With this double feature, SCREAM! FACTORY brings together the first two entries in THE CURSE series. The first film dealing with a family whose farm is struck by a meteorite, thus resulting in some rather bizarre occurrences. That is followed up by the sequel(in name only), CURSE II : THE BITE, about a man who is bitten by a nuclear altered snake, and soon undergoes bizarre changes.
THE CURSE - 1987 - Directed by David Keith -
Taking place in Tallico Plains Tennessee, 1987's THE CURSE focuses on the Crane family. The patriarch of the family is Nathan Crane, a man who runs a local farm. When it comes to family life, Nathan is God-fearing and strict when it comes to his family; his son Cyrus, wife Frances and her children. Zack and Alice. Besides a drought, which has caused crops not to flourish, Nathan has had to recently deal with problems such as an eccentric Realtor named Charlie, who desperately wishes to purchase his property, while has the city's water supplier, who wishes to build a reservoir - thus wiping out his farm, as well as others in the area. While these people may be big hurdles for the Crane family, nothing could prepare him for what would soon occur, when a meteoritic comes crashing down onto their farmland. Certainly strange, initially, it seems harmless, however, the crash would result in a few bizarre occurrences. Whatever ir may be, it seems to have tainted the Cranes' water supply from their well. Unbeknown to them, the water is unsafe to consume. And soon it would be revealed that the water also causes the crops to decay, as well as make the livestock and horses to act strangely violent - sometimes even resulting in death. But it doesn't end there, because those of the Crane family who had consumed the water slowly begin to change as well. Not only to their faces become ripe with blisters, they too become violent. Luckily for young Zack, however, he was smart enough not to drink the tainted water. In the end, it's up to him to get he and his young sister out of there before it's too late.
Based from the H.P. Lovecraft story, "The Colour Out of Space" THE CURSE a film from Producer Ovidio G. Assonitis, the man behind films such as PIRANA II, is basically a less technical version of THE CRAZIES. It's a B-Movie at its core, and is essentially Black comedy, whether it intends to be such or not. Directed by film actor, David Keith(FIRESTARTER), who here, made his directorial debut, the film has a look and feel about it which obviously carries a heavy Euro influence, all the way down to its special effects, which were said to have been overseen by Italian Horror great, Lucio Fulci.
For the most part, I did enjoy THE CURSE for what it is, and for the first time viewer(which I was here), the best part was trying to figure out, just what would become of the Crane family, as they slowly deteriorate, and things become more chaotic. The film begins as Willis, a city water tech(played by John Schneider) is being taken of the Crane family by officials. His face is covered in blisters, and he is rambling on about something being in the water. It's certainly foretelling. You know things are not to end well for all, as the film then takes us back 6 months earlier. The first half of THE CURSE is somewhat fun in a cheesy sort of way. But later, it is that same cheese-factor, which brings the film down a notch, as things just become a little too silly an over the top. The film is still enjoyable, but after awhile, it becomes slightly exhaustive.
As for the acting in the film, it's truly nothing to write home about - but then again this is a film that more or less plays out like a live action Sci-Fi comic. The acting is pretty much a product of the material. However I will say that Wil Weaton was kind of likable as the film's young hero.
Overall Rating : 5.5/10
CURSE II : THE BITE - 1989 - Directed by Frederico Prosperi -
In CURSE II : THE BITE, couple, Clark Newman, and Lisa Snipes are hoping to get to Albuquerque New Mexico on their way to California. Despite the warnings from a gas station attendant, Clark takes a short cut to shave off some time. Unfortunately, though, this sends them on the path into a former nuclear test area. The area has since become the breeding ground for venemous snakes. After cutting through town, Clark unfortunately finds himself the victim of a snake bite on the hand. After the event, Clark is sure he is safe, after her receives an antidote injecting, which was administered, oddly enough by a traveling salesman, who just so happens to have some knowledge of snakes and their subsequent bites. However, despite thinking that he has been instantly cured, it turns out that the salesman, Harry Morton misidentified the bite - giving him the wrong antidote. Bitten by a mutated snake, Clark begins to display bizarre, violent behavior, as his injured hand, begins to slowly morph into the head of a dangerous snake. One that soon takes over his entire body,
With this film, although it is labeled a sequel, I believe that it was first conceived as a standalone film. Though it is a sequel in its title only, I can very well see why it was grouped with the original film. As both films deal with characters who endure bizarre, mutative transformations.
While I did mention that I thought that THE CURSE was somewhat cheesy and over the top. CURSE II, is even more cheesy and over the top. It's, in a way fun, but still very silly. This isn't your ordinary "snake on the loose" film, as CURSE II : THE BITE, takes it a more fantasized step further, by having a snake grow, as it use a human as a host. I know it sounds silly, but that's what we have here. Here, a guy gets bit, only to be treated with the wrong antidote. During the time after, the mutated venom (somehow) births a huge venomous snake, which grows from the characters bitten hand. It continues to grow until the end of the film, in which we see the fully formed snake emerge from its human host's body. Yes, the film is an odd one for sure, but it is indeed one that is difficult to turn away from, simply due to its absurdity. Along with its whole silly idea, it has some rather grotesque looking special effects, that are certainly eye catching.
Is it a good, or even great film? No it's not. But like the predecessor, it is a somewhat enjoyable watch. To me, the best part about CURSE II : THE BITE was the involvement of some notable figures in THE STEPFATHER'S Jill Schoelen and Mash's Jamie Farr. Schoelen, as the girlfriend of main character "Clark Newman"(J. Eddie Peck), and the film's ultimate "damsel in distress", and Farr as the traveling salesman, who once had aspired to be a doctor. Farr's character is especially fun, as the character of "Harry Morton", is certainly "out there", as they say. He's a traveling salesman, who is administering vaccines? Why not just make the character a local doctor instead? It's odd, but then again, it is probably the reason as to why Jamie Farr took the role in the first place. He was a kidder for sure. Elsewhere the film also has, as the local Sheriff, Bo Svenson(WALKING TALL PART II, THE FINAL CHAPTER WALKING TALL), and an early appearance by Shiri Appleby(the TV series "Roswell").
Again, CURSE II : THE BITE, is a little fun, but a whole bunch silly. For this release, SCREAM! FACTORY had no choice but to utilize the best available print from the MGM vault. It is not their usual grade of HD restoration, but it looks decent enough, unrestored.
Overall Rating : 5/10