10 March 2018

The Video Nasties: The Witch Who Came From The Sea (1976)


Matt Cimber's The Witch Who Came From The Sea is a strange, dreamy psychological thriller that alongside the likes of Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Dario Argento's Tenebrae (1982) and Wes Craven's The Last House On The Left (1972) stands out from the video nasty crowd. Not in terms of sheer nastiness, but in terms of being an effectively made shocker. Prior to ending up on the DPP list the film was released in the UK by VTC (one of the great pre-cert distirubutors).

For anyone who doesn't like to be surprised by a film's content another release by Unicorn Video helpfully gives a complete rundown of the story on the video sleeve:

"Molly really knows how to cut men down to size - literally - as she amply demonstrates. She is responsible for a string of mutilation sex murders that have been baffling the Los Angeles police for months..."

And I'll leave it there in case you fancy tracking down this little gem.

While the film fails to deliver on suspense, twists, and even gore (for a nasty it is pretty bloodless) it is held together by a host of excellent performances. Most notable among these is Millie Perkins, from The Diary Of Anne Frank (1959), as Molly whose grip on the boundary between reality and fantasy is gradually eroded. The downbeat ending as the police are zeroing in is also curiously affecting.

The Witch Who Came From The Sea was passed uncut on DVD in the UK in 2006 and was available as part of the now deleted Anchor Bay Box Of The Banned 2 set. Since then it has been given an excellent Blu Ray release by Arrow Video.