Curse III (not to be confused with Cursed Part 3) is sort of a precursor to Drag Me to Hell, minus all the humor and talent. Unrelated to the first two films in the Curse series, this one takes place in an unspecified East African country in 1950 — judging from the lack of white corpses strewn around the land, I’m guessing it’s before release of the yoke of European colonialism.
Elizabeth (Three’s Company‘s Jenilee Harrison, who appears to have been created in a lab as the prototype for “Caucasian”) has recently married sugar cane farmer Geoff, and is expecting his baby. Or is it…? Yes, actually, it is. Anyway, one day, Geoff’s black foreman, Mletch (Henry Cele), is driving Elizabeth and her white friends Cindy and Robert through a village when they happen upon a goat sacrifice. Cindy dashes out to grab the goat because it’s just so darn cute. Mletch warns her not to disrupt the sacred ceremony, but Elizabeth, being an E.W.A. (Entitled White American), jumps in, shouting, “American!” and they end up swiping the goat. The witch doctor (Dumi Shongwe) responds by throwing down a feathered voodoo thingee at Elizabeth’s feet and shouting curse-y exclamations with an evil laugh because, well, he’s evil.
Not so coincidentally, Elizabeth begins to have tummy aches, so they call in Dr. Pearson (Christopher Lee, in a clear career nadir), who happens to be well-versed in curse-ology. He explains that she’s been cursed by a vengeful spirit that lives in the sea (Spongebob Squarepants?). Soon, bodies begin falling right and left (including, of course, poor Mletch), and somewhere in between, Elizabeth battles the slow-moving sea monster, whose incessant wheezing seems to be a clear sign of exercise-induced asthma.
From the poor creature design to the half-assed script to Harrison’s hammy sitcom acting to the overwrought musical score, Curse III is just plain bad, although it has its share of MST3K potential. Like, why the hell does a supernatural clawed sea monster need a machete? In typical cheesy horror fashion, the monster is an unstoppable killing machine until it comes time to kill the heroine, at which point it turns into a bumbling Stooge. Apparently, all you need to do to break a curse is a measly lantern.
The black characters meanwhile are typical, ranging from nameless servants and tribesmen to thankless sidekicks (R.I.P. Miletch) to evil voodoo-types who get what’s coming to them. Anyone who watches this film can consider themselves cursed.