Molly (Millie Perkins) is a bar waitress who believes that life is only real when you watch it on TV, but when the muscular objects of her violent erotic fantasies begin turning up dead and mutilated she begins to wonder if her fantasies haven’t crept disturbingly into reality. Because Molly is concealing a terrible secret, refusing to accept that she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by the sea-captain father she claims to idolise, and now her unconscious is out for revenge. As Molly’s madness, fuelled by drugs and alcohol, begins to consume her she cuts a bloody swathe through the horny male population of her beachside town. The police are closing in, but maybe the only person who can stop Molly is Molly herself…
If you ever find yourself arguing that the idiots behind the ‘video nasties’ list didn’t have a clue what they were doing, The Witch Who Came from the Sea should be your Exhibit A. This film doesn’t deserve its schlocky reputation and it certainly has nothing to do with the evocative but incredibly misleading poster that probably put it on the list in the first place – there are no witches here, and certainly no warrior women brandishing decapitated heads. Instead, The Witch Who Came from the Sea is an intriguing and occasionally moving study of an abused young woman spiralling into insanity. True, it has the low-budget look of most '70s exploitation movies, but Perkins’ extraordinarily nuanced performance, the psychologically incisive screenplay by her soon-to-be-ex-husband Robert Thom (Death Race 2000) and the classy cinematography by DOP Dean Cundey, who would later lens John Carpenter’s Halloween, The Fog and The Thing, elevates this controversial little psycho-shocker into the echelons of art. This isn’t some grubby video nasty designed to shock and titillate, this is a chillingly effective character study that occupies the shadowy middle-ground somewhere between Polanski’s Repulsion and Meir Zarchi’s I Spit on Your Grave.
Although the 2K restored print occasionally shows its age, this is yet another good-looking, special features-packed package from Arrow Academy. The extras are great, the newly-commissioned cover art by The Twins of Evil is light years ahead of the lurid poster design that got the Director of Public Prosecution’s knickers in a twist, and the film itself is a revelation.
Special Features: Audio commentary / Introduction to the film / Making-of documentary / Two featurettes
THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: MATT CLIMBER / SCREENPLAY: ROBERT THOM / STARRING: MILLIE PERKINS, LONNY CHAPMAN, VANESSA BROWN, RICK JASON / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 4TH