Thursday, September 29, 2016
The Witch Who Came from the Sea
The Witch Who Came from the Sea is one of those interesting films that gets a sort of pass for some of it's shortcomings due to the fact that it's such a time capsule of the time it was created in - in this case, 1976.
Millie Perkins plays (Aunt) Molly, a somewhat sad waitress at a bar who is struggling through working, drinking too much, and memories of a very shattered past. Her boss, Long John (Lonny Chapman) helps her out when he can as does her sister and two nephews, but things start to unravel and spiral down a very dark path when Molly turns into a kind of siren - luring men in and slaying them viciously. The reason behind her violent actions is rather easy to figure out, but watching it play out on screen is very interesting.
This is more an exploration of sexual trauma than a horror film, but there are horrific elements in the film to be sure. The film leans towards an art house esthetic as well as the scenes play out with dreamlike and nightmarish twists and turns as she falls deeper and deeper into a state of mental illness.
There are also interesting references to television. As a matter of fact, I think it's safe to say that television itself is a major character in the film. The sexual and drug morays of the day also play out wondrously as people party, speak freely about drugs and sex, and wander from lover to lover like shaking hands.
Matt Cimber's direction is rather interesting. He takes his time with shots and really lets you sink into the scenes as they unfold. He introduces certain elements throughout with care and grace, but some he just shoehorns in almost as an afterthought. There are some police characters that seem like Cimber is just showing them because he has to and he jumps away from them quickly so he can linger on more of Molly and her madness.
I caught this on SHUDDER and almost switched over to something else when I saw the look and style, but it slowly pulled me in and held my interest. Fans of 70s films really should check this out. It's a slow burn, but the acting and overall visual interest of the shots and clothing and acting style make it a fun watch.