31 Days of Guilty Pleasures – ‘Cursed’

Jason McDonald

A few years ago I did a daily countdown to Halloween that featured some of my favorite scares from 31 different horror movies.  This year I’m bringing back the feature, but this time we’re taking a look at some of my favorite guilty pleasures.

There’s no rhyme or reason to how these movies are being listed, so the placement on the countdown doesn’t denote any sort of ranking.  Also, my definition of guilty pleasure is a movie that ranges from either being not very good to outright bad, but there’s something about it that still makes it endearing to watch.

For my first entry we’re looking at a movie that got me through some tough times: “Cursed.”  I had seen “Cursed” around the time it originally came out in 2004, but had completely forgotten about it.  Then a couple of years ago it wound up on Netflix and for some reason I wound up watching it whenever I had a sick day or was feeling hungover.  There was something completely harmless about the movie that made me just feel better while watching it.

“Cursed” is an interesting examination in how a good idea can quickly spiral out of control.  “Cursed” was Wes Craven’s directorial follow up to “Scream 3” so horror fans were eager to see what he had up his sleeve for the werewolf genre.  The film was also written by his “Scream” collaborator Kevin Williamson.  But despite the talent behind the movie, the film would enter into a development hell like no other.

The film was notorious for having producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein constantly meddling in it.  They were ordering re-shoots, demanding that the movie be cut down from an R rating in order to get a PG-13 rating, and having things like the whole ending being redone.  As a result the film had entire characters and plot threads cut out of the film.  Originally, “Scream” star Skeet Ulrich would’ve had a major role in the movie, but he was cut out along with other notable actors like Omar Epps, Mandy Moore, Corey Feldman, and Heather Langenkamp.

However, one of the craziest aspects of the Weinstein meddling was that they opted to kick legendary makeup effects artist Rick Baker off of the project. In their infinite wisdom they decided that the guy was who was responsible for such iconic werewolf creations like the one from “An American Werewolf in London” wouldn’t be able to compete with CGI.

A few years ago Rick Baker tweeted out an image of what he intended the Judy Greer werewolf to look like.

Cursed Rick baker

That thing looks utterly fantastic.  So if they decided to ditch that concept for a CGI one, surely it must’ve looked significantly better. Right?  Ha. Haha. Ha. Oh, no it did not. Check out how the Greer-wolf looked in the film.

Even by 2005 standards these CGI effects look terrible. Keep in mind this is the same year as films like “King Kong”, “War of the Worlds”, and “Serenity.”  While these weren’t the greatest displays of CGI, it showed that good CGI was possible.

Probably one of my other favorite factoids about this movie is that Christina Ricci’s character works on the “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn”; however, because of all the production delays, by the time the film came out Kilborn had left the show and had been replaced by the superior Craig Ferguson. It wasn’t even a recent change either.  The movie was released in February 2005 and Kilborn had left his show in August 2004.

Also one of the plot threads in the movie is that Scott Baio is a guest on Kilborn’s show.  Who has Scott Baio as a guest on their late night show in 2005?  What a weird pull.

Anyways, “Cursed” is a wonderful mess that is fun to watch now, but must’ve certainly been a sore point for Wes Craven for a long time.  There was so much chaos behind the scenes that I wish someone would make a documentary out of its production.  It’s really interesting to read about how this mess of a film came to be and then watching the final product because then you really start to see the seams where this thing was stitched together.

If you’re looking for a werewolf movie with a laughable bite, I couldn’t recommend a better one.


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