The Witch Who Came From the Sea
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Millie Perkins plays Molly, a spacy barmaid who idolizes men on TV, dotes on her two young nephews, and often recalls her late, seafaring father with unnatural reverence. She also has ugly castration fantasies that she acts upon about fifteen minutes into the film(don't worry, I'm not giving away the movie's major revelation here). Perkins is really good in this role, and Lonny Chapman also gives a fine performance as her grizzled boyfriend.
What else works in this film? The dreary, battered Venice Beach and Santa Monica location shots. The creepy soundtrack. Molly's sad, uncomfortable, frightening flashbacks to childhood. What DOESN'T work is the dialogue. Robert Thom(Perkins' husband at the time) wrote in the Ernest Hemingway-Rod Serling style; everyone in the film speaks exactly the same way, and they all sound so nutty that you'll often be left scratching your head in frustration. I think that Thom was going for a folksy, man-and-woman-on-the-street feel(for 1976), but the language comes off as goofy and stilted. That said, watch the film anyway--it really is worth it. You'll never, ever forget "Witch". (Without giving anything away, the final scene is wonderful, almost perfect.)
Extras include commentary by Perkins, director Matt Cimber, and cinematographer Dean Cundey; interviews with the same; and trailers for some other movies. What's really interesting about the film itself is that there are two or three scenes which I never saw on the ancient VHS print I used to rent. Brace yourself before you see this; obviously the film is not suitable for children, but many adults will find it extraordinarily unpleasant as well.
You'd think with a storyline like that that things would escalate until finally the film explodes into an orgy of blood, nudity and gore. Well, that's at least what I was hoping for. Sadly things actually slow down as the movie goes on until finally at the end I was getting pretty depressed.
If you're looking a film about female madness then stick with REPULSION, but if you want some psychotic sexy violence that's gonna make your eyes pop out then watch A CHINESE TORTURE CHAMBER STORY 1 & 2.
Also for all you fans of the Don Knotts/Tim Conway classic THE PRIVATE EYES check out Stan Ross in a brief scene as the tattoo artist Jack Dracula. He's even on the back of the DVD case.
The whole film plods along in a limp dreary fashion, which might work if Mollys behaviour was graphically depicted on screen, but all the violence is very low key and nearly all off-screen, so the viewer does not get much chance to be jolted into being interested in what is going to happen. The locations are all run-down coastal bars and apartments, with plenty of ugly decor throughout which firmly plants this film in the 1970's (when it was made). Millie Perkins does turn in a good performance as the central character, her best line being delivered as she undresses her intended castration victim and then, glancing at the small safety razor blade she has to hand, sighs and murmers dejectedly to herself: "This is gonna take forever..."
Aside from that memorable line, the film will probably not hold your interest for much of it's running time. It's marketed as a horror film, but it is more a study of a troubled woman's descent into madness, that ocasionally lapses into lurid territory. Not really much here to get you sitting up in your seat. And certainly no witches coming from the sea...I still wonder what that title is all about.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Restored classic; one of the infamous video nasties banned in Britain. Those looking for the juicy parts that were excised by the censors will be disappointed, as the stuff, even... Read morePublished on November 15, 2013 by Amazon Customer
A must see for lovers of 1970's interior design. As a bonus you have a character, powerfully played by Millie Perkins, whose confusion of reality becomes our confusion as viewers,... Read morePublished on February 11, 2008 by Michael E. Dixon
The title is so misleading it's not funny as there's very little supernatural elements nor special effects to speak off. Read morePublished on February 15, 2007 by GreatMovieCriticForever