Macabre…ish Horror Review: American Gothic




American Gothic, 1987/ 1 hr 29 min

A group of 6 friends’(Cynthia {Sarah Torgov), Terri {Caroline Barclay}, Rob {Mark Lindsay Chapman}, Paul {Stephen Shellen}, Jeff {Mark Erickson} and Lynn {Fiona Hutchison}) on vacation, their plane makes an emergency landing on an island. When they search for help they find a cottage and meet the occupants, and elderly couple, Ma (Yvonne De Carlo) & Pa (Rod Steiger) and a daughter, Fanny (Janet Wright), who claims to be 12 while appearing to be middle aged and sons, Woody (Michael J. Pollard) and Teddy (William Hootkins).


Ma and Pa offer to let them spend the night but the rules are no smoking, swearing or sex. Men and women must sleep separately. The kids are oddly child like and still play as children, sort of. When Fanny and Woody are swinging, they offer to let Rob have a turn, only to cut the rope and send him off a cliff.


Fanny later offers to show Cynthia her baby which she assumes is a doll and it horrified to discover it’s a mummified infant, still kept in it’s crib. Cynthia later tells Jeff about it and Fanny is driven into a homicidal, jealous rage and attacks Jeff. Cynthia runs for her life and find Lynn hanging in a tree. Retribution for being overheard calling the family weird.


When Cynthia finds Terri, she is told the plane and Paul are missing. With one last desperate act to try to escape they face off with the family by taking Fanny hostage. But after the escape attempt fails and Terri dies and her remains, molested, it seems hopeless.


Cynthia surrenders to this disturbed family, becoming one of them but in her traumatized state, she will be the worst thing that ever happened to this family.