The Witch Who Came From The Sea stars Millie Perkins as Molly, a woman who fantasises about sex and death, or so I thought at first as she seemingly indulged in a threesome with two blokes who ended up spurting blood after she whipped out her Gillette and started hacking at the bits from which cause lots of blood to spurt! And then the murder was reported on the news.
There’s talk of her father being lost at sea, plus a mad, cackling tattooist bloke who makes her The Girl With The Crappy Mermaid Tattoo. Her nephews have stupid names – Tadd and Tripoli, and it’s not long before more men start dying. However, I’m not sure if this film loses the point of where it’s going, or whether it just runs out of plot, yet forgets to shut off the camera.
You do get to the heart of the matter by the end, but it feels like a very long 88 minutes in getting to that point.
The film plays with an introduction (4:52) from Stephen Thrower, author and co-curator of the American Horror Project, who praises the lead actress Millie Perkins, the late screenwriter Robert Thom, and cinematographer Dean Cundey who later went on to work with John Carpenter on Halloween. He also talks about how it’s a rather unusual film, different from the average horror genre, and so is worth your time for that alone.
The film is presented in the original 2.35 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and for the most part looks okay, but in addition to some issues during the credits, the picture also breaks up over the reel changes. Just pretend it’s there for the retro charm 🙂 For the record, I’m watching on a 50″ Panasonic plasma TV.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD 1.0 Master Audio (mono). Dialogue can be heard, but you’ll have to appreciate that this is one of those films which could’ve disappeared without trace when you hear a regular buzzing under the soundtrack at times; and around 52 minutes in, the occasional piece of flute music starting up in the background did indeed start up again, but instantly stopped.
Taken from the Collector’s booklet about the video and audio transfer:
- “The Witch Who Came from the Sea is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with mono sound.
A 35mm print accessed from UCLA Film Archive was scanned in 2K resolution at OCN Digital, USA. Kodak Digital Ice was used to remove instances of dirt and debris during scanning. Grading was performed on the Baselight grading system at Deluxe Restoration, London. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, light scratches and other forms of film damage were removed or improved through a combination of digital restoration tools.
The mono soundtrack was transferred from the UCLA 35mm print.”
The extras are as follows, including two interview pieces for Arrow:
- Tides and Nightmares (23:28): Director Matt Cimber, the aforementioned DOP Dean Cundey, plus Millie Perkins and John Goff (Molly and her father) talk about their experience in making this film, and it’s amusing when Ms Perkins recounts the fact that she was married to Robert Thom at the time and that he wrote the sex scene with two men, so she had to do it. It was also interesting to learn that she was previously, briefly married to the wonderful Dean Stockwell.
- A Maiden’s Voyage (36:14): Mr Cimber, Mr Cundey and Ms Perkins in an archive featurette from 2004 (and, so it’s in 4:3), with more interviews, this time in Q&A form. Whereas most extras don’t have any chapters, this one has 7. You get to find out where the title came from, but I don’t want to give spoilers. You’ll just have to watch it!
- Lost At Sea (3:55): More from the director in another new piece where he mentions how all his prints of this film went to the studio… who just left it to rot. Hence, he pays tribute to Arrow for finding a viable print.
- Reversible sleeve: featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil.
- Gallery: 38 images, mostly featuring on-set stills.
- Audio commentary: with Dean Cundey, Millie Perkins and Matt Cimber.
The package also comes complete with American Horror Project Journal Volume I, a limited edition 60-page booklet which, for the whole set, comprises of new writings from Stephen Thrower (American Horror Project: The Return of the Exploitation Independents); Kim Newman (All the Fun of the Fair: Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood), Kier-La Janisse (“A Goddamn American Saint”: The Perversion of Perfection in The Witch Who Came from the Sea) and Brian Albright (Motherhood, Metaphysics, Mississippi, and The Premonition).
Subtitles are available in English, the main menu features clips from the film set to the incessant flute-based theme, and the chapters are the usual bog-standard 12.
The Witch Who Came From The Sea is available as part of the American Horror Project Vol.1 out now on Blu-ray/DVD Double Pack Limited Edition, and check out the full-size cover by clicking on the packshot.
The three films in this boxset are:
Running time: 88 minutes
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: February 22nd 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 1.0 Master Audio (Mono)
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Todd-AO 35)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Matt Cimber
Producer: Matt Cimber
Screenplay: Robert Thom
Music: Herschel Burke Gilbert
Molly: Millie Perkins
Long John: Lonny Chapman
Cathy: Vanessa Brown
Doris: Peggy Feury
Tadd: Jean Pierre Camps
Tripoli: Mark Livingston
Billy Batt: Rick Jason
Alexander McPeak: Stafford Morgan
Detective Beardsley: Richard Kennedy
Detective Stone: George ‘Buck’ Flower
Clarissa: Roberta Collins
Jack Dracula: Stan Ross
Carol: Lynne Guthrie
Newcomer: Barry Cooper
Sam Walters: Gene Rutherford
Austin Slade: Jim Sims
Newscaster: Sam Chu
TV Commercial Girl: Anita Franklin
Molly’s Father: John Goff
Young Molly: Verkina Flower
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.