American Horror Project Vol. 1

In what is going to be an ongoing series, Arrow Video have created the’ American Horror Project’ which is designed to showcase forgotten gems of American horror cinema.  In this collection we have travelled back to the 1970’s and each film in this collection is blessed with an introduction by Stephen Thrower the author of Nightmare USA.

Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood

The Norris family arrive at a carnival ran by the mysterious and a rather odd chap named Blood.  You see, their son has gone missing and they are determined to track him down.  They don’t have much luck as their son is now dead and the weirdos at the fair have set their sight on their daughter.  The film is peppered with strange and wonderfully mad characters.  There are pasty faced flesh eating ghouls, a psychotic rubbish collector and a hook handed character called ‘Mr Bean’.  Malatesta himself is a Peter Wyngarde/Jason King lookalike and with the bizarre goings-on, the picture is completely ‘out there’ and rather unique.  Keep an eye out for the legendary Herve Villechaize as a crazy dwarf.

The Witch Who Came From the Sea

Possibly the most famous of the bunch as it was one of the UK’s original video nasties, ‘Witch’ tells the story of Molly, a young woman who works in a bar ran by a guy called ‘Long John’.  Molly bless her, is rather disturbed but loved by her two nephews and slowly she descends into madness and murder.  For the time (early 70’s) the film is rather daring with it’s storyline and Millie Perkins playing Molly is absolutely brilliant.  More of a psychological  thriller than a horror film but just as disturbing.

The Premonition 

Andrea is a young woman recently released from a mental institution who hooks up with a creepy clown fairground photographer who she met whilst inside.  Andrea had to give her up when she was committed and is determined to find her.  Her daughter meanwhile has been adopted by a scientist and his wife and quite by chance Andrea discovers where they are.  The unhinged Andrea wants her back and puts together a kidnap plan with the clown played by veteran bad guy Richard Lynch.  What follows is mad visions, murder and a real strange corker of an ending.

All three films are jam packed with commentaries, interviews, documentaries and trailers.  Arrow have certainly done themselves proud with the film’s presentation considering their vintage and whilst all three films are not quite ‘mainstream’ they all have their individual merits.  Personally my favourite is Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood, which is completely insane.

A superb package which I can’t rate highly enough.

  • Starring Millie Perkins  Richard Lynch  Sharon Farrell  Lonny Chapman  Daniel Dietrich  Jerome Dempsey
  • Directors Matt Cimber  Christopher Speeth  Robert Allen Schnitzer
  • Distributor Arrow