The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976)

witchcameseaYoung and single, Molly (Millie Perkins, At Close Range) works in a bar. She lives with her sister (Vanessa Brown, The Bad and the Beautiful), a welfare mother of two boys who worship the sea-sailing grandfather they never met and who was lost to the waters 15 years prior. Molly’s own feelings toward her old man are conflicted; after all, he did have a sexual relationship with her.

Needless to say, Molly’s one screwed-up chick — an utterly weird woman whose dark psyche is explored in the utterly weird The Witch Who Came from the Sea.

witchcamesea1She experiences detailed fantasies — so twisted they qualify as hallucinations — of slaughtering musclemen on the beach and the shirtless shaving guy on a television commercial for razors. The first sign that there may be more to Molly’s mind games is when she imagines draining two superstar football players of their lifeblood by slicing the Achilles tendon, only to wake up the next morning and learn that the athletes have been murdered.

Director Matt Cimber is working with a higher caliber of material than he’s used to (i.e. Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold), so it’s evident to the viewer that there’s a lot going on here, even if Cimber can’t quite communicate it. He tries, but with its oblique narrative and psychological subtext, he’s in too far over his head. Perkins gives a good performance, although the script (by then-husband Robert Thom, Death Race 2000) requires her to spend too much of it naked. For all her onscreen sacrifice, the ending does her no justice, striking a dour note — and one that feels like a cop-out.

Still, it’s different, and because different is good, the psychological thriller is worth a look. Just watch out for the TV clown. —Rod Lott

Buy it at Amazon.


3 Responses to “The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976)”

  • Eddie Marr Says:

    “Just watch out for the TV clown.”

    I always do, man. I always do.

  • Allan Says:

    I have a copy of this one, but haven’t gotten around to checking it out yet.

  • Doug Says:

    “Perkins gives a good performance, although the script (by then-husband Robert Thom, Death Race 2000) requires her to spend too much of it naked.”

    Is it possible in one of these films for the actress to spend too much time naked? I argue that can only make it better.

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