically created for this release. As far as special features, it comes with the following:

The Ultimate Nightmare: The Making of “Curtains” – An all new 2014 retrospective featuring interviews with director Richard Ciupka, stars Lesleh Donaldson & Lynne Griffin, editor Michael MacLaverty, special make-up effects creator Greg Cannom and composer Paul Zaza.

Ciupka – A Film Maker in Transition – Director Gordon Thorne’s vintage documentary short, featuring rare, behind the scenes footage from Curtains. (blu-ray exclusive)

An audio commentary track featuring Lesleh Donaldson and Lynne Griffin.

Alternate audio track vintage interviews with producer Peter R. Simpson and star Samantha Eggar.

The film’s theatrical trailer.

Curtains is a slasher flick from 1983, and it looks it. Everything about this film screams early eighties, from the look of the people to the settings to the style of acting and even the way people are murdered. If you enjoy slasher films from the eighties, then this is one you’ll definitely want to check out.

If you’d like to find out more about this release, you can check out its page on the Synapse Films website here: