DARK AUGUST (1976) Reviews and overview


‘A month of insane terror leads to a night of Bloody Revenge!!!’

Dark August is a 1976 American supernatural horror feature film written and directed by Martin Goldman. The Raffia Productions movie stars Kim Hunter, J.J. Barry, Carolyne Barry [as Carole Shelyne] and Kate McKeown.


Illustrator Sal DeVito (J.J. Barry) moves from New York city to a peaceful small town in Vermont to escape the stress of big city life. Unfortunately, he accidentally runs over and kills a young girl (Karen Lewis) when she runs out onto the street.

Although Sal is found to be blameless, the girl’s grandfather (William Robertson) places a vengeful curse on him…

New release:

On June 25, 2019, Dark August is released by Arrow Video as part of the American Horror Project Volume 2 Blu-ray collection.

  • Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
  • High Definition Blu-ray presentation
  • Original uncompressed PCM mono audio
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil
  • American Horror Project Journal Vol. II limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing on the films by Stephen R. Bissette, Travis Crawford and Amanda Reyes
  • Filmed appreciation by Stephen Thrower
  • Brand new audio commentary with writer-director Martin Goldman
  • Brand new on-camera interview with Martin Goldman
  • Brand new on-camera interview with producer Marianne Kanter
  • The Hills Are Alive: Dark August and Vermont Folk Horror author and artist Stephen R. Bissette on Dark August and its context within the wider realm of genre filmmaking out of Vermont
  • Original Press Book

Reviews [click links to read more]:

Goldman’s direction is especially good, with some good angles and a lack of noisy musical score. The opening credits show a farmhouse against a sunset, and all the viewer hears is the wind. He returns to these types of quiet scenes often, and they work. The hooded figure scenes are chilling and creepy.” Charles Tatum

” …it wasn’t terrible, and it starts out pretty strong and has a neat premise. I can see how a lot of people might like this one, but it just didn’t do a lot for me.” Dread Central

” …seemingly inspired in part by Robert Altman’s Images with its photography that often captures characters through windows and other glass surfaces – is a horror-tinged examination of encroaching middle age and the fear of not living up to one’s potential…” DVD Drive-In

” …conclusion unfortunately felt a little weak even if it was unexpected. This is probably due to the lack of real cursed action throughout the film however the downward spiral of Sal’s life is actually handled well.” Horror Cult Films

” …more art house than exploitation. It’s the characters that are important here, and the everyday problems they have to deal with that may just have been added to by a vengeful spirit. How much you’ll like it will depend on your predilection for character-led pieces…” House of Mortal Cinema

“The first half of Dark August was pretty great, I though–artfully filmed, well-scripted and paced, believably acted, giving us some cool creepy occult curse action in dribs and drabs. But unfortunately the film never really delivers on its promise of Eeevil Wizardry and demonic dispensation…” Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies

” …it’s a spooky and memorable little film that has stuck in more than a few viewers’ heads over the years. Much of that impact may have to do with the eerie central concept itself (basically a riff on Curse of the Demon) and a spectacularly strange and aggressive music score…” Mondo Digital

“Failing to mine any real tension or dread from an intriguing premise, Dark August is a bit of patience tester, but you have to give Goldman credit for aiming high with a movie that stylistically apes Robert Altman with its wandering zoom lens and overlapping dialogue…”  The Movie Waffler

“Unspectacular perhaps, and lacking a satisfying ending, Dark August is nevertheless a decent, well-acted tale of guilt, vengeance and witchcraft. Add to this an attractively photographed, unfamiliar small-town milieu (Stowe, in Vermont) and a gentle critique of prejudice against the  occult, and you have a quietly unsettling genre piece with a few jolting surprises and enough brooding menace to infiltrate the sleepy pacing” Stephen Thrower, Nightmare USA

Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

“The scares are at a minimum and the few that it does have aren’t real frightening. The hooded figure that Sal keeps seeing in the distance has a creepy quality to it, but the film should have done more with it.” Scopophilia

“Compelling but none too scary, in part due to Barry’s unlikable lead. Still, it’s competently made, mounts some effective suspense, and fascinates with its manifest dread of the very land and people its brutish urban protagonist aches to live among.” Temple of Schlock

Cast and characters:

  • Kim Hunter … Adrianna Putnam – The Black Cat short (1993); The Wide World of Mystery TV series; Night Gallery TV series; The Planet of the Apes and sequels; The Alfred Hitchcock Hour TV series
  • J.J. Barry … Sal Devito
  • Carolyne Barry … Jackie (as Carole Shelyne) – Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series
  • Kate McKeown … Lesley
  • Frank Bongiorno … Theo
  • William Robertson … The Grandfather
  • Richard Allan Fay … Paul
  • Martin Harvey Friedberg … Tavern Drunk
  • Kenneth W. Libby … Sheriff
  • Stan Shefler … First Deputy Sheriff
  • Kenneth Kaplan … Second Deputy Sheriff
  • Gerry Lou … Accountant
  • Randie Wilder … Sales Girl
  • Karen Lewis-Attenborough … The Child (as Karen Lewis)
Plus: The Killer Snakes

Filming locations:

Stowe, Vermont

Fun Facts:

Reportedly filmed in 1975 under the title The Hant.

Image credits: The Movie Waffler | Temple of Schlock | Todocollecion | Video Collector