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This Part in Wes Craven’s Awful ‘Cursed’ is Hilarious

Cursed Werewolf

February 25, 2005 was an exciting day for us horror fans. Wes Craven’s (R.I.P.) first film in five years (his first since 2000’s Scream 3) was finally being released after years of delays. Little did we know what awaited us at the theater. You see, Cursed was supposed to be released in 2003, but producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein repeatedly demanded changes to the plot be made, leading to extensive re-shoots (you can read about the original version of the film here). Cast members such as Skeet Ulrich, Mandy Moore, Heather Langenkamp and Corey Feldman had to be replaced due to scheduling conflicts during a year-long production delay. The Weinsteins then proceeded to fire make-up artist Rick “An American Werewolf in London” Baker, filling in many of the werewolf shots with a CGI creation. As if that weren’t bad enough, the film was then edited down from an R rating to a more box office-friendly PG-13 rating. It was a miserable experience for many people, especially Craven, who found the entire ordeal to be “completely disrespectful.” All of that tampering didn’t help the film. It was critically panned and grossed a mere $29.6 million worldwide on a $38 million production budget.

What the Weinstein brothers did to Cursed is pretty much unforgivable, and remains one of the biggest reasons why some horror fans are loathe to trust major studios with quality horror films. It’s a shame too, because the pedigree behind Cursed is rather impressive. Not only do you have Wes Craven directing, but he re-teamed with his Scream and Scream 2 partner Kevin Williamson (who, due to scheduling conflicts, was unable to return for Scream 3) to make the film. Then of course you had legendary make-up artist Rick Baker and an insane cast comprised of Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, Shannon Elizabeth, Milo Ventimiglia, Portia de Rossi and Judy fucking Greer.

While studio tampering and re-shoots aren’t always an indicator of a low-quality film, it was for CursedCursed is not a good movie. Some would argue that it’s one of Craven’s worst efforts, but somehow it still manages to entertain (which is a big reason why it ranks as number 17 in my ranking of all 26 of Craven’s films). Looking back on the film 12 years later, you really can see glimpses of what Craven was trying to accomplish with the film. Our own Daniel Kurland put it best: he was trying to reinvigorate the werewolf sub-genre just like he reinvigorated slashers with Scream. None of it ever works, mind you, but the film is still a schlocky good time if you’re in the right mood.

Cursed came out two days before my 16th birthday, and I was really excited to go see a Wes Craven movie in theaters (it would be the first of his films I was able to see on the big screen). After having seen much of his filmography on VHS and DVD, I was finally going to see a Craven film in theaters, and you know what? I enjoyed it. I was aware that what I was watching wasn’t a “good” movie, but I had fun with it and I was in the right frame of mind. Whenever I need a good laugh I always look up the below clip in which Ricci’s Ellie baits Greer’s villainess with some harsh digs. It’s one of the sole laugh-out-loud moments in the film and it’s glorious. The werewolf flipping off Ricci is the one thing people remember from Cursed, but it’s Ricci’s delivery of “bad skin” that always gets me going. It’s a stupid bit of dialogue in an even more stupid film, but I can’t help but love it.

What do you think of Wes Craven’s Cursed? Have the 12 years since the film’s release been kind to it? Do you think it gets a bad rap? Or is it indeed one of Craven’s worst films? Let us know in the comments below!


76 Comments
  • James

    My god what a terrible, terrible movie.

  • Matt

    I’m one of the three people in the world who actually liked this movie. Not great, but I thought if was fun.

    • I guess I’m one of the other three! I still think it’s a bad movie, but I do think it’s fun.

      • Jinx, The Loose Cannon

        LMAO i guess I’m the last of the 3. i really liked the movie lmao

    • J Jett

      Matt i liked it too! 🙂

    • I make five, so things are looking up.

  • Hack Snyder

    It’s a shame we’ll never get to see the director’s cut. This and Deadly Friend were completely ruined by the suits.

  • DS Ullery

    I’m a guy who has defended movies in Craven’s filmography that other people absolutely loathe ( I enjoyed Deadly Friend and Shocker is near the top of my list of personal favorites from the director), but Cursed is one film of his I just do not like. I would say it represents his worst moment, but there’s the skeleton of a better film in there and either way it’s still better than The Hills Have Eyes II (the 1980’s film). Now THAT movie was a complete disaster.

  • I remember Cursed being dumb fun. I saw it the once upon its release, angry it had taken so long (and had been butchered in the process). I do remember the werewolf shooting the bird. 🙂

    The original cut is basically the “lost” Craven film. I have faith one day someone will get the license and release it. It happened for Nightbreed. The original version has to be better than what we got…right? Surely.

  • J Jett

    i actually like (and own on “unrated DVD”) this movie! LOL. it’s silly fun and i love the cast especially Ricci, Judy Greer (although i think Greer was very miscast in the role). i would love to have seen the original film/footage Wes filmed before most of it was re-written/re-cut/etc. i remember (either in early trailers or something) seeing completely different footage (of creatures/events/etc.) for this movie that was never in the film. oh and that scene mentioned above with Judy’s werewolf character flipping Ricci off was really funny.

    • pablitonizer

      It’s really fun. Plus, I love the small gay-thing that happens there for some reason hahaha

      • J Jett

        definitely! i think they handled Milo’s character’s whole coming out/bully thing really well. i was rooting for his character which is rare for me when a character is a bully.

  • shane-o-mac

    I liked cursed but to wonder what would have been with an R rating and the other cast

  • Graham

    It’s mindless fun if, as you say, you’re in the right mood. Glimpses of potential, but ultimately a messy, unsatisfying movie. But yeah, I think the werewolf flipping off Christina Ricci is definitely the high point (low point?) of the whole thing, and it is indeed glorious.

  • Dee-abolik

    Agree with the majority here, it’s not good, but fun. But the dog turning into a werewolf always irritated me…

  • cduns

    I had fun watching this movie. It’s not a movie I’ve ever revisited since seeing it for the first time a couple years ago, but it’s a fun werewolf movie. Definitely could have been something great, but it’s by no means as terrible as I’ve seen some describe it.

  • abyx34

    I liked it, still more entertaining than The Babadook 😀

  • zombie84_41

    not as funny and terrible as my soul to take that movie kills me everytime i watch it

    • Oof. That movie is SO BAD.

      • zombie84_41

        very very bad

    • Abandoned_Being

      I’ve seen My Soul but I can’t remember any of it. Maybe because the movie is soo bad that I completely erased it out of my brain.

      • zombie84_41

        LMFAO ya that’s pretty much it. I remember it being god awful

  • REC03

    here is some behind the scenes of the original filming when Skeet Ulrich was the other lead https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV2m4QPBtU8

    • J Jett

      REC03, thanx for that video! it’s interesting IMO how different Ricci’s look is in that footage compared to the final version of the film. maybe her character in the original version was more girl next door/down to earth whereas in the final version her character was a part of the fast Hollywood Biz?

  • Stefan Heikel

    A classic example of “great concept, poor execution”, a la The Village and The Purge. I would pay money to see the original cut get released, if nothing else to see the Mandy Moore opening death scene.

  • J Jett

    oh and this is one of the only Jesse Eisenberg movies where i can stand him (the other film being AMERICAN ULTRA).

    • AlsDisciple

      I haven’t seen Cursed, but I was thinking any film featuring Jesse Eisenberg getting mauled by a wolf (were or otherwise) can’t be all bad.

      • J Jett

        LOL. that is true AlsDisciple! 🙂

    • Matt

      J, you didn’t like Zombieland?

      • J Jett

        Matt, the only character in ZOMBIELAND i liked was Woody’s character. i hated (SO MUCH!) Jesse’s, Emma’s and especially Abigail’s characters. i couldn’t stand Abigail until i saw her in the excellent zombie/drama MAGGIE. after that film i became a huge Breslin fan. did you see MAGGIE? even Arnold Schwarzenegger (who i normally don’t like watching in films) was great in it! Breslin’s performance in it was amazing.

        • Matt

          I thought the characters were pretty good all the way around in Zombieland, but that’s cool if you don’t agree. As for Maggie, I really liked that one and I have it on Blu Ray. (Big Arnie fan here.) That movie takes a lot of shit, but I thought it was very well done.

  • Abandoned_Being

    A very bad film directed not by Wes Craven but by the Weinstein Brothers. Who have no clue what a horror film is and should stay out it for our benefit.

  • Judge Satchmo

    You know the thing about a studio’s eyes? They’re lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a dolls eyes. They don’t seem to be livin, until they ruin your long awaited movie. Then those black eyes roll over green and the theater fills with that terrible high pitch screaming of fans and critics, and then they all come together and rip the movie to pieces.

    • Abandoned_Being

      You’ve been watching Jaws a lot lately, haven’t you?

      • Judge Satchmo

        Do you not?

  • Elizabeth

    Cursed broke my heart. I’ve always loved werewolf movies but it’s seems like Hollywood is almost incapable of making a good one anymore.

    • Satanzilla

      There really are only a handful of truly good ones anyway. The Howling is sort of borderline. I like the original Wolf Man, AAWWIL, and Dog Soldiers. I also like Wolfen but I consider that to be more of a mystical movie than a werewolf movie per se.

      Someone just has to make an asskickingly good werewolf movie. There’s so much potential there.

      • Elizabeth

        One of my favorite werewolf movies is The Company of Wolves, but that’s more of a fairy tale than horror.

        • David Andrew Baros

          It is a horror film in a fairy tale sense.

          • Elizabeth

            Dark fantasy, maybe? It definitely has some horrific elements. The Angela Carter stories it’s based on definitely do. But I thought it hearkened back to the old fairy tales where toes were cut off and children baked in ovens. And Angela Lansbury was slightly terrifying, which is something you don’t normally say.

      • oh_riginal

        No love for Ginger Snaps? I was late on that one, having only finally seen it two years ago, but I found it surprisingly fun. Modern werewolf movies almost always let me down.

        • Satanzilla

          There are things about GS I love but it then gets caught up in a typical convoluted Hollywood ending (yes I know it wasn’t made in Hollywood). The last plot point is way too frenetic and with each twist and turn the ties that connected me to the characters and the story get looser and looser. When you think about all the truly great horror movies, they are simple stories clearly told and told well.

          It’s a movie I •loved• in the first half hour to 45 minutes but by the time it’s over it feels like it was ten hours long.

          It’s much the same way I felt about Insidious. The movie rocked my world until those fucking investigators showed up and started hitting us over the head with a 90 pound salmon’s worth of exposition (exposition ruins horror because it quantifies the unknown). Then even worse was the whole boardgame’s worth of goals for the dad to perform and I was like OH FUCK ME YOU RUINED SOMETHING EXCELLENT.

    • Evan3

      Check out Dog Soldiers. It’s brutal and modern.

      • Elizabeth

        It’s definitely a good movie.

        • Evan3

          In general, I agree with your point. I love werewolves so much that I (no joke) got suspended in Kindergarten for pretending to be a werewolf. So it’s disappointing that you can count the number of truly great werewolf films with one finger (and one hand if you are generous enough to include stuff like Howling, Dog Soldiers, or Lon Cheney’s wolf man – all of which are good but not great). Why is it so hard to make a damned great werewolf film?

          • Elizabeth

            That totally cracks me up because I got in trouble in the first grade for pretending to be a leopard (and not just any leopard–the QUEEN leopard). It’s what my parents got for taking me to the zoo.

          • Evan3

            Your parents deserved it! Years later, I got detention for reenacting the chest-burster scene in my drama class.

  • chainsaw autotune

    maybe the worse part of this movie-
    38 million production budget.
    unreal.

    • If they wouldn’t have taken 2.5 years to get it made that budget probably would have been cut in half.

      • chainsaw autotune

        lol wutta mess.

  • David Andrew Baros

    I enjoyed it! It wasn’t all that bad. Don’t take it so seriously!

  • Travis

    This movie is such a guilty pleasure of mine. As bad as it is, it’s a fun stupid popcorn type of movie. But to me, it was loads better than the trash My Soul to Take. And that says a lot

    • 100% agreed. I paid like $15 to see MSTT in 3D and it’s one of the few films I’ve walked out of actually wanting my money back.

  • Keith

    I always felt like the first 20 minutes or so were solid. It’s after Shannon Elizabeth’s body is thrown back and the accident scene ends that I felt like it fell apart. Also Mya’s parking lot scene is pretty great

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    not very funny seeing out of context ;/

  • RKSDooM

    I’ve never seen this movie, but I read somewhere that in the original version of the film Scott Baio is the werewolf, is that right?

    As in, Scott Baio is playing himself as a werewolf?

    Because I always thought that sounded hilariously awesome.

    • Valak

      He is in the movie playing himself…

    • That is correct. He still pops up in the final product, but it’s just a cameo. Would have loved to have seen the original version!

  • Saturn

    Although it’s far from Wes’ best, it’s also far from his worst.
    I actually had fun with it, but would like to see the non PG13 version.

  • sliceanddice

    we’re werwolves not swearwolves!

  • BOOGIEMAN

    haha, nice article … I’ve seen this movie at least three times and rated it 7/10 on imdb back in 2011 … I don’t mind PG-13, the fun part in slashers is in suspense which actor is going to be dispatched next and guessing who the villain is, not the amount of gore.

    • Yeah but it’s also the issue that from a technical standpoint, the movie isn’t just very good. The lack of gore is lamentable, but as a whole it feels very slapped together.

  • Barry El Beardo

    I really enjoy the R rated version of Cursed. Its just such a shame that we’ll never get to see the original footage.

    I remember being at uni and reading about the werewolf projection Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson were working on…it was sounding like a werewolf spin on The Lost Boys by way of the tongue-in-cheek humour and self acknowledgment of Scream. THAT could’ve been amazing

  • Harley Mitchel Dirk

    I haven’t seen the movie in years but I remember this scene. I still chuckle at the thought of it.

  • tbaio

    Wow. Despite all the issues in making the movie (which I was not aware of), this was still a very good effort……very entertaining. With that neck-biting scene, I’d have never thought it was PG-13. Didn’t matter though. Reading this reminds me of World War Z; that film also had production issues, was re-cut to PG-13 & still kicked ass.

    • Erik Matsen

      World War Z sucked A$$ is you are a fan of the book. Completely different in almost every way. Seems like Max Brooks just needed money or something, so he sold off the title rights of his book for a shitty movie.

  • lgb

    I think if they had let Wes make the film that he wanted to make, it’d of been fine. Maybe not great, but still a good movie. Once you cut it to PG13 and lost Rick Baker though, you can’t really come back from that.

  • Shawn Morrissey

    It’s not without its charm, but it’s pretty bad. Just the same, regardless of whether Craven got to make the film he wanted or not, he was following savage subgenre competition in Ginger Snaps and Dog Soldiers.

  • Simon Allen

    This movie is pretty bad but in a very watchable way .
    I tend to wonder if it harmed some of the careers of those involved?
    Christina Ricci’s kind of went down the drain and she’s never really recovered and the fantastic Judy Greer seemed to fade for a bit before finally and thankfully bouncing back .
    Oh and the werewolves are shockingly awful .

  • It’s a awful horror film, but an enjoyable comedy.

  • Evan3

    I too saw this in the movies and did it ever suck the life out of me (I had a penchant for seeing Wes Craven’s shitty films in theater I guess. I also saw My Soul to Take). You are 100% correct that the werewolf flipping her off is the only thing I remember of this shitshow.

    @Trace – what happened to your beautiful hair from your old profile pic?

    • Lololol I didn’t have much more hair in my old one! I just got a hair cut. XD

      • Evan3

        How convenient that you mention needing a haircut in an article about werewolves…

  • Kaijudo

    It gets a bad rap. I saw this movie for the first time about 2 years ago, I was in the right mood for it and I had a lot of fun with it. I liked the nods to the orignal Wolf Man movie, the funny dialog, I thought the Werewolf looked awesome even though I’m not a fan of CG Werewolves. The movie had a few good jump scares, the scene with Mya in the elevator was so good and scary, it felt like a real wild animal was on the loose.

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