American Horror Project Vol 1 (horror film DVD/Blu-ray review).

February 25, 2016 | By | Reply More

There seems to be a formula here and that is to take three obscure movies from the 70s, movies that haven’t been seen for years, and put them back upfront in a lavish presentation costing over £40. However, you’ve got to think for yourself, why have they not been seen for years? The reason is staring you in the face! They are basically terrible and should have been left in obscurity. Despite this, the presentation goes ahead. It’s a touch of emperor’s new clothes, I think.

AmericanHorrorProjectV1-DVD

Let’s see what we have here? Making three relatively short movies stretch out to 6 discs is a feat of engineering in itself. The three movies are ‘Premonition’ (1976), ‘Malatesta’s Carnival Of Blood’ (1973) and ‘The Witch Who Came From The Sea’ (1976). They have a common factor in that they are all extremely low budget productions full of absolutely abysmal acting. Claiming that they are classic stretches incredulity.

‘The Premonition’ is probably the best of the trio. It involves the snatching of a five year-old girl by a woman who claims to be her mother. It’s psychologically gruesome and a bit pitiful. Directed by Robert Allen Schnitzer, it is a story of haunted possession, much in the vein of ‘Carrie’ but not as good. There is an intended haziness to the picture probably in order to create atmosphere and the ubiquitous carnival is involved. The script is disjointed and erratic, lacking continuity and even logic. Some say it’s a masterpiece while others see it as just an ordinary low-budget affair. I would agree with the latter. This movie from 1976 is not to be confused with a more recent film from 2007.

Next we have ‘The Witch Who Came from The Sea’. Made in 1976, it’s about a woman who fantasises about bodybuilders on the California beach. However, she has a traumatic past, abused by her seafaring father with memories repressed. This makes her like a spider who entrances and ties up her victims only to emasculate them. It’s a pathetic story, a rather sad tale and certainly not a classic. It has been buried away for years, only to be dug up by Arrow. This one should have been left alone.

The last is probably the worst. ‘Malatesta’s Carnival Of Blood’ from 1973. It’s the typical fairground frolic where unsuspecting people get caught up in gruesome murder. Having been done so many times, maybe it’s claim is that it is probably one of the earliest. In this, a couple look for their daughter but get embroiled in the chaos. The script is extremely disjointed and the acting is absolutely dismal. There is very little merit to this film.

There are tons of extras coming with this lot. They include a collection of audio commentaries, interviews, draft scripts and still pictures. Interesting enough I suppose but once you have watched the movies you tend to lose interest in all the rest. I was only given three disk with the films on so cannot comment on the others.

One could think of many other horror movies from the past in America but they would be more expensive to obtain. In these examples, the bottom of the barrel has been cheaply scraped only to be dished up in an expensive package. What is worrying is the title, ‘Volume 1’, which means there are probably more of the same coming in the future. This in itself is a greater horror. It’s a package which is vastly overpriced and should be avoided. Arrow has produced many other really good offerings but this one in my opinion doesn’t come up to scratch. Not to be recommended.

Rod MacDonald

February 2016

(Dual Format DVD and Blu-ray region 2/B: pub: Arrow Video. 6 DVD/blu-ray discs 251 minutes divided between 3 films with extras. Price: £44.99(UK). ASIN: B017O3GAD6

cast: Millie Perkins, Lonny Chapman, Janine Carazo, Herve Villechaize and Sharon Farrell

Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English

check out website: www.arrowfilms.co.uk

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Category: Films, Horror

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