CURTAINS (1983) Reviews and overview


‘Behind every curtain, someone is waiting… something is watching.’
Curtains is a 1983 Canadian horror film directed by Richard Ciupka [credited as Jonathan Stryker, also the name of the maniacal director in the movie] from a screenplay by Robert Guz, Jr. (Prom Night, 1980, storyline).

The movie stars John Vernon, Samantha Eggar, Linda Thorson, Annie Ditchburn, Lynne Griffin, Sandee Currie and Lesleh Donaldson.

The film had a troubled production history, having originally begun shooting in 1980, director Ciupka was forced to reshoot footage and the producers insisted on changes that meant he eventually used a pseudonym.

Though initially, an obscure cinema release, VHS tape distribution ensured that Curtains gained some underground cult status among fans of the slasher film genre, many of whom cite the ‘ice skating’ murder scene as the memorable highlight.

Samantha Sherwood, an attractive aspiring actress, has herself committed to a mental institution to do some background research for the role of a woman with unstable sanity in a film called ‘Audra’ in which her well-known director, Jonathon Stryker, leaves her at the mental institution. Having discovered that Stryker is letting a new group of girls audition for the role of Audra, she escapes the asylum for revenge…

“The movie is a fun slasher though it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The killer often uses a doll as bait before killing. The killer also wears an evil woman mask and is pretty stylish. The scenes in the asylum are also pretty good, but the movie didn’t do enough with it.” Basement Rejects

curtains new synapse blu-ray

“Sections of Curtains are artfully composed, ripe with tension, and interested in breaking away from the norm. The rest is flat and feebly staged, with such blunt pursuits keeping the feature conventional, while Ciupka aims to elevate the material with an interesting visual push. He’s also good with his cast, pulling convincingly frazzled work from Eggar and Vernon…”

” …enough black-gloved killings, whodunit red herrings, terrorized beauties and theatrical set pieces to qualify it as more of a snowy Giallo than anything else … Curtains aspires to be so much more than the average horror film and succeeds—probably more than it should. Entertaining, unusually self-aware and sometimes downright unnerving.” Canuxploitation!

“Ultimately, Curtains is a high-class slasher with more of an emphasis on thrills than kills. There’s hardly any blood, but the film is filled with enough creepiness and grotesque imagery to make up for it … Recommended.” Retro Slashers

“… it endured rewrites, recasting, and reshoots after being shelved for a year. That might set off a ton of alarms, but Curtains came out okay in the end; it’s obviously not a great film, but it is a solid little slasher that distinguishes itself from time to time.” Oh, the Horror!

curtains synapse blu-ray + DVD

Buy Curtains on Synapse Blu-ray + DVD combo from

Brand-New 2K High-Definition Transfer from Original Vault Materials
5.1 Surround Remix Specifically Created for This Release
The Ultimate Nightmare: The Making of Curtains – An all-new retrospective featuring interviews with Director Richard Ciupka, Stars Lesleh Donaldson and Lynne Griffin, Editor Michael MacLaverty, Special Make-Up Effects Creator Greg Cannom, and Composer Paul Zaza
Audio Commentary with Stars Lesleh Donaldson and Lynne Griffin
Audio Interview with Producer Peter R. Simpson
Audio Interview with Star Samantha Eggar
Theatrical Trailer

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“It has its moments, a few of them outstanding, but just falls a few hurdles short of being recognised as a true classic. Definitely amongst the top-ten of the eighties’ best slashers, but it’s painful to think that it should have been in the top three…” A Slash Above

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“Headed by then-middle aged, seasoned veteran actors John Vernon and Samantha Eggar, and rounded out by a cast of early mostly twenty something females, Curtains isn’t your average teenybopper high school bodycount flick. As such, there’s a pervasive air of somber maturity throughout.” The Terror Trap


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“We should be thankful the film was finished at all. It’s got some bad moments, dim lighting and a largely indistinguishable cast of ladies but then there’s the score and that ice-skating slo-mo flash of brilliance in there too. I’d say remake it, but then I think of Black Christmas.” Vegan Voorhees




Cast and characters:
John Vernon … Jonathan Stryker – Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Blue Monkey
Samantha Eggar … Samantha Sherwood – Demonoid; The Brood; The Dead Are Alive, A Name for Evil, The Collector
Linda Thorson … Brooke Parsons – Thriller: Lady Killer TV series; Tales from the Darkside
Anne Ditchburn … Laurian Summers
Lynne Griffin … Patti O’Connor – Black Christmas
Sandee Currie … Tara DeMillo (as Sandra Warren)
Lesleh Donaldson … Christie Burns – Funeral Home, Happy Birthday to Me, Deadly Eyes
Deborah Burgess … Amanda Teuther
Michael Wincott … Matthew
Maury Chaykin … Monty
Joann McIntyre … Secretary
Calvin Butler … Doctor Pendleton
Kate Lynch … Receptionist
Booth Savage … Amanda’s Boyfriend
William Marshall … Attendant
James Kidnie … Attendant
Diane Godwin … Actress
Janelle Hutchison … Stroker
Virginia Leight … Screamer
Kay Griffin … Thief
Bunty Webb … Tickler
Daisy White … Roommate
Vivian Reis … TV Laugher

Digital release:
On July 8, 2014, the film was released by Synapse Films in a remastered Blu-ray + DVD package, having been “lovingly re-mastered in 2K resolution from original vault materials virtually untouched for over 30 years.”


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