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Film / Curtains

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"Have you ever wanted something so badly that you'd do ANYTHING for it?"
Patti O'Connor

Curtains is a 1983 Canadian horror film directed by Richard Ciupka (credited as "Jonathan Stryker") and starring Samantha Eggar, John Vernon, and Linda Thorson.

A slasher film centered on theater and filmmaking, its plot focuses on a group of actresses targeted by a masked killer at a prestigious director's remote mansion where they are auditioning for a role in a movie.

The film suffered from a very messy production, the result of Creative Differences between Ciupka and producer Peter Simpson. This eventually led to the director quitting production and taking his name off the finished product, leaving Simpson having to finish the shoot. Over the next year or so, numerous rewrites and re-shoots were made, resulting in a choppy, disjointed film.

Despite this, the film has since developed a small cult following.


This film contains examples of:

  • Becoming the Mask: The final scene has Patti, now committed in mental institution, performing a monologue from Audra to other patients in the mental institution.
  • Big Bad: Patti, desperate to break into more dramatic work, is the killer.
  • Creepy Doll: One such doll appears during Amanda's nightmare, and later during the ice skating sequence. It even appears on the poster!
  • Decapitation Presentation: After killing Christie, Patti places her severed head in Brooke's toilet to scare her.
  • Destination Defenestration: After being shot repeatedly by Samantha, Stryker falls to his death from the fourth-floor window.
  • Downer Ending: All of the actresses except Patti are dead, and Patti herself effectively becomes Audra.
  • Dwindling Party: The actresses become this as the murders progress.
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  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Patti kills Tara by impaling her in the back with an ax. Later, she kills Samantha by impaling her with a kitchen knife.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Stryker, behind his respectable exterior, is a shameless sleazebag. Likewise, Patti is all smiles and giggles on the surface, but in reality is a cold-blooded Serial Killer.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Just prior to her audition, Amanda has a dream that while driving to the audition, she is stopped by a large porcelain doll standing in the middle of the road. When she leaves her car to move it, she is run over.
  • Off with Her Head!: Christie is decapitated with a sickle.
  • Removing the Rival: In order to ensure she wins the role, Patti decides to murder the other five auditioning actresses.
  • Sexual Extortion: Samantha knows that Stryker is only using the other actresses for their bodies, and that the whole audition is just a ploy for him to have sex with them. Stryker ultimately sleeps with Christie, which leaves her visibly shaken and causes her to quit the shoot in disgust - but not before being murdered by Patti.
  • Snow Means Death: In the film's most celebrated scene, Christie notices a small hand protruding out of the snow while ice skating at the edge of a pond, and uncovers a porcelain doll. She is then attacked and decapitated by someone (later revealed to be Patti) in a grotesque hag mask.

Example of: