Cathy's Curse

03/03/2023 10:49

Film: Cathy’s Curse

Year: 1977

Director: Eddy Matalon

Writers: Myra Clément, Eddy Matalon and Alain Sens-Cazenave

Starring: Alan Scarfe, Beverly Murray and Randi Allen



This is a movie that I didn’t hear about until getting into podcasts. I knew that it popped up early on into listening to them, but it isn’t one that I heard a lot about after. It went on a list of movies to check out and I decided to view this since it was co-written by Myra Clément. I’m doing this for Woman Appreciation Month on my podcast, Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast.

Synopsis: a young girl possessed by the spirit of her aunt, who died as a child in a car accident. Soon, people around her begin to mysteriously die off.

We start this in the past. There is a little girl who I believe is named Joann. Her father rushes in and tells her that they’re leaving. He says that George is with her mother. It seems like the marriage is falling apart. They get into the car and a rabbit runs across the road, causing an accident. The car then catches fire, killing them both.

The movie then shifts to the present. George Gimble (Alan Scarfe) is moving into the house from the opening with his wife, Vivian (Beverly Murray), and their daughter Cathy (Randi Allen). If memory serves, Vivian had a miscarriage so they need a change of scenery. George works in construction and has an important project that needs to be completed. The house is prepared by Mary (Dorothy Davis) and Paul (Roy Witham).

Their time in the house is odd from the beginning. First, they notice children spying on them from the garden. They don’t mean any harm and want to be friends with Cathy. She also finds a painting in the attic that looks like her. There is also a doll there that she takes.

It is from this point that she acts differently. There is a presence in this house that is surrounding Cathy. It doesn’t want her to leave. It attacks those that try to take her or the doll from. This includes Mary, Paul and even Vivian. The mother has another mental breakdown that has her hospitalized. George is a rational person and is quite busy so he doesn’t realize the dark things happening to his family. It becomes a race against time before this spirit fully takes over the body of this little girl.

Now that is should be enough to recap the movie as well as introduce the main characters. While watching this, what struck me was that this feels like a blend of Audrey Rose and The Exorcist. The latter would have came out earlier in the decade and we get possession. What is interesting about the other movie that I thought of was that it came out in the same year. The novel would have been out before that so I could see it as an inspiration.

Even though I compared this movie to those other two, I do think it is more of seeing what works and borrowing elements while doing their own thing. If you couldn’t tell, we are getting a creepy kid movie here. There seems to be a bit of commentary with the wife as well. I could have swore at the beginning that she had a nervous breakdown due to a miscarriage. That is a legit thing to have subtle in the movie. It also makes this heavy. What I don’t like is that George isn’t caring. There is talks that she is going through what she is due to hereditary factors. Although mental illness can be genetic, it could be that as a girl she saw what her mother went through and it affected her now. Regardless of what the cause, Vivian is going through things and she need her husband to be support which he’s not.

Getting then back to Cathy. I don’t mind this idea of the aunt possessing her. My issue is that we don’t necessarily get a baseline for the character. They show up at the house and almost immediately she’s acting strange. She isn’t to us though since that’s all we’ve seen. There is dialogue claiming that which I’m not a fan of. We could have five to ten minutes to easily clear this problem for me, but we don’t. What I will give credit to though is Allen’s performance. She isn’t great, but she’s also a child. They give her adult things to say. Some of it is clunky. It feels like they didn’t want to go full Reagan here. This has heavy things that she also pushes on people while also hurting others.

Where I’ll then go would be the acting. I’ve already said that Allen is solid. Scarfe is as well as the father. My issues aren’t with his performance, but more of the character and how it was written. Murray has the better acting job though of the two. We see her come in as happy as she can at that point. She is unstable and I think that comes through here. Other than that, I though Mary Morter, Davis, Witham and the rest of the cast are fine. There are characters for Cathy to attack while possessed and other there to help develop the characters which works.

The last things then to go into would be with the effects and sound effects. I think the aftereffects of attacks are good. They do different things here that I wasn’t expecting necessarily. The blood and gore were fine in a subdued way. The sound effects though are cheesy. It makes it feel like a 1950s sci-fi movie and that was a problem. It just didn’t fit. Other than that, the soundtrack was fine for what was needed. I do believe there is piano music that can be eerie. The demonic voice for Cathy’s possession is also good. The only other thing then would be the cinematography. I thought that worked as well.

In conclusion, this is an interesting possession movie that comes out post-The Exorcist. There are also elements of Audrey Rose too. This still does enough to be its own thing. I like the idea of this girl being possessed due to a doll belonging to her aunt. My problem there is that we don’t get a baseline of her ‘normal’ before that. Allen does well as Cathy. The other standout performance is Murray. This is a well-made movie. Not great, but I would say worth a viewing for sure.


My Rating: 7 out of 10