There is no other film that I have seen like American Gothic. Batts, an acclaimed photographer, obviously had a different type of attitude on how to direct a film. American Gothic comes out more as a stream of consciousness collage of images than your standard horror flick. The farmers narration accentuates this dreamlike experience.
Batts paid a lot of attention to detail as the film proves. He has a photographers eye as the image is first and foremost to everything else. The detail in everything from costume to color redefines the focus of a horror film. American Gothic’s lack of plot, which is unnecessary to the film, forces the viewer to have to interpret the film on their own. This is another similarity between American Gothic and still photography.
Sound plays an importance in both the films strengths and weaknesses. The voice of the old farmer is one of monotone decay. After hearing his pathetic voice, you can almost sympathize with his malevolent activities. Unfortunately the effect of the old farmers voice is weakened by generic metal music played throughout. It seems as if Carlos Batts was trying to help out one of his friends by adding his bands music to the film. This unsavory music weakens the film as a whole and almost discredits its merit.
The old farmers performance in American Gothic does standout. It is very believable that he is the man in the painting, he plays him well. This old farmer is both a poet and a sadist. Years and years of working on the farm have given this horticulturist many ideas. When he’s covered in blood he seems finally complacent with life. His years of blood and sweat have finally met its climax.