No, American Horror Project isn’t the latest instalment in the American Horror Story franchise, but the first in a new series of box-sets (from the UK’s premier cult cinema label Arrow Video) showcasing some of independent US horror’s more obscure tales of terror which have been rescued from the archives and resurrected in shiny new HD restorations.
Three unsung heroes from the 1970s appear in this first volume. The surreal Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood (1973) sees a family fall foul of cannibalistic ghouls (including Fantasy Island’s Hervé Villechaize) in a dilapidated fairground; while 1976’s The Witch Who Came from the Sea is an exploitation gem and a personal favourite of UK film critic Mark Kermode. This one finds Mollie Perkins (The Diary of Anne Frank) playing a disturbed woman whose violent fantasies start to bleed into reality. The last offering is The Premonition (1976), a tale of psychic terror in which a five-year-old girl (All in the Family’s Danielle Anne Brisebois) is snatched away by a woman claiming to be her biological mother.
Each film has been re-mastered from scratch with the involvement of the original filmmakers with new extras (including audio commentaries and galleries) that will hopefully give new voice to these underrated, unsung heroes of the horror exploitation genre.
American Horror Project is out on dual format (Blu-ray & DVD) from 22 February 2016