on September 27, 1996 by Dwayne E. Leslie
   This "Pulp"-fashioned black comedy, presented by Quentin Tarantino, takes audiences down a path where curiosity turns fascination into obsession. "Curdled" is based on a short film that Tarantino viewed at a mystery/suspense film fest. He liked the short so much that he borrowed the main character, Gabriella (Angela Jones), and used her in "Pulp Fiction" as the cab driver that gave Bruce Willis a ride. In "Curdled," Gabriella returns to her lifelong fascination with murders, which is so deep that potential suitors know to bring her newspaper clippings of recent killings instead of flowers. She longs to know what goes through the mind of a "blue blood" serial killer ("Fair Game's" William Baldwin) who cuts the heads off his victims, and whether the heads talk after being severed. To get closer to understanding the rampager, Gabriella takes a job with a post-forensic cleaning service in the hopes of getting an assignment to clean one of the "blue blood" killings.
   The film is effective in leaving audiences guessing what will happen next and in building tension right through the final shot. In one especially gripping scene, Gabriella reenacts a murder while dancing to a salsa melody; unbeknownst to her, the killer is watching. His growing interest with her leads to a mutual interrogation in which they mentally absorb each other's desires.
   Instead of wearing the traditional black dress and nails, the usual cinematic uniform of female characters with macabre fixations, Gabriella sports a carefree wardrobe of interesting variety. The film's coagulated humor, mixed with its dark theme, will please anyone with a morbid nerve in his body and leave him wanting a sequel; at the same time, those not so constituted are likely to find "Curdled" curdling indeed. Sounds like a menu for a cult classic. Starring Angela Jones and William Baldwin. Directed by Reb Braddock. Written by John Maass and Reb Braddock. Produced by John Maass and Raul Puig. A Miramax release. Comedy. Rated R for violence/gore, and for brief language. Running time: 88 min. Opens 9/27 NY/LA/Miami
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