The Witch Who Came From the Sea DVD Review
Reviewed by Peter West
DVD released by Subversive Cinema
Directed by Matt Cimber
Written by Robert Thom
Cinematography by Dean Cundey
Millie Perkins as Molly
Lonny Chapman as Long John
Vanessa Brown as Cathy
Peggy Feury as Dora
Jean Pierre Camps as Todd
Mark Livingston as Tripoli
Molly really knows how to cut men down to size!!
Molly can seem at times to be a normal young woman, especially when watching her two young nephews Todd and Tripoli. At other times she drifts off into a world where she is obsessed with male genitalia and imagines seeing these men in gruesome faces of death. When a dream that she mutilates two football players from the LA Rams turns out to be real, we are then plunged further into Molly's world of sex and vengeance.
Molly is a tortured women, when she is talking to her nephews about their grandfather she praises him as a great man. However in her mind she flashes back to disturbing scenes of incest. Having only the TV as a escape from the pain, Molly thinks of people on TV as being perfect. Molly's obsession with television personalities leads to another death and the police start to zero in on her. Facing up to the possibility that Molly her done these horrendous crimes, her friends and family must decide whether to turn her in.
Presented in its theatrical beauty for the first time since its 1976 limited release, Subversive Cinema presents The Witch Who Came From the Sea with the only cuts coming from Molly!
For a nearly 30 year old film, The Witch Who Came From the Sea has been incredibly restored! You'll see a good comparison of what the bootleg video looked like and the job done on the opening credits of the DVD. Similar to what Elite Entertainment did when they released Night of the Living Dead on Laserdisc back in 1994. The 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer is clear and sharp and suffers from very little damage. However because of the limited availability of existing film elements there are a few scenes that are a little rough. Overall the DVD is a tribute to the masterful cinematography by Dean Cundey (Halloween, The Thing, Jurassic Park). My rating 4/5.
There's two audio tracks for the film. The first a Dolby 2.0 Stereo remix and a Dolby original mono track. Both are in excellent shape and are free from hiss and distortion. Original music by Herschel Burke Gilbert ("Gilligan's Island", I Dismember Mama) compliments the stunning visuals in the film. My rating 4/5.
An extensive featurette on the making of the film and a audio commentary by director Climber, cinematographer Cundley and star Molly Perkins are the two major extras on the DVD. There's also a trailer and preview section as well as talent bios for the major players in the film. The featurette is as interesting as it is informative. The commentary is a good listen as well. It's great that Subversive Cinema was able to get everybody together to do it since this was a low budget film that's not well known. I enjoy commentaries where everybody is there, rather than those pieced together from separate tapes. My rating 4/5.
Somewhere along the way I missed The Witch Who Came From the Sea during my Drive-in days of the 70's. When I was reviewing Subversive Cinema's first DVD release this summer Living Hell, I noticed this film on the previews and really got excited about it. I was not disappointed! What separates The Witch Who Came From the Sea from the standard rape and revenge films is the high production qualities. While this is a low budget film, the players who made it are all first rate people in the film industry. From the composer Herschel Burke Gilbert who is a three time Oscar nominee, cinematographer Dean Cundey who was nominated for a Oscar for Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Millie Perkins star of the Oscar nominated The Diary of Anne Frank all are among the top talent in the business.
Director Matt Cimber's vision is like that of a artist painting a mural. We are immediately treated to the beautiful scenery of the pacific ocean as the film begins and then are taken to the slow mutilation of the two football players. Not with graphic violence, instead it is our own mind that provides us the visuals. This is not a gore film, all of the horror is subtle and the inference of what is happening is just as powerful as if we had witnessed it.
Let me talk a little bit about Subversive Cinema. Founded by Norm Hill along with Scarecrow Video and Poker Industries, the mission of Subversive is to bring us significant films that would not be released otherwise. Norm Hill previously had been along with William Lustig the driving force behind Anchor Bay's horror catalog. Hill is dedicated to bringing us the same resolve that he had at Anchor Bay with Subversive!
Movies like The Witch Who Came From the Sea are the kind that make the old "Danger Seeker" glad he's single right now. You never know the baggage some of these women are carrying and sometimes it's just best not to find out! Millie Perkin's Molly is just that kind of attractive package on the outside that can be seriously broken on the inside. I think this is one movie a bachelor should consider as mandatory viewing, the life you save could be you own! My overall rating 4/5.