Sunday, 14 June 2015

Curfew (1989, Gary Winnick)

'Don't go into the house... if you're late getting home!

I hadn't heard of this low-budget home invasion horror before i bought it (cheaply, i may add, in a 5 films for 1 boxset), and i read that it had been banned in the UK since 1989, and never released on video in the UK. This of course led me to set my expectations of hardcore sleaze quite high: was was this some lost gem that had passed me by? The late '80s answer to "Straw Dogs" or "Last House on the Left" perhaps. It certainly isn't anywhere near the same league as those movies, but then i've certainly spent an hour and a half sitting through a lot worse.

In short, two brothers convicted of rape and murder escape from prison to take revenge on the authority figures they blame for their imprisonment. they take out the judge and his wife, and set out to invade the home of the prosecuting District Attorney to torture and kill his family. The DA's teenage daughter arrives home later than the 10 o'clock curfew she's been given, to find her home and her parents in thrall to these escaped maniacs. Kyle Richards, as lead girl Stephanie, is cute enough in an 80s big hair kind of way and manages to hold the audience's sympathy throughout despite being surrounded early on by the most clichéd "teenage frat kids played by actors in their 20s or 30s" stereotypes going.

Some nicely nasty sequences (i believe tiresome bores these days refer to it as "torture porn") ensue as Steph's father is forced to walk on broken glass, and her mother is raped and spraypainted (strangely) by the interlopers. The most perplexing thing i found about the movie was the sequence early on wherein the reactionary judge chides Stephanie for her supposedly risqué outfit, asking her if she needs to borrow a pair of pants. The skirt she's wearing comes down to her knees, for Gawd's sakes!!! That judge guy sure must be one repressed conservative old coot. I was quite happy when his head was stoved in with his own gavel.

Not exactly an award-winning piece of filmmaking, then; but "Curfew" transcends its obvious limitations of budget by offering up a few good scares and intense scenes. Anyone with a liking for seeing overly conservative authority figures or teeth-grindingly inept jocks get their comeuppance will have an amusingly diverting 90 minutes.


  1. How would it have turned out any better for the lass if she'd gotten home before her curfew? And why does the judge keep his gavel in his house, rather than his courtroom?

    Also, when I clicked on the link I thought that it said 'Curlew', and that it was going to be a nature film. I need to increase the font size while I'm viewing this blog.

  2. 'Curlew' would be a lovely (if less gory) film. I remember the Halcyon days of 'Kingfisher'. (Excuse the terrible bird-name pun).