This undistinguished 1987 grue fest, loosely inspired by H.P.
Lovecraft’s “Colour out of Space,” is of interest for one reason: the
name “Louis Fulci,” credited as Associate Producer--actually Italy’s
Lucio Fulci, of ZOMBIE,
CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD and THE BEYOND
infamy, who was called in by producer Ovidio Assonitis to assist
first-time director David Keith.
The extent of Mr. Fulci’s involvement in THE CURSE has
been a longtime source of debate. Some people claim he “ghosted” the
film while others say he assisted only in the special effects--which, it
must be said, do bear his influence.
David Keith is best known as an actor in films ranging
from FIRESTARTER to
WHITE OF THE EYE to HEARTBREAK HOTEL, but his directorial
credits are scant--and judging by his work here, I can understand why.
The above-the-title star was the teenage Will Wheaton, coming off STAND
BY ME and just getting started on STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.
Wheaton has since stated the only good thing about THE CURSE is that his
little sister Amy got an acting job (her first) on it.
Young Zach has problems: aside from being a complete
wimp, he has to spend an entire summer working on his mother’s dairy
farm with his pious stepfather and abusive stepbrother Cyrus. One night
something crashes to Earth outside Zach’s window. The next morning that
something is revealed as a large ball that flashes and eventually melts
into watery goo.
The town’s authorities conclude the thing is a
broken-off portion of an airplane lavatory, but Zach, having studied the
object up close, knows better (although for some reason he keeps this
knowledge to himself). In short order, a weird type of plant sprouts up,
tomatoes spurt blood and apples become filled with writhing maggots. All
the farm’s animals go crazy from drinking water polluted by the seeping
goo, as evinced by a horse kicking Cyrus and chickens attacking his
The humans don’t fare much better. Zach’s mother and
step brother become homicidal maniacs from drinking the water, although
Zach’s step father and sister remain unaffected, at least initially.
Eventually Zach’s stepdad becomes homicidal, the house falls apart,
Zach’s mom turns into a puddle of slime and the movie ends.
This film will be sought out by fans of H.P. Lovecraft
and Lucio Fulci, and both camps will be disappointed. THE CURSE follows
the broad outlines of Lovecraft’s “Colour out of Space” but completely
misses the story’s imaginative brilliance, and nor does it approach the
transcendent craziness of Fulci’s best work.
What David Keith (and/or Lucio Fulci) has turned out is
a reasonably competent but uninspiring piece of work. The lame
synthesizer score does the film no favors, and nor does the
charisma-free performance of Will Wheaton as the wimpy and unsympathetic
The sole area where THE CURSE excels is in the
spectacularly gooey blood and slime special effects. Even here, though,
the film falls short of its potential (possibly due to MPAA-enforced
editing), having already been far outdone by the likes of THE THING,
THE CURSE (a.k.a. THE FARM)
Trans World Entertainment
Director: David Keith
Producer: Ovidio G. Assonitis
Screenplay: David Chaskin
Cinematography: Robert D. Furges
Editing: Claudio M. Cutry
Cast: Will Wheaton, Claude Atkins, Malcolm Danare, Cooper Huckabee, John
Schneider, Amy Wheaton, Steve Carlisle, Kathleen Jordan Gregory, Hope
North, Steve Davis