American Gothic

American Gothic (1988)

Plot summary

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Cynthia (Sarah Torgov) is released from some sort of mental institution, where she's been since her baby accidentally drowned in the bathtub. She and hubby Jeff (Mark Ericksen) join two other couples — Terri (Caroline Barclay), Rob (Mark Lindsay Chapman), Lynn (Fiona Hutchison), and Paul (Stephen Shellen) — on a trip in a small plane, headed for a resort in the Pacific Northwest. Engine trouble forces an emergency landing on a remote island, populated only by a family of crazed religious zealots: Ma (Yvonne De Carlo, who'll make you think Lily Munster left Herman and turned Christian fundamentalist), Pa (Rod Steiger, chewing the scenery as even he's never done before), daughter Fanny (Janet Wright), whose fashion tastes run to vintage Little Orphan Annie, Woody (Michael J. Pollard, whose performance here makes all the rest of his nutso movie roles look like paragons of sanity), and Teddy (William Hootkins), a big, lunky moron. All three "kids" claim to be between eight and 11 years old, even though they're all somewhere around 50. Fanny also has a "baby" — a blackened, dried-up, little mummified baby. The family welcomes the group of young people into their home — which is frozen in time at around 1930-something, but without so much as electricity, or a phone... and the family refuses to hear any nonsense about current events of the day. After a creepy dinner filled with lots of Jesus-praising and admonitions about the evils of cigarettes and the virtues of being a member of "the clean-plate club," the visitors are rightfully weirded out, but have no choice — they spend the night. Sadly by the next night only one will be still be living as the others are somewhat sickeningly slain during the comming dawn by the closeted murderous psychosis of one family member after our 'guests' learn a disturbing secret behind this so-called perfect family.


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