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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Cathy’s Curse (4K UHD Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements


A young girl is possessed by the spirit of her dead aunt and people around her begin to die brutal deaths.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Cathy’s Curse, a 1976 Canadian horror film, is a strange mixture of genre films. From director Eddy Matalon, that both lays the groundwork for and borrows from many familiar films. If you have ever seen films like Chucky, Carrie, or The Omen, then you will be familiar with the sort of thing that goes on in this film, although it stands on its own and does its own thing.

When George Gimble was young, his mother took him abandoned their family. His father, calling her a “bitch,” grabbed George’s sister and drove off into the night to find his wife, but tragedy struck when the car went off the road and burst into flames. Thirty years later, George (Alan Scarfe) is married to Vivian (Beverly Murray) who is recovering from a mental breakdown. They have moved with their seven-year-old daughter Cathy (Randi Allen) into the old house his family used to own.

Cathy discovers an old doll while exploring in the house and it does not take long before she starts acting strange. Her mother Vivian notices a change, but George does not take her warnings seriously. No one takes her seriously. But Cathy has been possessed by the vengeful spirit of her aunt and she develops demonic powers under the doll’s control. Soon her aunt’s spirit is taking vengeance on relatives, friends, and even her parents.

Cathy’s Curse was the first English-language film for Montreal director Matalon and there is a shorter, R-rated U.S. cut aimed at the wider American market (included on this release). This movie fits in well with other movies of the era, but has its own, Canadian, low budget twist. Its quirky, horrific, and gets right to the point, from its cold opening to the straight to the point demonic possession and gore. Young Randi Allen is creepy as can be as the sweet little girl who turns evil and Matalon and his cinematographer Jean-Jacques Tarbès deliver good visuals on a tight budget.

Purchase Cathy’s Curse 4K Ultra HD on Amazon.com

  • Randi Allen and Dorothy Davis in Cathy's Curse (1976)
  •  Cathy's Curse (1976)
  • Roy Witham in Cathy's Curse (1976)
  • Dorothy Davis in Cathy's Curse (1976)
  • Cathy's Curse 4K Ultra HD Web Edition (Severin)
  • Cathy's Curse 4K Ultra HD (Severin)
  • Cathy's Curse 4K Ultra HD (Severin)

The Video

Cathy’s Curse gets a 1.85:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) HDR10 encodement from Severin Films that looks very natural. This transfer has obviously gone to great pains to preserve the grain structure, which is very thick, but also very organic and satisfying to see. Along with this preference over preserving the grain comes some subtle sparkle and instances of sparkle and scratches in the source kept in the image, but surely not enough to detract from the richly detailed and colorful presentation. From the two-minute mark, we see flames engulfing a red car, and those flames look three-dimensional, popping with excellent highlights thanks to the HDR10 grading, with does provide superb contrast and glistening highlights and vibrant colors. The one issue I take with the grading is the white balance is a bit too hot, tipping over the edge into clipping in spots like white curtains with light coming through and so on.

The Audio

The English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track is a bit boxy with narrow dynamics, but it provides clear enough dynamics and effects with little noise.

The Supplements

A number of interviews are included and two audio commentaries that are great listening.

Bonus Features:

  • Limited Edition Webstore Exclusive Slipcase with Glowing LED Eyes Available Separately
  • Reversible Wrap
  • Includes both the Director’s Cut and shorter U.S. “R-rated” Release
  • Booklet by Simon Barrett and Simon Collins
  • Audio Commentary by Fangoria Contributor Brian Collins and Filmmaker Simon Barret (U.S. Cut Only)
  • Theatrical Trailers (1080p; 00:01:53)

Blu-ray Only Bonus Features:

  • Tricks and Treats – Interview with Director Eddy Matalon (1080p; 00:20:16)
  • Cathy’s Daddy – Alan Scarfe Remembers Cathy’s Curse (1080p; 00:11:57)
  • Cathy & Mum – Interview with Actress Randi Allen and Costume Designer Joyce Allen (1080p; 00:12:33)
  • Introduction to Cinematic Void/American Cinematheque Screening by Brian Collins (1080p; 00:02:07)

The Final Assessment

Cathy’s Curse is a little-known horror film out of the Great White North that genre fans will appreciate. It looks excellent for a 1976 low budget horror film in this new 4K transfer from Severin.

Cathy’s Curse is out on 4K Ultra HD May 28, 2024 from Severin Films

Purchase Cathy’s Curse on 4K Ultra HD on Amazon.com

  • Rating Certificate: Unrated (Director’s Cut) | R (U.S. Release)
  • Studios & Distrbutors: Les Productions Agora | Maki Films | Severin Films
  • Director: Eddy Matalon
  • Written By: Myra Clément | Eddy Matalon | Alain Sens-Cazenave
  • Run Time: 91 Mins. (Director’s Cut) | 82 Mins. (U.S. Release)
  • Street Date: 28 May 2024
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: HDR10
  • HDR10 Metadata:
    • MaxLL: 1000 nits
    • MaxFALL: 400 nits
    • Max. Luminance: 1000 nits
    • Min. Luminance: 0.0001 nits
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
  • Secondary Audio: French DD 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English SDH | English for French Audio

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A young girl is possessed by the spirit of her dead aunt and people around her begin to die brutal deaths. Cathy's Curse (4K UHD Review)