DVD Short Take: THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA (1976)
Moviegoers in 1976 who expected the scythe, snake and severed head depicted in the Frank Frazetta-inspired publicity art for THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA (Subversive) to actually turn up in the film itself were given at least three reasons to dislike this moody, unsettling psychosexual drama by screenwriter Robert Thom (BLOODY MAMA, DEATH RACE 2000) and director Matt Cimber (known for his Pia Zadora and Laurene Landon star vehicles): no scythe, no snake, no severed head -- in fact, no horror movie at all. On the other hand, some could say that DVD buyers in 2004 (when this disc was released by the now defunct Subversive) were given wayyy too much information about this film’s true storyline and the main character’s motivation in Tim Lucas’ fine liner notes, which should’ve been placed inside the disc case or on the DVD itself and not used as back cover copy. Not content with seeing only this movie spoiled before the "play" button is even pushed, Subversive allowed Cimber and star Millie Perkins to ruin the surprise ending of the pair’s previous collaboration, LADY COCOA, in the serviceable 36-minute documentary “A Maiden’s Voyage.” Luckily, the good news outweighs the bad: the 2.35:1 transfer from the negative is 16x9 enhanced and will be an eye-opener for anyone familiar with the shoddy full frame Unicorn tape, which never convinced me that ace cinematographer Dean Cundey had come within a mile of this movie let alone acted as its associate d.p. Dialogue is low, the rest of the sound okay otherwise. Cundey appears in the aforementioned documentary and contributes to a group audio commentary with Cimber and Perkins that is informative at times but in need of a moderator and better sound recording. Previews for other Subversive titles and bios for Cimber, Perkins and Cundey are also included on this now out-of-print title.