Three Seattle couples venturing on a camping trip divert their engine-troubled airplane to a desolate island off the magnificent Pacific Northwest only to be greeted by a backward family, the island’s only inhabitants, who persist in a primitive 1920s standstill.  This campy campfire horror of sanctimonious slayers features the incandescently beautiful Yvonne DeCarlo of “The Munster’s” and the renowned Rod Steiger of The Amityville Horror as the parents of three middle-aged children who remain mentally stagnant since childhood.

 

 

 

Bloody Rundown

American Gothic 4

Not to be mistaken by the famed 1930 Grant Wood painting (or the 1995 horror series of the same name), this American Gothic was panned by critics and audiences alike, unjustifiably so.  With its original storyline, quirky script, creative kills, and extraordinary acting, John Hough’s American Gothic bewilders and bizarrely induces simultaneous laughs and frights.  Despite its parodied title, American Gothic is indeed Canadian, and, alas, part of a conglomerate of the sorely underrated horrors that hail from the Great White North.  

The performances are altogether wonderfully weird and exceptional with middle-aged Janet Wright bravely depicting the incestuous eleven-year-old Fanny, sister to Woody and Teddy, authentically portrayed by dedicated character actors Michael J. Pollard and William Hootkins, respectively.  The gifted and intense Academy Award winning Rod Steiger gives yet another vivid performance breathing life into paranoid Pa, the patriarch of this demented family.  In spite of some critics, however, Italy’s Fantafestival appreciated the ensemble and aptly awarded Yvonne DeCarlo Best Actress for her role as Ma!

 

 

Deadly Details


American Gothic 7

Director ∞ John Hough

Producers ∞ Christopher Harrop and John Quested

Screenwriters ∞ Burt Wetanson and Michael Vines

Music ∞ Alan Parker

Cinematographer ∞ Harvey Harrison

Editor ∞ John Victor-Smith

Special Effects ∞ Allen Benjamin 

Distributor ∞ Vidmark Entertainment

Release Date ∞ May 1988american-gothic 1

Running time ∞ 89 min.

Country ∞ Canada / UK

Language ∞ English

Cast ∞

Rod Steiger as Pa

Yvonne DeCarlo as Ma

Sarah Torgov as Cynthia

Janet Wright as Fanny

Michael J. Pollard as Woodyamerican gothic 3

William Hootkins as Teddy

Mark Erickson as Jeff

Caroline Barclay as Terri 

Fiona Hutchison as Lynn 

Stephen Shellen as Paul 

Mark Lindsay Chapman as Rob 

Terence Kelly as Psychiatrist