Aug 6, 2014

The Witch Who Came from the Sea




If Andy Warhol’s failed assassin Valerie Solanas—the bull-dyke author of the infamously moronic SCUM Manifesto (“Society for Cutting Up Men”) and would-be-filmmaker (indeed, one of the reasons she shot the pop-con-artist is because she believe he stole her script)—had been a fan of ‘fun in the sun’ and made an exploitation film before she died a deranged bum, it would probably resemble the vaguely artsy fartsy and hysterically melodramatic video nasty The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976).  Directed by Jayne Mansfield’s Judaic one-time-husband/baby daddy Matt Cimber—a filmmaker who, among other things, dabbled in racially insensitive porn via Africanus Sexualis (Black Is Beautiful) (1970) and once directed both Orson Welles and Stacy Keach in the work Butterfly (1982)—penned by semi-talented Roger Corman screenwriter Robert Thom (Bloody Mama, Death Race 2000), and shot by Halloween (1978) cinematographer Dean Cundey (who would go on to shoot various other John Carpenter flicks like Escape From New York, as well as blockbusters like the Back to the Future trilogy), this rather curious piece of celluloid trash assuredly transcends the brazen banality of typical exploitation cinema, as a sometimes genuinely creepy tale about a crazed cunt with decidedly debilitating daddy issues who gets a kick out of castrating the cocks of unsuspecting musclemen and related alpha types. Featuring a pretentious reference to Early Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli’s iconic 1486 painting The Birth of Venus, heavy-handed symbolism, half-decent acting performances, and rather lacking in gratuitous sex and violence, The Witch Who Came from the Sea is certainly not the kind of work that will act as a quick fix to the sort of gorehound cinpehile who gets a hard-on from seeing buckets of blood and guts Guido exploitation flicks, as it is a psychologically castrating flick where graphic murder and mayhem take a backseat to fierce female mental illness. Indeed, like what you might expect if Fassbinder suffered brain damage after snorting too much coke and penned a script that he had the slightly more talented heterosexual brother of Andy Milligan direct, Cimber’s conspicuously crappy yet strangely captivating work is like a feminist flick for white trash female serial killers who have watched one too many soap operas (indeed, I can certainly see Aileen Wuornos masturbating to the film). Featuring an aberrant anti-heroine of the severely scatter-brained sort who literally and figuratively cuts men down to size (in fact, the film's tagline is: “Molly really knows how to cut men down to size!”), The Witch Who Came from the Sea is certainly not the seaside supernatural horror flick that one would probably assume it is due to its totally misleading title and absurdly sensational, if not somewhat aesthetically pleasing, poster art. Mixing elements of hagsploitation, the old school Hollywood ‘woman's film’ genre, bargain bin psychedelia, and pseudo-Hitchcockian thrills and chills, The Witch Who Came from the Sea might be one of the most grotesque dramas ever made, but it certainly seems like a Max Ophüls flick when compared to similarly themed filmic filth like I Spit on Your Grave (1978). 





 30-something-year-old unmarried waitress Molly (played Millie Perkins, who is probably best known for playing the eponymous star of George Stevens’ classic 1959 holy-caust propaganda flick The Diary of Anne Frank) loves telling her young nephews romantic stories about her sea captain father who she absurdly believes became lost at sea because, “He was perfect…too good to live on land,” but there is more to her stories than she would care to admit.  Molly’s overweight and seemingly perennially disgruntled sister Cathy (Vanessa Brown) has slightly less nostalgic memories regarding their long dead father, as she describes him as a “drunk bum” and “evil bastard,” among other not-so-nice things. As it turns out, Molly was routinely raped by her father when she was just a preteen child and she developed the whole fantastic ‘sea captain’ story to save herself from going completely insane. Of course, as a woman who fantasizes about the grizzly deaths of beefy body builders while having a nice day on the beach with her nephews, Molly is a ticking time bomb of murderous misandry and if there is anything she hates more than men, it is men's members. Indeed, Molly hates man-meat so much that after seducing two professional football players—a negro and equally braindead honky—and beginning a miscegenation-based ménage à trios involving weed and bondage, she slices off both of the unlucky athletes’ dongs and gongs, thereupon resulting in their emasculating deaths. Of course, being a crazed little creature who unconsciously utilizes delusion and denial as a means of self-preservation, Molly does not remember fatally castrating the two football players, though a heavy burden seems to be weighing down on her forsaken soul.  Due to her reasonably attractive appearance and petite body, Molly is told by her sister Cathy that she should become a stripper, but the bat-shit crazy broad refuses to because, as she aggressively states, “I’m not going to show my ass and tits for the sake of a tip.” A fuck-up at virtually everything she does aside from castrating cocks and lying to herself and everyone around her, Molly is always late for work, but her swarthy old fart boss—a fellow with the quite fitting name ‘Long John’ (played by Lonny Chapman, who appeared in various old Hollywood classics, including Elia Kazan’s 1956 Tennessee Williams adaptation Baby Doll and Hitchcock’s The Birds)—is also her fuckbuddy/father-figure, so she gets away with it. Despite taking advantage of a clearly mentally perturbed not-so-young woman, Long John unquestionably cares very much for Molly and does what he can to deter her further derangement, but of course, as anyone knows who has ever had to deal with mentally perturbed people regularly, there is only so much he can can do to keep the murderess at bay (after all, Molly is an ocean kind of girl).





 When Molly somehow manages to crash a party inhabited by a bunch of pompous and superficial Hollywood snobs, she happens upon a reproduction painting of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, which she becomes completely entranced by. Molly is told by the man throwing the party regarding the image of Venus, “She’s a witch…come out of the sea […] Venus was born in the sea. Her father was a god…they cut off his balls…his sperm dropped into the ocean. The sea was knocked up. Venus was the kid.” Of course, as someone who loves cutting off balls, Molly states to the party host regarding the Venus painting, “She’s not a witch, she’s beautiful.”  Naturally, before she knows it, Molly is trying to bite off the party host’s boner. Surprisingly, the host manages to get away with his accoutrements intact, but the partygoers accuse him of attempting to attack Molly, as he had to smack her around a little bit while attempting to get away from her, thus slightly injuring her in the process. After Molly is injured, a dashing TV commercial actor comes to her rescue and pretends that he is some sort of hero. Of course, as someone who largely lives in a fantasy world of television, Molly becomes obsessed with the actor, especially when she sees him in a shaving razor commercial and schizophrenically believes she hears him say, “Why don’t you shave me you hot sweet little bitch,” as he begins to slit his own throat. Of course, Molly eventually kills the actor, but not before hacking off his naughty bits. Naturally, when Long John wakes up next to Molly and sees that she is covered in blood, he becomes more than a little bit suspicious of her dubious behavior.  After being questioned regarding her actions, Molly eventually confesses to committing the killings, ridiculously stating regarding the belated hack TV actor, “I guess I did kill him. Why did I do that? He was so beautiful. I think, I don’t know…Did he love me? He did…a little bit.” As depicted in a flashback scene, Molly’s father not only repeatedly raped her, but he also died on top of her at the end of coitus after suffering an orgasm-induced heart attack, thus ultimately causing the loony lady to equate sex with death. It is also revealed that Molly’s father had the same topless mermaid tattoo as she does (which she gets about midway through the film from a creepy gypsy pirate dude whose face is covered in terrible tats). During the last scene of the film, Molly envisions herself being pulled out to sea in a wooden raft in an allegorical scenario reflecting her isolation from reality.   Indeed, in the end, Molly's transformation from sullen sea bitch to schizophrenic sea witch is complete.




 More psycho-whore-horror than mere mindless bargain bin exploitation, The Witch Who Came from the Sea is ultimately more offensive due to its low-budget kitschy handling of rather serious topics like incest, child abuse, posttraumatic stress, and mental illness than due to its depiction of a crazed cunt who gets her rocks off by cutting off cocks. Of course, it is also probably in poor taste that an actress best known for her debut childhood role as Anne Frank in the Academy Award winning film The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) is featured portraying a man-hating murderess of the cock-chopping sort who gets involved in threesomes with alpha-buck negroes (apparently, Millie Perkins agreed to star in the film to support her screenwriter husband Robert Thom), but that is also one of the film's greatest charms, as an exploitation film on steroids featuring Hollywood royalty. To add to the singular sleaziness, the film’s casting director, George “Buck” Flower (who also plays a detective in the film), cast his own preteen daughter Verkina Flower to portray anti-heroine Molly as a child during the father-daughter rape scenes. Of course, as a film directed by Matt Cimber—a man whose greatest claim to fame is probably being responsible for directing the first American hardcore porn flick, He & She (1970), to receive national distribution—The Witch Who Came from the Sea was never destined to be a work of high celluloid art.  Despite its decidedly dreary and disconcerting subject matter, the film also features a couple of moments of genuinely humorous comic relief, especially during a scene where a busybody white trash (non)babe remarks, “All football players are faggots…Closet queens.” An aberrant (anti)Electra Complex piece that maliciously molests Hitchcock’s Marnie (1964) and semi-cleverly cannibalizes the culturally confused Mishima adaptation The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea (1976) starring Kris Kristofferson, Cimber’s trash-with-class ‘masterpiece’ is indubitably a provocative and reasonably original celluloid work lost in a cinematic sea of mostly forgettable exploitation and celluloid sleaze. Undoubtedly, if there is an exploitation film that can make you feel guilty about liking exploitation films, it is most certainly The Witch Who Came from the Sea.  Indeed, for better or worse, Cimber's largely forgotten film is certainly a cream of the crop piece of work when it comes to video nasties, as a certifiably sick flick that will have lesser men grabbing their gonads in pain.



-Ty E

15 comments:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Millie Perkins (as the bird was in 1956 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Jayne Girls-field (as the bird was in 1951 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously, which is long since dead, unfortunately).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Just with regards to "Butterfly" (1982): I want to bugger Pia Zadora (as the bird was in 1972 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ty E, i agree with you about the poster art being "somewhat aesthetically pleasing", its a superb image, it makes me wish the film had been a straight-forward horror movie instead of pretentious horse-shit.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Its odd that even though theres plenty of heterosexual activity in this film i still think that ultimately its a movie for faggots. The dirty queer bastards.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ty E, it would be great to read your opinion on George Stevens 1959 masterwork, Millie Perkins was such a little stunner back in those days (and playing one of your all-time favourite characters from history as well ! ! !). I actually think Anne Frank is for you what Heather O`Rourke is for me ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Marnie 'Tippi Hedren' actually looks a bit like Millie Perkins in this film.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Actually, i have to admit, even though Millie Perkins was 37 at the time this movie was made she was still pretty tasty, not as tasty as she`d been 20 years earlier obviously, but still a surprisingly tasty bird for 37.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Terry Gilliam is a fan of "The Birth of Venus" as well but i was always slightly disappointed by the way he used it in "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1989), because although it was obviously nice to see the almost naked 17 year-old Uma Thur-girl coming out of the shell i much more wanted to see the naked 8 year-old Sarah Polley instead ! ! !. Sarah was so amazing when she was 8 or 9 and much more sexy and desirable than she is now at 35 ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Verkina Flower (as the little darlin` was at the time this movie was made, not as the middle-aged slag is now obviously). The scenes where her father (lucky bastard) is raping her are easily the highlights of this otherwise pretty mundane movie. I wonder if her real dad George 'Buck' Flower ever had his knob up her sweet little bum when she was a gorgeous little girl ?, if he did he was a right lucky bastard ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

"The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea" was rubbish simply because it was made in England.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

"If Fassbinder suffered brain damage after snorting too much coke and penned a script that he had the slightly more talented heterosexual brother of Andy Milligan direct", hilarious Ty E, absolutely hilarious.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

"Aileen Wuornos masturbating to the film", i fell about laughing when i pictured that (it turned me on as well ! ! !).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Words and phrases like "incest" and "child sexual abuse" are directly derived from "THE TIME OF SEXUAL REPRESSION" that we were all unfortunate enough to be born into. 20 or 30 years from now when "THE TIME OF SEXUAL REPRESSION" has finally been brought to a thankful and merciful end it`ll be compulsory to have sex with your children to prepare them for the completely sex-based world that they will be growing up into ! ! !. A world where literally every concievable kind of heterosexual freedom has finally and thankfully materialised into reality and where all the lies and hypocrisy that plagued our time has been extinguished forever.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I really like those pictures of Millie lying down having the tattoo done, her body looks so stunning and sweet and soft, like i said even at 37 that bird was still a right fuckin` gorgeous little darlin`.