Blu-ray Review: AMERICAN HORROR PROJECT VOL. 1

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Arrow Films delivers an impressive movie triple bill with American Horror Project Vol. 1. The set includes three obscure horror curios from the 1970s and it’s a must-own collection for genre fans. The set includes Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood,The Witch Who Came from the Sea and The Premonition, three films which you may never have heard of, but they’re given room to shine in this special feature packed collection.

Christopher Spleeth’s Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood (1973) is by far the oddest of the three films. It has a loose narrative of a family looking for a missing daughter but it’s an expressionist fever dream of the grotesque. Matt Cimer’s The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976) is yet another challenging piece that sees a woman(Mollie Perkins) blend fantasy and reality in a small seaside town. The Premonition (Robert Allen Schnitzer, 1976) sees the kidnapping of a young girl and like the other films in the collection it bends conventions to breaking point.

American Horror Project Vol. 1 is a brave move for Arrow Films. These films are long forgotten horror low-budget films which fit into any of the genres’ many conventions. They’re art films that just happen to be classified as horrors but you can see each filmmaker pushing the boundaries of what financiers and exhibitors would find exceptional.

This collection is almost a mini film course, as the special features give detail, context and insight into each of the movies. You get a 60 page booklet on the films written by Kim Newman Kier-la Janiesse and Brian Albright, interviews with key cast and crew (including famed cinematographer Dean Cundey Witch) and commentaries for The Premonition and The Witch Who Came In From The Sea. The disc for Robert Allen Schnitzer’s film comes with three short films Vernal Equinox, Terminal Point and A Rumbling in the Land. There is also a selection of TV spots and stills galleries.

The films contained within American Horror Project Vol. 1 may be an acquired taste but there’s no denying that they’re horror films with a difference. The three films may not be the most commercial but they’ve been presented in a way that shows them in context, with a wealth of information about their production. It would have been easy to release these without any extras but they’ve not only been afforded a vast collection of special features, but they have also been given brand new 2K restorations. Roll-on American Horror Project Vol. 2.

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