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The Career of Tim Curry: Uncovering The Curse
Matt - 11/02/00

Tim Curry's very name sends shivers down our collective spine. Its not his fault though, it really isn't. Curry's a brilliant, heavily acclaimed actor. He can take the worst idea for a movie and turn it into something watchable. The unfortunate part is, he has to do that an awful lot. See, Tim's one of those actors who always seems to land the most ridiculous roles imaginable. Hence, the shivers. We hear the name Tim Curry, and a flurry of really fucked up movies come into our heads. Again, it ain't his fault. He's just cursed. Yes folks, its the CURRY CURSE. To prove it, let's run through some of Curry's finest roles throughout the past 30 years and find out why he's not finding himself opposite Meg Ryan in any love stories...

CONGO: Poor Tim, he finally finds himself in a role that doesn't include being a witch, transvestite, or alien...and it just so happens that its in the absolute worst movie of all time. Tim is cast as the shady pseudo-scientist out to exploit his compatriots into landing a load of diamonds from an alleged secret mine deep in the jungle. To complete his quest, he must put up with not only the corniest dialogue ever written, but quite simply, the most inane script ever drawn up. Some examples: a friendly gorilla who talks using Nintendo-esque peripherals and has a quasi-lover relationship with its trainer, and a scene where people shoot down enemy missles using flare guns in midair. As if this isn't enough award-winning material for you, consider the movie's answer to a main villain: a bunch of poorly computer-animated grey gorillas! Yes, GREY GORILLAS = TICKET SALES EN MASSE. Poor Tim never had a chance with this one. I've read a lot of movie reviews in my day, but never have I seen the reviewers speak out in unison as I have when they talk about how bad Congo is. As for our hero, he meets a grim fate in this flick by getting punched, beat on, and subsequently eaten by the gorillas. My feeling is that Tim himself demanded his death be put in the script, sort of a justification and personal penance for signing on for a movie that even Joel Siegel refuses to rave about.

The Curry Factor: Unfortunately, the no-name main cast and heap of animatronic/computer generated monkeys and hippos throw Tim into the backseat, so he's really competing with Ernie Hudson for screen time. On the fact alone that both Curry and Hudson, true X-E icons, have been in a movie so awful together, you should go out and rent it. But it won't make you fall in love with Tim all over again. He's just gotten too chunky.

CLUE: This is one of the few movies that puts Tim in a good role, but also manages to remain a great flick. Based on the then-super popular board game, we've got everyone from Curry to Martin Mull to Lesley Ann Warren assuming their roles for a little murder mystery in a spooky mansion back in the 20s. But Tim's our main star, and despite a strong supporting cast, carries the movie on his pudgy shoulders with a stressed accent and repeated lines about the demographics of those who eat monkey brains. The movie, which didn't fare too well in theatres, was still heavily regarded by critics and fans alike, and is often shown on cable television to this day.

THE CURRY FACTOR: All of the cast are great in this one, but its Curry that really holds down the fort. I'd consider this his best pure role. I say pure, because most of his roles are ones like below...

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW: By GOD. This is one of my all-time faves, a movie that leaves me with more to say than any one little blurb could possibly contain. So until I do a full article, here's what you need to know: Curry portrays Dr. Frank N. Furter, a bisexual, transvestite alien who parades around in his underwear with a Boss tattoo, sings showtunes, creates musclemen for his sexual pleasure, and eats people who piss him off. Is it any wonder its such a cult classic?

I first saw this movie about six years ago. I had the flu, and while I layed dead awake and sick around 4 AM, those magnificent lips came on the screen. After that, there was no turning back. This is the movie that made me a Curry fan, and I've sung RHPS songs while drunk more times and to more people than I can count. Richard O'Brien put together what has to be one of those most unique, creative films ever made. Almost 30 years old now, the film's loyal fanbase is still going strong, and growing everyday.

Meanwhile, Curry does all he can to downplay the success of his role here. In countless interviews, he's balked at the film's continued success, especially at the hardcore fans. Don't get upset though, if you were trying to establish yourself as one of the great natural actors of our time, you'd also probably try to shoot down that old role you did back in '75 that entailed you singing a song about how you wanted to make a Charles Atlas clone to have sex with.

THE CURRY FACTOR: Its all Curry. Sure, everyone loves Riff Raff and Columbia, but make no mistake about it, there wouldn't be too much left if you took out Tim's song numbers and leather jackets. Its a shame that he's so embarassed of it nowadays, but you'd be pretty bitter too if every sexually confused 16-year old guy wearing nail polish came up to you and asked to sing a duet of I Can Make You A Man.

SINGIN' CURRY FILES: CLICK HERE to hear Tim's rendition of Sweet Transvesite, in all his sexually ambigious glory! (3 MB)

THE WORST WITCH: We've talked about this one recently, so you should know by now...this is just unreal. Tim Curry plays a warlock who's worshipped at a little girls' school for upcoming witches, and he uses his magic power in the most absurd way you can dream of: by languishing through a seemingly endless music video while wearing a hang-glider and using stuffed animal hearts and tamborines as props.

When all's said and done, its perhaps the most grotesque thing you'll ever see. The movie masquerades as a Halloween special meant for the kiddies, but even that would require at least an iota of sense to the plot. You'll swear that The Worst Witch actually goes out of its way not to make sense. Proof? It also stars Charlotte Rae as a pink-haired bad witch who dances around the forest singing about evil for no apparent reason until she's turned into a toad. When she reverts to her subhuman state, Charlotte Rae playing a different role scares her into submission simply be standing up. Meanwhile, Curry wins the heart of everyone by letting the starring young witch latch on to his 50' cape for a friendly fly.

THE CURRY FACTOR: In truth, Curry is only on-screen for a few minutes of this picture. But the fact is, those few minutes are some of the most mesmorizing, amazing, absolutely asinine minutes you'll ever see. Trust me on this one. For more information, check out the Worst Witch X-E special.

SINGIN' CURRY FILES: CLICK HERE to The song you've heard about - the song you know about - the song you fucking FEAR. The song that will change the way you look at the world...forever. Anything Can Happen...On Halloween. (4.6 MB)

At this point, you might be thinking...'yeah, these are weird roles, but cursed? Its not like he's being cast as a giant horse-like satan with three-foot horns or anything.' Haha, joke's on you, folks.

LEGEND: I really can't think of a thing to say that'll make the point any clearer than the pics above. Tim Curry plays Darkness in this tale of magic and wonder back from 1985. He's dressed like a devil goat. Amazing. Ten years of hating RHPS, and Ridley Scott manages to convince Tim to do another role that'll mark him a weirdo for life. Hasn't Tim learned anything from movies like Star Wars? Hey, I want you to tell me who played Greedo, Teebo, and Amanaman. Can't? There's a good reason. Monsters should be cast by people who can't get their real faces on the screen. Not Tim Curry. Oddly enough, its a good movie with a big following, and Curry's not the only one who got sucked into its web. It also stars Tom Cruise, who was way too young at the time to really know any better.

STEPHEN KING'S IT: There he is! Pennywise! This is one of Tim's most famous roles, and again, another notch onto the Curry Curse's belt. As great as Tim was in this made-for-television movie adaption of King's classic book, you've really got to wonder just how many clean roles the poor guy was gonna land after all this shit. Honestly, look at the guy's resume. There's some pretty serious stigmata going on there. I'm sure Tim can pull off the heartwarming Tom Hanks roles as good as the next guy, but everytime you see him, you can't help but imagine his past roles as transsexuals, diamond-chasers, or in this case, a particularly evil clown.

The movie also starred a few other cursed celebrities, namely John Ritter and Harry Anderson, so it really was a bonanza for those of us who wanted to see more bad actors without watching reruns for the thousandth time. As Pennywise, Tim is the personification of an evil spirit that's haunted the now-grownup children of a small town. The series was pretty damn cool, except for that undeniably stupid ending, which pits cast members against a far greater evil than clowns with malintent: a giant spider! Yes, a giant spider. They beat up a giant spider. I still can't get over it. Its like the director's wife went into labor in the last five minutes of shooting the movie, leaving him with no other option than to put that guy who yells 'action!' in charge. And you know what happens when you put a guy who wanted to be a director his whole life, but sucked so bad all he got to do was get coffee for everyone in charge? Imagine all that pent up energy and those withheld ideas. We're lucky he didn't decide that Pennywise should have a change of heart and turn into a good clown who preached an anti-smoking campaign to close out the series.

THE CURRY FACTOR: There's something oddly sensual about Tim Curry, dressed like a clown with fangs, repeatedly asking John Ritter 'if he wants it'. By that alone, the Curry Factor is at a high point. Another thing to consider: with all the roles we've seen the guy in, Tim Curry is the only person alive who can effectively give himself nightmares.

Need I go on?

Tim Curry's also landed roles as Long John Silver in a Muppets a snobby hotel clerk in Home Alone 2, and as a ripoff General Zod wannabe called Dr. Kao in Doomrunner. The guy's done it all. Sure, he's been in Annie and Oscar, but the amount of totally off-planet roles he's had far outweighs the normal jobs. Topping this is a list of around 30 different cartoons he's supplied voices for, not to mention an appearance as Gomez in an absolutely horrible Addams Family television movie. Why, Tim, WHY?!

In interviews, Curry has stated that he usually gets cast as the enigmatic outsider. That's a nice way of saying he gets cast as the fucking freakass. On top of all that, this cultural icon has managed to record at least four different full-length CDs, not to mention side careers in live theatre and video games. Is there anything he hasn't touched? Well, if you listen to the rumors, maybe a woman, but we won't go there. Fact is, you can't ignore him. He's everywhere. My friends and I regard him as some form of retro religion. We haven't gotten through a conversation without mentioning Tim Curry for the past three years. Watch the movies I just talked about, and you'll see why. Today we pay tribute to a man who's taking the roles Hollywood moves to Utah to get away from. Respect him. Love him. But above all else, don't forget...

He wore a pirate suit...for you.

In closing, a message to Mr. Curry: until you stop signing on for movies that require you to have sex with Barry Bostwick, get eaten by monkeys, or dress up like Lucifer - you will never find yourself under the toolage of one Stephen Spielberg, being groomed to be the next guy who plays Tom Cruise's older, uglier brother. Amend your ways, clean up your act, and maybe all won't be lost. But even if you don't, hell, we still love you. Anyone who's ballsy enough to tell Susan Sarandon that her apple pie ain't too nice is okay by me.

- Matt
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