Curses, Rip-offs, and Other Demons

curse4

Written by Bryce Waller

Quiz time. What movie might I be describing?

Someone who considers themselves a “non-believer” in the world of magic, demons, etc. is forced to believe because of an ancient curse placed on their lives. The curse is placed on a particular item you possess, and the only way to rid yourself of the curse is to pass off this item to a willing taker.

Sound familiar? It should, but let me finish.

This particular movie comes down to a last-second, Hail Mary distribution of this item to another unlucky soul- and with only seconds to spare. In the end, someone dies and is taken to hell. That sucks in my opinion, but Tucker Max might welcome this fate.

If we don't look at him, maybe it'll go away.

If we don’t look at it, maybe it’ll go away.

Now that you know the details, movie lovers everywhere might guess Sam Raimi’s 2009 film, Drag me to Hell. You would be wrong…sort of. Sam Raimi made his name off of his cult-classic Evil Dead trilogy, but shortly after completing the first part of the trilogy, Evil Dead, Raimi claims he began working on the script for Drag me to Hell, with the movie entering theaters almost three decades later. But the story for Drag me to Hell was written in the mid-1950s by Charles Bennett.

That’s right, Raimi stole the idea for Drag Me to Hell off the 1957 Horror classic, Curse of the Demon.

curseJacques Tourneur directed Curse of the Demon fifty-two years before Raimi disgraced the silver screen with his sloppy seconds version of this amazing film. I know that many Raimiites will begin arguing my point without even watching Curse, and that is fine. You may remain ignorant of the serious lack of originality present in current Hollywood.

I will throw a disclaimer here saying that not every second of Drag Me to Hell is exactly like Curse; but I will say that the overall plot is eerily similar, as well as more trivial details. Here are some quick examples.

Sausage fingers

Sausage fingers

Antagonist-

Curse of the Demon: Warlock

Drag Me to Hell: Witch

Protagonist-

Curse of the Demon: Unbelieving doctor

Drag Me to Hell: Unbelieving loan officer

Problem

Curse of the Demon: Doctor possesses ancient piece of text that draws a demon to murder them and take their souls to hell.

Drag Me to Hell: Loan officer possesses button that draws the gates of hell to open under your feet and drag you to hell. Get the title now?

Solution-

Curse of the Demon: passed on cursed, ancient text to willing taker
Drag Me to Hell: Pass on cursed item to willing taker… [spoiler] NOT!

What do you mea- Oh.

What do you mea- Oh.

Get the idea now? I hope so. Raimi is still a somewhat talented director/producer, I do still believe
people are capable of producing relatively original ideas. I just don’t think it happens that often anymore. In fact, I would say that 95% of the movies we watch, and sometimes love, are rip-offs of a movie from an earlier time. I guarantee you that if you find me an original screenplay not based on a book, I could find the movie where the screenwriters ripped off their idea.

The more classic films I watch, the more enlightened I become to the fact that originality is truly special and should be appreciated if you are lucky enough to find it in our day and age.

"So 'Curse' and 'Night' are the same thing? Ahhh...."

“So ‘Curse’ and ‘Night’ are the same thing? Ahhh….”

Final thought- if someone is going to rip off a classic film, all I ask is that they at least admit it and give credit to the original film and it’s writers and directors. There’s hardly any room for originality these days in a sense, yet to at least nod your head in respect to the films that planted the seed only feels right.

And that’s regardless of the genre.

Kinda like that one movie that has the good-looking California boy go undercover to infiltrate a gang of high-speed adrenaline junkies to find out whether or not they’re a bunch of thieves, only to become one of them, fall for a woman in the gang, then let the leader go.

curse8

 ‘Point Break’


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