The Curse (1987)

R | 90 mins | Horror, Science fiction | 11 September 1987

Director:

David Keith

Writer:

David Chaskin

Cinematographer:

Robert D. Forges

Editor:

Claude Kutry

Production Designer:

Frank Vanorio

Production Company:

Brouwersgracht Investments
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HISTORY

Opening credits contains a title card: “Tellico Plains, Tennessee. Six Months Earlier.” End credits contain the following information: “Filmed on location in Tellico Plains, Tennessee.” Director David Keith, a native of Knoxville, TN, owned a farm in Tellico Plains, the 2 Oct 1986 HR and 1 May 1989 People noted, and shot most of the film on his property.
       American International Pictures first adapted H. P. Lovecraft’s short story, “The Colour Out of Space,” as a 1965 film called Die, Monster, Die (see entry), but the company decided to remake it five years later with a new screenwriter, according to the 8 Apr 1970 issue of HR. The project never came to fruition.
       The 30 Jul 1986 Var reported that The Well would be filmed in the Tellico Plains area of TN. Three months later, the 3 Oct 1986 DV announced that filming began 29 Sep 1986 under a new title, The Farm. The 6 May 1987 Var noted that The Farm had been “recently completed.” The 26 Aug 1987 Var noted the title’s change to The Curse. The film cost $4 million, according to the 3 Nov 1987 HR. Despite the 27 Aug 1986 Var report that Treat Williams was set to star, he was not involved in the final production.
       Actor Wil Wheaton is billed as Will Wheaton. His sister in the film, “Alice,” is portrayed by his real sister, Amy Wheaton.
       Many crew members were Italians billed under American names. Associate producer Louis Fulci was Lucio ...

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Opening credits contains a title card: “Tellico Plains, Tennessee. Six Months Earlier.” End credits contain the following information: “Filmed on location in Tellico Plains, Tennessee.” Director David Keith, a native of Knoxville, TN, owned a farm in Tellico Plains, the 2 Oct 1986 HR and 1 May 1989 People noted, and shot most of the film on his property.
       American International Pictures first adapted H. P. Lovecraft’s short story, “The Colour Out of Space,” as a 1965 film called Die, Monster, Die (see entry), but the company decided to remake it five years later with a new screenwriter, according to the 8 Apr 1970 issue of HR. The project never came to fruition.
       The 30 Jul 1986 Var reported that The Well would be filmed in the Tellico Plains area of TN. Three months later, the 3 Oct 1986 DV announced that filming began 29 Sep 1986 under a new title, The Farm. The 6 May 1987 Var noted that The Farm had been “recently completed.” The 26 Aug 1987 Var noted the title’s change to The Curse. The film cost $4 million, according to the 3 Nov 1987 HR. Despite the 27 Aug 1986 Var report that Treat Williams was set to star, he was not involved in the final production.
       Actor Wil Wheaton is billed as Will Wheaton. His sister in the film, “Alice,” is portrayed by his real sister, Amy Wheaton.
       Many crew members were Italians billed under American names. Associate producer Louis Fulci was Lucio Fulci, a veteran of Italian horror movies.
       A scene with “Charley Davidson” driving “Carl Willis” around the county in his Cadillac convertible prominently features a Jerry Lee Lewis recording of “High School Confidential,” but the song is not cited in the credits.
       End credits contain the following acknowledgments: “The producer would like to thank the following: The citizens of Tellico Plains and Monroe County Mayor and Mrs. Charles Hall Jane Wood and the Tennessee Film & Tape Commission; Mr. and Mrs. Keith Prissy; and Bob Dockery Libby Murphy.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 Oct 1963
p. 2
Daily Variety
3 Oct 1986
p. 14
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 1963
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 1986
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 1970
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 1970
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 1987
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Sep 1987
Calendar, p. 15
New York Times
11 Sep 1987
p. 13
People
1 May 1989
---
Philadelphia Inquirer
5 Oct 1987
Section E, p. 3
The Gettysburg Times (PA)
30 Sep 1986
p. 4
Variety
30 Jul 1986
p. 32
Variety
27 Aug 1986
p. 39
Variety
6 May 1987
p. 12
Variety
20 May 1987
p. 102
Variety
26 Aug 1987
p. 104
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Trans World Entertainment presents
an Ovidio G. Assonitis production
a David Keith film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Line prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Operating cam
Asst cam
2d asst cam
Focus puller
Gaffer
Generator man
Still photog
Operating cam, 2d unit
Asst cam, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Sketch artist
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Propman
Const mgr
Chief buyer
Master painter
Prop supv
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward asst
Seamstress
MUSIC
Mus pub by
SOUND
Sd des
Prod sd
Sd boom op
Sd ed
Foley ed/Sd eff rec
Supv dial ed
Dolby sd consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff
Modelist
Spec eff tech
Spec eff eng
Spec eff elec
Spec eff carpenter
Eff consultant
Opt photo supv
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Chief make-up artist
Asst make-up
Chief hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Scr cont
Unit pub
Research
Asst to Mr. Assonitis
Prod secy
Prod asst
Wrangler
Transportation
Prod runner
Cont, 2d unit
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story The Colour Out of Space by H. P. Lovecraft (Amazing Stories, Sep 1927).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
SONGS
"On Daddy's Farm," song by Deborah H. Barkat, courtesy of Barket - Mac Kechnie. ["High School Confidential," written by Ron Hargrave and Jerry Lee Lewis, performed by Jerry Lee Lewis.]
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Farm
The Well
Release Date:
11 September 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 11 Sep 1987
Production Date:
began 29 Sep 1986
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
TWE Productions, Inc.
23 March 1987
PA392222
Physical Properties:
Sound
Sound in Dolby Stereo
Color
Filmed in Fuji Color
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Police arrive at a house where Carl Willis is out of control and take him into custody. He warns everybody about the water. Six month earlier, on a farm outside Tellico Plains, Tennessee, little Alice feeds chickens. Her mother, Frances Crane, calls Alice to the farmhouse. Mike, a muscular farmhand, digs a well. Nathan Crane’s son, Cyrus, pushes his stepbrother, Zachary “Zack” Hughes, into cow manure and starts a fight. As Nathan Crane breaks up the altercation, he slaps Zack for blaspheming, and Zack protests that Nathan is not his father. Realtor Charley Davidson stops to buy apples and squash from Nathan’s roadside produce stand, and repeats his offer to buy the Crane farm. That night, as Frances Crane goes to Zack and Alice’s room to say goodnight, her son is angry that his strict stepfather always takes Cyrus’s side. Frances pleads that Zack not be disrespectful, because Nathan put a roof over their heads after his father died and she wants him and his stepfather to get along. In bed, Frances lays a hand on Nathan’s shoulder, but he quotes a Biblical passage and rebukes her. She later walks to the bunkhouse and makes love with Mike, the farmhand. Rising wind and a banging shutter awaken Nathan. Concerned that his wife is gone, he runs outside and sees her with Mike near the bunkhouse. Zack watches as a fireball streaks over the house and lands nearby. He runs to a bright object pulsating in a ditch, then hurries next door to tell Dr. Alan Forbes that a meteor has landed. Cyrus and Nathan are already standing near the glowing orb when Zack returns with Dr. Forbes. The doctor ...

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Police arrive at a house where Carl Willis is out of control and take him into custody. He warns everybody about the water. Six month earlier, on a farm outside Tellico Plains, Tennessee, little Alice feeds chickens. Her mother, Frances Crane, calls Alice to the farmhouse. Mike, a muscular farmhand, digs a well. Nathan Crane’s son, Cyrus, pushes his stepbrother, Zachary “Zack” Hughes, into cow manure and starts a fight. As Nathan Crane breaks up the altercation, he slaps Zack for blaspheming, and Zack protests that Nathan is not his father. Realtor Charley Davidson stops to buy apples and squash from Nathan’s roadside produce stand, and repeats his offer to buy the Crane farm. That night, as Frances Crane goes to Zack and Alice’s room to say goodnight, her son is angry that his strict stepfather always takes Cyrus’s side. Frances pleads that Zack not be disrespectful, because Nathan put a roof over their heads after his father died and she wants him and his stepfather to get along. In bed, Frances lays a hand on Nathan’s shoulder, but he quotes a Biblical passage and rebukes her. She later walks to the bunkhouse and makes love with Mike, the farmhand. Rising wind and a banging shutter awaken Nathan. Concerned that his wife is gone, he runs outside and sees her with Mike near the bunkhouse. Zack watches as a fireball streaks over the house and lands nearby. He runs to a bright object pulsating in a ditch, then hurries next door to tell Dr. Alan Forbes that a meteor has landed. Cyrus and Nathan are already standing near the glowing orb when Zack returns with Dr. Forbes. The doctor suggests they avoid it until authorities investigate. The next morning, Charley Davidson asks Forbes not to call the Environmental Protection Agency, because a probe might affect real estate values. Dr. Forbes returns to the meteor and finds it rock hard. When Zack swears the object pulsated last night, Davidson accuses him of having too much imagination. That night, Zack sees the ball aglow again. Investigating, he watches as molten fluid pours out and the meteor dissolves. The next morning, Dr. Forbes tells Nathan Crane that the object was not a meteor after all, but human waste that dropped out of a commercial jet’s lavatory tank and froze on its way down. Everyone laughs except Zack. Later, with the well fixed (and Mike fired from his job), Nathan’s sprinklers water the field and his tractor sprays the apple orchard. In Tellico Plains, Charley Davidson sees a stranger, Carl Willis, driving a car marked “Tennessee Valley Authority” (TVA) and follows him to the Tellico Plains Inn. At a café, he introduces himself to Willis as the chairman of the Tellico Plains Chamber of Commerce and president of the town council. When he asks if Willis is scouting locations for a possible reservoir, the TVA agent claims his business is confidential. Davidson volunteers to chauffeur him around the area in his Cadillac, so Willis’s marked TVA car will not concern local residents. Meanwhile, Frances Crane picks larger-than-usual tomatoes and cabbages from the garden, but when she cuts into a cabbage in the kitchen, foul liquid sickens her, and a tomato spurts bloodlike fluid on her face. That night, Zack sneaks to the Forbes house to fill his canteen. Inside, Esther Forbes wears lingerie to tempt her husband, because she wants him to sell their house to Charley Davidson and move to a larger city. Meanwhile, Frances Crane complains that water from the new well makes food taste funny. A growth forms near the edge of her mouth where tomato juice splashed her. Zack and Alice refuse the water, but Nathan orders them to drink it. Later, one of the Crane horses attacks Cyrus, and as Frances treats barbed wire scratches on his bottom with liquid mercurachrome, she paints strange designs on his buttocks. Charley Davidson visits the Crane orchard, where Nathan, Zack, and Cyrus pack apples in crates and stack them on trucks. Nathan complains that the bank foreclosed on a neighbor’s farm, and asks if Davidson is hounding farmers to sell out because of rumors the TVA is building a dam nearby. When Davidson takes a bite of an apple, large worms squirm inside. Nathan slices other apples, and they are all the same. Elsewhere, in the chicken coop, Alice is attacked by chickens. Hearing her screams, Zack and Nathan run to her rescue. Gooey fluid pours out of a dead rooster. As Dr. Forbes dresses Alice’s wounds, Zack reports that a horse attacked Cyrus, but Nathan insists nothing is wrong. That night, as she knits a sock, Frances dazedly sews it into her left hand, forcing Nathan and Cyrus to take her upstairs to bed. When Zack brings Dr. Forbes to the house, Nathan claims nothing is wrong and stops him from seeing her. After the doctor leaves, Nathan hits Zack in the face. Outside, Dr. Forbes takes a water sample from the well in a specimen jar. The next day, as Willis surveys property, he stops at the Crane farmhouse for a drink of water. Frances attacks him with a knife, but Nathan grabs her arm, sends her upstairs, and orders Willis off the property. Meanwhile, at the Alex B. Shipley M.D. Regional Public Health Facility in Knoxville, Tennessee, Dr. Forbes leaves his water sample with an employee, but gives a fake name and address. At the Crane farmhouse, Zack recoils from his mother’s strange behavior, and throws the food she made for Alice into the toilet. That night, Nathan ties Frances to the bed, claiming that God is punishing them for her infidelity, but she escapes after he falls asleep. Hearing a noise downstairs, Zack discovers that his mother has transformed into a demon. As she attacks him, Nathan intercedes and locks her in the cellar. When Dr. Forbes returns to Knoxville, the laboratory technician introduces him to Dr. Becker, who warns that his family is in danger because an unstable, unknown element in the water is altering its molecular structure. Dr. Forbes telephones the Tellico Plains Inn and leaves a message for Carl Willis to meet him at Nathan Crane’s farm at nine o’clock that evening. After Forbes telephones his wife, Esther, she flags down Davidson outside the Crane farm and tells him her husband has something important to report about the water sample. She is worried that it might interfere with selling their house. Davidson and Esther decide to talk to Frances, but as they approach the house, the Cranes’ dogs attack. She runs away and Davidson escapes down the outdoor steps of the cellar. As dogs maul Esther Forbes to death, the demonic Frances eviscerates Davidson with her claws. When Zack returns home, he gives Alice clean water from Dr. Forbes’s house and food from the store. He goes into the cellar to see his mother, but she is gone. Upstairs, Nathan and Cyrus, both hideously disfigured, attacks him and Alice. Breaking away from Nathan, Zack knocks Cyrus unconscious with a baseball bat and hides Alice in a closet. When Dr. Forbes arrives, Nathan knocks him unconscious and drags him into an empty room. Zack comes downstairs, and as Nathan attacks him, Carl Willis arrives and stabs the crazed father with a pitchfork. Smoke billows up through the floorboards as the house begins to collapse. Zack and Willis run upstairs to save Alice. As Willis carries Alice to his car, Zack goes into the cellar and discovers that his mother has turned into a gelatinous blob. Willis pulls him to safety moments before the house collapses and sinks into the ground. Five months later, 29 January 1987, Carl Willis, having been captured by police after suffering a “nervous attack,” watches on television as Professor George Link assures the public that the Crane farm has been sealed off and decontaminated, and there is nothing to worry about. However, at the farm, there are strange lights, trees topple, and molten fluid rises to flood the ground.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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