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American Gothic

"Certain parents refuse to witness their children age..."

The plane used by a few adolescents during their vacation does not arrive at destination because of a mechanical problem. They land on an island that, at first glance, seems deserted.

Then, by walking around a bit, they discover a small home. Assuming it is abandoned, they enter without knocking and have fun by disguising themselves in clothes found in the home. Then, the people who actually live there enter the scene and the kids understand the mistake they have just made.

At first, the two senior citizens are hospitable yet a bit strict. Then, they order the guys to sleep far away from the girls, and early. Swear words are no longer permitted, prayer is required before supper and cigarettes are prohibited. They are then presented to the their three children. They have the maturity of children under the age of ten but are stuck in forty-something-adult bodies. It seems they parents prohibited them from aging.

Then, the murders begin. The children are a bit too aggressive and kill while playing. They seem to enjoy it and their physical strength makes their unconsciousness dangerous.





The lack of budget could lead us to believe that it is nothing more than an uninteresting and repetitive film but American Gothic reserves a few surprises for those seeking originality. The story reminds me of what is probably the best episode in the Tales From the Crypt series where Tim Curry was, simultaneously, the father (Pa), the mother (Ma) and the teenager (Wynona) in a family of farmers. Elements from both of these films bizarrely coincide.

The macabre element is not really the two aged parents stuck in time but more their three gray-haired children that act like pre-adolescents. It is not unrealistic seeing the context (deserted island, religious parents). The “young” girl is the worst of all. She talks like an eight-year-old and guards the mummified remains of a baby.

This whole masquerade pleased me regardless of the poverty of the images, the sound and the uni-dimensional group of teenagers. However, the unavoidable happens. It is a horror movie and murders are indispensable. Apart from the first, they are very badly orchestrated and it difficult to create the link between this adherence to religion and the thirst to kill. No one even attempts in explaining this fact. These five savage and corpulent countrymen take pleasure in their sadistic games to the end.

American Gothic is not a masterpiece but it is underestimated by horror fans or maybe it is only too unknown. My biggest deception was towards Michael J. Pollard, this pathetic actor who always interprets a mentally deficient character (Sleepaway Camp III: Teenager Wasteland). He cannot do anything other than play the imbecile when he is in front of the camera. The role of the child fits him perfectly seeing his history but it is very displeasing to watch him. What would explain and excuse his preceding roles would be the fact that he really is mentally retarded. Otherwise, I hope never to see his face again because he is the worst actor I have ever seen.

L'élément macabre ce n'est pas tellement ces deux vieillards pris dans le temps mais bien leurs 3 enfants aux cheveux grisonnant qui agissent comme des pré-adolescents. Et ce n'est pas si irréaliste vu le contexte (île déserte, parents religieux pratiquants). La "jeune" fille est la pire des trois. Elle parle comme un enfant de 8 ans et a même la garde du cadavre mommifié d'un bébé.

Toute cette mascarade me plaisait bien malgré la pauvreté des images, du son et l'unidimensionnalité du groupe d'adolescents. Mais l'inévitable se produit. C'est un film d'horreur et les meurtres sont indispensables. À part le premier, ils sont très mal orchestrés et il est difficile de faire le lien entre cette adhérance à la religion et la soif de meurtres. Il n'y a à aucun moment une tentative d'explication. Ces 5 campagnards sauvages et corpulents s'adonnent à leurs jeux sadiques jusqu'à la fin.

American Gothic n'est pas un chef-d'oeuvre mais il est sous-estimé par les fans d'horreur où peut-être juste trop peu connu. Ma plus grande déception se posait sur Michael J. Pollard, cette acteur pathétique qui interprète toujours un personnage mentalement insuffisant (Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland) . Il ne peut faire autre chose que l'imbécile lorsqu'il est devant la caméra et le rôle d'un enfant lui va bien mais vu son historique, il m'est très désagréable à regarder. À moins bien sur qu'il soit réelement déficient, ce qui expliquerait et excuserait ses rôles précédents. Autrement, j'espère ne plus jamais lui revoir le visage parce que c'est le pire acteur que je connaisse.

Final Thoughts

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Memorables aspects
- The "children", attaching one of the teenagers to a swing, cutting the ropes and projecting him off a cliff.
- Pa, renouncing his faith in God at the worst time.
- Cynthia and Fanny fighting to decide who will keep the mummified baby and tearing it in two.

Memorables characters

Released in: 1988

Movie type: Horror - Slasher - Thriller

Films in similar category:
My Bloody Valentine
Cherry Falls

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( 2002-04-29 )  

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