American Gothic – UK, Canada, 1988 – overview and reviews

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‘The family that slays together stays together’

American Gothic – aka Hide and Shriek and Dark Paradise is a 1988 Canadian/British horror feature film written by Burt Wetanson and Michael Vines and directed by John Hough (Twins of EvilThe Legend of Hell HouseIncubus). It stars Rod Steiger (The Amityville Horror), Yvonne DeCarlo (The Munsters) and Michael J. Pollard.

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A group of prosperous young people plan a camping trip in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, but they are forced to make an emergency landing on an isolated island.

They end up staying at a house run by the old-fashioned Ma (Yvonne De Carlo) and Pa (Rod Steiger), an elderly couple who seem to have stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Little do the group know that Ma and Pa are also the heads of a vicious serial killing family…


The poster and all other related media art were based on Grant Wood’s famous painting by the same name. The British VHS cover art was supplied by Graham Humphreys.


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Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

“I was constantly entertained by the exploration of the American family in this movie and at times was reminded of Spider Baby or some of John Waters films. If you don’t take it too seriously there is a lot of fun to be had here.” Horrorphilia

“Overall this is a pitiful attempt at horror movie making. It fails to be either offbeat or scary and only succeeds at becoming mind-numbingly sterile.” Scopophilia

If you can push aside your pity for the career lows of DeCarlo and Steiger (Steiger speaks his lines in a slow twang that personifies boredom), you may enjoy this little flick for its outright silliness and twist end.” Videohound’s Complete Guide to Cult Flicks and Trash Pics

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Wood’s Original Painting

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