I remember seeing the striking poster for The Witch Who Came From The Sea when I was a kid (before the BBFC came along and placed it on their infamous Nasties list…) and it always intrigued and freaked me out and it has taken me until TODAY to actually see it for myself.
The first thing is that chilling poster was one hell of a swerve. There’s no witch, no beheading and damn, the only sea is a visit to the beach with the heroine’s (Victim’s? Villain’s? It’s not a simple heroes and villains piece, not by a long shot) nephews.
So, that scary tale of a witch I’ve imagined for decades does not actually exist, what TWWCFTS actually is is closer to Hitchcock or a Giallo where we know who is doing the crimes from the start of the movie, but through a maze of flashbacks, real time and dream sequences, we learn the dark and depressing reason why. Trust me, this is not a dumb ‘monster/slasher’ Nastie, far from it, the main actress shines and was previously the star of the Anne Frank biopic and the cinematography is astounding, if it were not for the fashions and the lack of phones, this could be a 2020 drama that loses out at the Oscars due to its occasional bloody scenes and horrific acts.
Writer Robert Thom also gave us Death Race 2000 so his place in the cult hall of fame is guaranteed, but this is a much slower paced piece, it never feels boring but there is a lot of talking and character development which shorter attention span horror freaks might sigh at and I should warn viewers that there are plenty of triggering scenes in here too, which I am not being specific about as they unravel at the same time as Molly’s madness (?).
As always Arrow Video give us some excellent extras – a great new half hour documentary Tides And Nightmares, which gives us a look at the action from in front and behind the camera and there is also an archive featurette if you would prefer to see those involved in their youth! Add to this a commentary with star Millie Perkins, director Matt Cimber and DOP Dean Cundey and you have a horror classic that is not what you were expecting when you pressed PLAY, but will keep you thinking long after the tide has gone out.
The Witch Who Came From The Sea is available from Arrow Video