Ah, curses. We’ve all given them and received a few ourselves, but it seems that whenever I want something bad to befall one of my many, many enemies, it doesn’t ever happen. Probably because I’m not using strong enough gazelle urine, a popular ingredient in making curse potions. Hexes, spells, dark prayers, execrations – call them whatever you will, but wishing ill will upon someone through the invocation of a supernatural power has a unique place in cinematic history. Inside the horror genre, there are more than a few examples, but in the grand world of moviedom, curses aren’t used nearly as often as they maybe should be.
Still, we here at FSR were able to compile a list of 8 cursed characters from film, so grab your voodoo doll, say a quick prayer under your breath, and trip your boss when he comes looking for those spreadsheets you were supposed to do. After all, real life violence often works better than just hoping Beelzebub will smite your foes for you.
Beast from Beauty and The Beast (1991)
The Crime: During a cold, cold, super freezing night, a French prince denies shelter to a beggar woman because she’s not nearly as sexy as he’d like. Turns out she’s a super-powerful, gorgeous enchantress. Big mistake.
The Curse: The enchantress wants to teach the prince a lesson about judging books by their cover, so she turns him into a physical representation of his beastly cruel personality and, for some reason, his servants into adorable singing household objects.
The Remedy: The Beast eventually falls in love with an odd young woman (she likes to read! what woman loves reading?!), dances with her in his ballroom, and gets her to says she loves him in return before the last petal falls on an enchanted rose. Further proof that either the prince learned his lesson about appearances, or that having a ton of money makes up for being ugly.
Leon Corledo from The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)
The Crime: Being born.
The Curse: Apparently, since Leon’s mother was raped in jail by a beggar, a spirit that shouldn’t have been born entered into his body, causing him to turn into a wolf at night. It also causes him to thirst for squirrel blood.
The Remedy: Being shot by a silver bullet. Unfortunately, through no real fault of his own, Leon is tormented his entire life, has to deal psychologically with the burden of being a dangerous monster and begs for death.
Asaka Reiko from Ringu (1998)
The Crime: Watching a video tape in order to write a news story about the teenage craze of watching a video tape.
The Curse: Seeing the images recorded on the tape causes Asaka, and many others in the film, to get a creepy phone call and die a week later in a horrid twist of fear.
The Remedy: After a harrowing journey attempting to save the daughter of a vicious psychic by freeing her spirit from the well, it turns out that the only thing she needed to do in order to stop the curse from killing her was to make a copy of the tape and pass it on to someone else. Sadly, copying the tape is no way to avoid being cursed to be remade by Americans.
Dennis Alan from The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
The Crime: Alan is trying to secure a native Haitian drug for a major pharmaceutical company (for fun and profit), so he pisses off the local voodoo master enough to make him drive a nail through his scrotum.
The Curse: Apparently being nailed in the groin and hallucinating because someone owns your soul isn’t enough – Alan has a yellow powder blown in his face, is buried by the locals and wakes up a zombie, partially at the mercy of his voodoo master.
The Remedy: Through use of inexplicable telekinetic powers, Alan nails his enemy in the crotch and destroys a bunch of urns. Thus, he and the other zombies are free at last, free at last. Plus, for good measure, they burn a guy alive.
Hal from Shallow Hal (2001)
The Crime: Being a complete dick to the fairer sex and judging people based on their appearance. Are we sensing a theme here?
The Curse: In what might actually be a blessing instead of a curse, awesome self-help guru Tony Robbins plagues Hal to see people’s inner beauty as a manifestation of outer beauty. Thus, all of the hot ladies he meets actually just have really hot personalities.
The Remedy: Hearing someone say, “Shallow Hal wants a gal.” Not all remedies can be exciting.
Aunt Felice from The Kiss (1988)
The Crime: Being a total bitch.
The Curse: It’s actually unclear whether Felice was a total bitch before or after having a snake voodoo beast invade her body/soul, but she was a fashion model so we can assume as much. The beast torments her, making her seduce her dead sister’s husband, kill a few people and attempt to give the curse to her niece.
The Remedy: Passing the curse along before the demon (and its host body) dies by kissing your niece.
Yuan Chen from Seventh Curse (1986)
The Crime: Being a hero and saving a young woman from The Worm Tribe.
The Curse: Excruciating pain in the legs until a vein bursts, spilling blood everywhere. When the seventh vein bursts, the accursed will die.
The Remedy: Honestly, as confusing as this cult movie (now with Chow Yun Fat!), it’s difficult to tell whether or not strangling a baby puppet, battling with kung-fu monks, messing with ancient ashes, or stealing an idol’s eyeball is what makes everything all better. If someone could tell me, that would be great because my legs have been hurting lately.
Billy Halleck from Thinner (1996)
The Crime: Being an asshole lawyer who tries to run over old gypsy women while being fellated.
The Curse: It turns out that almost killing a woman will almost always piss off her father, and when that father happens to know gypsy curses, things get bad. The old man touches Billy, says the word, “thinner,” and fat old Billy starts to lose weight. Which is fine until he can’t stop.
The Remedy: The sole person that can remove the curse is the gypsy who put it on Billy in the first place, but he can’t just remove it. He has to transfer it to someone else by instilling the curse inside a pie and allowing Billy to get someone to eat it – leaving the ultimate question of whether to die with dignity or to cause intense pain and death for someone else in order to save your own life.
What are your favorite movie curses?