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Film / The Witch Who Came from the Sea

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The Witch Who Came From The Sea is a 1976 American Psychological Horror film produced and directed by Matt Cimber and starring Millie Perkins (best known for The Diary of Anne Frank). It tells the story of Molly, a psychologically troubled California waitress whose unresolved sexual trauma from her incestuously abusive father drives her to madness and murder. It was listed on the original list of Video Nasties but never successfully prosecuted, and nowadays is considered a Cult Classic with more psychological depth and artistic ambition than your average Rape and Revenge Exploitation Film.The film is available for streaming on Tubi.


Tropes featured in this film include:

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  • Anti-Villain: Molly has many sympathetic qualities despite being Axe-Crazy.
  • Contemptible Cover: The movie poster (featuring a much more intimidating interpretation of Molly waving a scythe and brandishing a severed head) is far more lurid than the psychologically-oriented plot of the actual movie.
  • Cool Aunt: Molly dearly loves her two young nephews.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Molly has been through a lot.
  • Elemental Motifs: Water. The story is set in a seaside town and many scenes take place on the beach, Molly's abusive father was a sailor, and there are repeated references to mermaids. The film also features the commonly water-associated themes of femininity, sorrow, and hidden danger.
  • Female Gaze: The scene of Molly ogling the hunks on the beach, before it becomes clear that something is askew with Molly's ideas of sexuality.
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  • Groin Attack: With a razor blade.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Molly's history of sexual abuse left her with some wires crossed. It doesn't end well.
  • The Ophelia: Molly is an attractive, at times waifishly vulnerable woman who is thematically associated with water. She's also quite insane.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Molly is a sweet, vulnerable, TV-obsessed, Axe-Crazy lust-murderer.
  • Rape Leads to Insanity: The heart of Molly's issues.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Molly may be a deranged murderess, but she has a compelling Freudian Excuse and is given a great deal of narrative sympathy.

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