Zeegrade Reviews

Zeegrade Reviews
Movies for scumbags.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Curse IV (1988)

     I know what you're thinking.  How the hell are there four Curse movies?  First, calm the fuck down — I'm not the one responsible for this.  Second, these four films have nothing to do with one another, not unlike the Beyond the Door series. 
Besides, Curse IV was originally a film called Catacombs that was released in 1988 and doesn't make sense in terms of series chronology:
  • The Curse (1987)
  • Curse II: The Bite (1989)
  • Curse III: Blood Sacrifice (1991)
  • Curse IV: The Ultimate Sacrifice (1988)
By the time Catacombs got a release here in the U.S. it was already 1993 and a decision was made to change the title and make it the unofficial third sequel to the original 1987 movie that was a take on H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space" and directed by David Keith, a.k.a. Jack Parkman:

David Keith in: The Joey Belle Story

     For over four hundred years the Abbey of San Pietro has held a secret in the catacombs underneath the building.  Besides the plumbing done by non-union labor they have, trapped within a cell, a demon that has possessed Thudarr the Barbarian:

 "There will be no Talos worship in our abbey Nord!"

The dude is locked away behind a door that has been sealed with a sigil.  Fast forward to the Abbey circa late eighties where Elizabeth, an American teacher, has been invited by Brother Orsini to inspect the said catacombs.  Her arrival causes a bit of a disturbance with the strictly male abbey which includes Father John (Timothy Van Patten — Salami from The White Shadow or as most bad movie fans recognize him: Max from The Master I & II featured on Season 4 of Mystery Science Theater 3000) who, like Elizabeth, is also an American drawn to the monastery for unknown reasons.  Wouldn't you know it, a loose block from the wall covering the sealed door just happens to  slide apart allowing one of the monks to remove the sigil form the fucking door!  A bad case of nosebleeds ensues.
     This is rather an eccentric cast that populate the Abbey.  One of the monks listens to soccer matches on his Walkman while Brother Timothy "adopted" an attractive farmer's daughter named Antonia who has premonitions of the future.  Brother Timothy uses this time to introduce Elizabeth to one of his favorite local sayings:
"The devil can touch you and leave his mark, just so long as he doesn't steal your soul."
What the fuck?  What kinda fucked up town are you living in where that creepy motto gains popularity?  In what situations would you say something like that?   "Hey Mario, there's not enough olive oil for my bread!  Well, you know Luigi, the devil can touch you..."  Anyway, Antonia storms off after telling Brother Timothy that somebody will die today.  She's right.  The dickhead monk that removed the sigil "God's light" is held against his will in what appears to be a freshly dug grave and is buried alive:

 The irony was not lost on the monk that his favorite game was Dig Dug.

     Some details are gathered during a conversation between Brother Orsini and Father John.  Seems John has been experiencing a crisis of faith and is looking for a purpose before continuing with the Lord's work.  Give yourself about forty-five minutes John.  Elizabeth and John finally meet after she walks into the monk's dining room causing a bronze cross to fall off a shelf.  The introduction is short lived when Orsini arrives to take Elizabeth to where the Abbey miracle took place.  Something finally smashes through the wall during a fire-and-brimstone sermon from the humorless prick, Brother Marinus.  Orsini and Elizabeth arrive in the miracle room:

 "Why yes, it is disturbingly life-like!"

More on our third guest later.  This "catacomb chapel" was the site of where the first Prior had his sight restored by a bright light which would defy any scientific explanations since they are far under the church.  Orsini remarks that the other brothers don't like coming down into this room.  Yeah, no shit.  He gives Elizabeth a cross necklace to wear that inspires serenity.  This movie inspires serenity so much I need nap.   Brother Marinus brings to Orsini's attention that the sigil that kept the demon locked away is missing and that it will certainly make its way to the catacomb chapel.  Orsini remains skeptical about the Abbey's tale of a locked demon in the catacombs.
     John keeps company with Brother Terrel who is literally on his death bed.  Terrell admits that he wishes that he had sex when he was sixteen to a girl Dolores he really liked.  Instead, he looks forward to — and I'm not fucking with you — "great sex with God" upon his days in the afterlife.  Wow.  Orsini is down in the catacombs when he hears demonic bellowing in the distance.  He's brought to the now open cell of the demon, a skeleton still shackled to the wall, when suddenly he receives two deep scratches on his face.  As he stumbles out of the cell he sees a double of himself floating dead on top of the tiny catacomb stream.  He falls dead of a heart attack.  With Orsini dead Marinus immediately assumes the mantle of Brother Superior.  Not surprisingly, he's a total cunt.

"Tea is for heretics and fags!"

     John and Elizabeth visit Antonia and she tells them something in Italian.  John does his best to explain the translation that one of them has been touched by the devil and the other will die.  Good morning to you too sweetheart.  Brother Timothy retreats to the catacomb chapel to indulge in a Snickers bar — again, I'm not fucking with you.  That must have been the final straw because, in one of the most bizarre and ballsy scenes ever, Jesus comes to life to murder the chocolate loving monk!

If you're gonna die for a candy bar at least make it a PayDay.  Marinus moves quickly to bar Elizabeth from the Abbey.  He meets with John and confides with him the secret of the demon sealed in the catacombs of the Abbey.  Marinus takes him to the door that was originally sealed and requests that John aid him in the exorcism ceremony that took place four hundred years ago.  John doesn't appear to believe him and wants no part of it.  Marnius visits the burial chamber where the skeletons laugh at him.  
     John goes to see Brother Terrel when he finds him missing.  A monk tells him that Marinus brought him down to the catacombs.  John finds Terrel lying on a sacrificial stone.  He tells John that he's dying and might be having sex with God soon.  This fucking guy won't stop!  Terrel warns John that Marinus has become corrupted and before he can finish that very monk stabs him in the back.  John wakes up back in his bed.  He runs to Terrel's room to find the old Brother dead.  Elizabeth returns to the catacomb chapel and finds Brother Timothy:

He died for your caramel and nougaty sins.

Antonia trots her way to the chapel and finds Elizabeth kneeling in front of the crucified Timothy.  When she stands up and faces Antonia her eyes are black as night.  She laughs demonically and uses some sort of wind attack to knock Antonia unconscious.  The demon then reiterates that women are not allowed here.  Fucking prude.  
     Marinus chews the scenery with all his satanic battling gusto before John storms in and tells him to stop this at once.  He makes his way down to the catacomb chapel where everything has returned to normal except for the demonic Elizabeth standing on the ceiling.  The demon claims to be Satan which John denies.  A wind attack gives him a bloody lip.  He pleads with Elizabeth to not let the demon control her.  Marinus enters with a knife made into a cross.  Why would a church own something like that?  The demon rips the knife out from his hands and then beats him to death with more invisible punches.  John reaches for the holy mirror that restored the first Prior's sight but is felled by a couple of phantom punches to the gut.  Elizabeth straddles on top of him and turns into the blond man that was sealed into the catacomb at the beginning of the film.  The demon continues to beat John while mocking his faith.  For some odd reasons he asks if John has had enough and when he answers yes, just sort of walks away without finishing him off for some reason.  The demon looks at the lifelike crucified Jesus and suddenly remembers the exorcism four hundred years ago.  He becomes scared and tells John no when the priest takes the mirror and reflects the "Light of the Lord" on him:

Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.

What the hell was that?  He had him dead to rights but decided to give him an opportunity to defeat him by leaving a priest next to a table with a bunch of holy fucking relics on it!  You would assume the living incarnation of evil would be a little, you know, smarter.  Anyway, the light builds brighter then fades away leaving Elizabeth alive and unscathed.  
     Elizabeth, John and Antonia leave flowers on the burial ground of one of any number of monks that died during this movie.  Brother Timothy's "favorite saying" is played indicating the streak of gray in Antonia's hair as being "touched" by the devil.  She walks away and John and Elizabeth enter the Abbey.  One assumes, a very empty Abbey.  
     Not much to say here.  This is definitely in the category of white bread horror.  The violence is tame, there's no nudity and the only scene of worth is the murdering Jesus scene.  There has never been anything compelling by Timothy Van Patten to establish himself as leading man material.  This movie is no different.  He's more a part of the boring collective whole rather than a single hero we can root for.  This is strictly for Curse completists (if such people even exist) only.  Being bored to tears does qualify as a curse though, so you got that going for ya. 

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