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American Gothic
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Reviews & Ratings for
American Gothic More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

* * out of 4

Author: Bleeding-Skull from Review Land
20 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After she's released from an insane asylum, Jeff, (Mark Ericksen) decides to take his wife Cynthia, (Sarah Torgov) along on a getaway to help her get used to company again. Bringing their friends Terri, (Caroline Barclay) Rob, (Mark Lindsay Chapman) Lynn, (Fiona Hutchison) and Paul, (Stephen Sheldon) they decide to camp out on a remote island like on their honeymoon. They realize that they're stranded when the plane breaks down and explore the island. They run across Pa, (Rod Steiger) and Ma, (Yvonne De Carlo) hermits who are barely into the 1920s and offer to take them in while they wait for help. The longer they stay, the more eccentric they seem, and it finally dawns on them that they're being slaughtered for not upholding their values, and try to escape the family.

Good performances from DeCarlo and & Steiger and a solid supporting cast raise this unpleasant, poorly scripted & directed film above the normal.

Rated R for Violence, Adult Themes and Profanity.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not Another One!!!!!!!

4/10
Author: Elswet from .: Fiendish Writings in the Dark :.
21 March 2007

This is nothing more than just another Texas Chainsaw Massacre ripoff, but wait...

Although this is really nothing more than what would seem to be an outright ripoff, there are some awesomely freaky implementations which elevate this beyond the label of ripoff. And, while I know it's common place as pie to take someone else's brain child and "improve" upon it until it resembles something original and creative, the improvements and innovations here ARE creative and original.

Is it worth your time? That depends on your level and personal tastes within the horror genre, and specifically the slasher/serial murderer sub-genres. You will have to judge that one for yourself.

Frankly, I'm a fan of both sub-genres and still hated this, because it's still a ripoff, and as such, rates a 4.4/10 from...

the Fiend :.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

S10 Reviews: American Gothic (1988)

6/10
Author: suspiria10 from The Void
31 December 2005

Three couples go on a weekend getaway for a bit of rest and relaxation. So they pack up the seaplane and head out down the coast to a secluded island. En route to the island the plane develops technical problems and force them to set down on another more desolate island. But lucky for them (or is it unlucky?) a house and family live on the island. Ma and Pa (Yvonne DeCarlo and Rod Steiger) live in their little backwoods slice of heaven complete with old, overgrown children and living by the good book. The perfect recipe for disaster.

'American Gothic' is a pretty standard late-80's slasher with all of the usual conventions. Is it outright bad? No. But it is a pretty mediocre entry. The acting ranges from bad to mid-ground. Steiger does a bit of his own brand of hamming it up. The writing is pretty standard. The tempo is steady with a couple of good kills (particularly the 'swing' one. The direction is solid with some lovely vistas of the Canadian coast but nothing really inventive. The reduction design shows it's z-grade budget but there is an occasional gore gag or two to spice things up. Lastly the music is pretty standard with that 'down home' flavor.

'American Gothic' is average in all respects but if you're a fan of 80's slashers you'll want to see it at some point. Acting: * * (OK) Writing / Direction: * * (OK) Technical Design: * * (OK) Music: * * (OK) - - - Overall: * * (OK)

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One of my favorites horror films of all time

7/10
Author: Diana from United States
15 September 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is a righteous hoot! I loved that hick family, and watching them bump off every idiot who came to their remote island was hysterical. The latest batch of idiots, a bunch of yuppie jerks out on a vacation, were so annoying that I was rubbing my hands in anticipation of them all getting slaughtered in creative ways. Really creative ways, if a little silly. but most horror movies are silly or cheesy in some way or another, it's to be expected.

I loved the human bodies that the overgrown kids played with as 'dolls'. Rod Steiger and Yvonne DeCarlo were hilarious as the Ma and Pa Kettle of Horror, and the over fifty 'kids' were deliciously funny as they romped and played and cut people up.But the person who stole the show was the woman who played the gentle, sad Sarah, a woman who'd had a mental breakdown when her baby died. The end of the movie is a scream, as Sarah loses her mind again(or does she?) and joins the family as one of their grown up children, then begins to wipe the family out one by one. The knitting needle scene is one of the best, especially when she goes around giggling and talking in a little girl voice as she finishes the whole psychotic family off in a matter of hours. You go girl!

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

American Gothic(1988)

1/10
Author: jan_18_1981 from United States
20 January 2005

This movie is awful...it makes one blow chunks. I just rented this as I'm a Horror movie fan and this piece of Garbage is just that garbage. The plot was bad,the acting terrible,there was no gore,suspense or real thrills. If anyone out there just rents horror movies on stormy,dark nights to get scared as I do...avoid this film as you will not get any thrills from it...makes one appreciate the fast forward button on the VCR. Its a big turkey...need I say more. I'm not one to criticize films or nothing but this one stunk. The deaths were faked and predictable....my cat shadow can out act the actors in this flick. Is this the only work Yvonne DeCarlo(The Munsters)could get. Lets just say if I was an actor in this turkey I would not want to put my real name or my name on the credits. This is one of the worst films I've ever seen...we can't forget Howard the Duck. I think that ones got to be the worst one out there but this ones up there on that scale.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Steiger and DeCarlo add class to otherwise ridiculous film

5/10
Author: rosscinema from United States
28 September 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

No one viewing this film for the first time is really expecting something high brow but the biggest disappointment may be that this doesn't even work as far as exploitation goes. The only redeeming factor are the two leads that reminds us what real acting and star power is. Story is about a woman named Cynthia (Sarah Torgov) who has just been released from a mental hospital after the accidental death of her baby and with her husband Jeff (Mark Ericksen) and two other couples they decide to go on a trip but their plane has engine problems and they are forced to land on a small island in British Columbia. While on the island they have a look around and find a house occupied by an older couple named Ma (Yvonne DeCarlo) and Pa (Rod Steiger) who have chosen to live their lives away from the modern world.

*****SPOILER ALERT*****

Ma and Pa don't have a phone or a radio so the bunch have no choice but to stay with them and while there they meet their middle aged children who act and dress like small infants. Fanny (Janet Wright), Woody (Michael J. Pollard), and Teddy (William Hootkins) are all around 50 but play children's games to kill each person one by one. Finally Cynthia is the last person alive with this demented family and in her psychotic state she becomes the new member of the brood!

This film is directed by John Hough who had a good start in his career but starting in the late 70's and early 80's he was relegated to television and very low budget films. This is one of those films and for the most part Hough never really establishes any type of effective mood and what little eeriness there is comes from Franny as she shows her dead baby. All of the young actors seem capable but it's the performance of Torgov that stands out among them as she gives a more animated effort in the film. But for many of us the reason to view this is because of the casting of Steiger and DeCarlo and with their presence they own this silly film. While some of the lines they speak are pretty cheesy they still bring an important factor and it actually elevates the material and brings it up to some sort of camp value. With the absence of nudity and the moderate amount of blood on screen this film clearly doesn't work on an exploitation level but I am recommending it because I can't see how horror film lovers can pass this up when they see who the two leads are.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not a thrill or chill in sight, but plenty of laughs for fans of bad horror flicks.

3/10
Author: Jesse Dorland from Idaho, USA
2 November 1999

American Gothic is consistently awful as a horror film, but is nonetheless an entertaining picture, thanks to an almost constant supply of unintentional humor.

Six friends fly off for a camping trip, but when their seaplane suffers engine trouble, they are forced to land on the beach of a remote island. While Jeff (Mark Ericksen) tries to repair the aircraft, the others set up camp nearby. Naturally, one of the friends ventures into the forest alone (what else would you do on a mysterious island where anything can happen?), leading to the first of many situations which are intended to be frightening but fall flat.

When the six meet up again at camp, Jeff informs the group that he cannot fix the plane. He suggests that they explore the island. In true horror movie fashion, Jeff proposes that one member of the party stay behind to keep an eye on the plane. Of course, no one sees any harm in leaving Paul (Steven Shelley) all by himself in a completely unfamiliar area, and so the other five set off in search of someone who can help them.

The group's expedition leads to the discovery of a small house, straight out of the 1920s. They assume that no one has lived there for ages, though logic dictates that someone must reside there, as all of the antique furniture is dust-free. Nevertheless, they put a record on the victrola and proceed to get their groove on. Their dance party is cut short by the arrival of the house's inhabitants -- two elderly folk known simply as Ma (Yvonne De Carlo) and Pa (Rod Steiger). They seem a nice enough sort. Pa informs the group that a friend of his should be coming by boat within the next few days, and could probably help them get home. Ma and Pa invite the kids to stay with them in the meantime, and they accept.

All is not well, however. The kids' modern lifestyle immediately clashes with Ma and Pa's traditional values. Pa nearly has a heart attack when Lynn (Fiona Hutchinson) lights a cigarette at the dinner table, and Ma is very disappointed in Cynthia (Sarah Torgov) when she fails to clean her plate. Bedtime brings more conflict, as Pa sternly informs Rob (Mark Lindsay Chapman) and Terri (Caroline Barclay) that they are to sleep in separate rooms, for they are not married. (Strangely, Jeff and Cynthia are married, yet they are also forced to sleep apart.) Ma and Pa's children soon enter the picture, and the group's suspicions that something isn't quite right are confirmed. To reveal more would give much of the plot away, but suffice it to say that things begin to go downhill for our friends at this point.

The characters are about as deep as a kiddy pool. That is not so unusual for a horror movie, but a problem arises from the film's feeble attempt to inject depth into the character of Cynthia. Periodic flashbacks to a traumatic event in Cynthia's life are supposed to make us feel for the character, but fail miserably. The movie does manage to evoke emotion in the viewer from time to time, but it has nothing to do with the filmmakers' talents, and everything to do with Steiger's. He actually manages to make the viewer sympathize with Pa and his psychopathic clan. The rest of the performances are unremarkable, but acceptable, given how little the actors have to work with.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Bit of a stinker

2/10
Author: FortySecondStreetFreak from England
9 September 2009

How did director John "Twins of Evil" Hough sink to this dull, ponderous, by the numbers, 80's American horror fluff? Oh dear!

The last 15 minutes picks up and opens up a suitably macabre world, but there is nothing here really. Low gore, rushed deaths and ending, tired direction, overly slow build-up, annoying acting (Michael J. Pollard is only slightly less awful than he was in "Sleepaway Camp 3"), slumming thesps (Rod Steiger and Yvonne De Carlo, though at least Steiger has a better wig this time than he did in "The Kindred").

All in all it's just a passionless splodge of smelly blandness thrown at your TV screen, that was actually a good signpost to the (mostly) awful decade to come as far as American horror films went.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

"Well Give Him A Hand, Rob!"

2/10
Author: clockwork8812 from USA
20 April 2005

WARNING: SPOILERS

That John Denver looking dude with the cheesy glasses had me cracking up whenever he said something during the movie, which unfortunately didn't happen very often. That's what they should have done, just have him mouthing off lines left and right and this movie would've been nominated in 1988 for best comedy of the year. Unfortunately, that didn't happen either. This movie just flat out sucks and here's why: the idea of having modern day people stumble across a time warp was a very interesting idea. But the screenplay by Burt Wetanson and Michael Vines kills it. For example, when the "gang" land on the island with their seaplane during engine trouble, their captain Mark Ericksen tries to fix it. O.K. cool. Then he says, "There's power there, but the instruments won't respond." Right. These idiots have a flare gun but don't shoot off a distress signal right away, which is what they should be doing. Then hotshot Ericksen tells John Denver, I mean Stephen Shellen, "I think we better check out this island and see what we can find, but you stay here with the plane until we get back." Stay here with the plane until we get back? Yeah, like someones gonna come along and steal their plane after it's broken down in the middle of nowhere.But John Denver agrees, which makes this movie un-realistic right off the bat. To make events more unbelievable, they then leave the yuppie back at the plane for the next two days while they're hanging out at Ma and Pa's house! That's why I was laughing out loud when he showed up dead later in the rowboat. In a way though, you gotta feel sorry for these B-actors who get these lousy scripts. The screen writers ruin good ideas and make jokes out of people's careers. That's why whenever you look at some of these actors resumes, they only appear in a certain number of movies and then disappear. One thing I did like about the movie was the photography by Harvey Harrison which at times is breathtaking. Even that nice shot of Seattle is cool. Too bad there's nothing else about this movie to recommend.

Score, 2 out of 10 Stars

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"There will be no devil's play in this house."

Author: Backlash007 from Kentucky
11 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

~Spoiler~

American Gothic is a film where everything the characters do defies all logic. In most slasher-esquire movies, characters do stupid things. It's a given. I actually enjoy the one stupid character. But here, all the characters are the stupid character. From the moment they are introduced, you want to see them killed. American Gothic starts out with a group of friends leaving for vacation who are forced to land on an uninhabited island due to engine trouble. They find a house in the woods, and what do they do? They walk right in and make themselves at home. The 30 somethings start to dance and party and make a mess. Who acts like this? I'm telling you they deserve everything they get. Our "sympathetic" heroine may be the worst. She caused the death of her own baby because she left it unattended in the bathtub while she answered the phone. What? You mean babies can't swim on their own? I just hated every character in this flick. One poor guy is left to watch the boat while the others stay at the house for DAYS. No one mentions the guy or thinks he might be hungry. I couldn't believe the sloppy writing of this thing. There was potential here, but it all got wasted. Rod Steiger and Yvonne De Carlo make the most with their villainous roles, but even they can't save the day. Janet Wright, Michael J. Pollard, and the late William Hootkins are extra creepy as the "children." I'm used to a better caliber of film from director John Hough.

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