The Witch Who Came from the Sea

Wicked Wednesday: The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976)

One of the best television shows right now has to be GLOW on Netflix. The combination of humour, lady power and big 80’s hair is a solid win. The original 1980’s version (Glorious Ladies of Wrestling) was a weird, wonderful thing and the Netflix show does a great job in creating its mostly-fictional backstory.

But the best thing about either show is the characters.

Marc Maron’s character Sam Sylvia is a b-movie, exploitation director looking to work on something that will bring him glory like his previous films. Sam is one of the stand-outs in a great cast, and was based on the show’s real director. In reality, the 80’s G.L.O.W. was directed by Matt Cimber who, if you can see where this is going, directed this week’s movie – The Witch Who Came from the Sea.

Molly (Millie Perkins) is just like any other girl. She loves her two nephews, taking walks by the seashore, a nice drink.  She also enjoys taking pills, envisioning gruesome deaths and maiming the men she dates! So, well, like some girls, I guess.

One day, Molly takes her nephews to the sea. As she plays with them, she’s distracted by the men working out nearby (and, well, with packages like that – it’s really, really for anyone not to stare). But her fantasies are not strictly sexual, instead she envisions them hung, squashes and generally just super-dead.

But her nephews don’t seem to notice their aunt’s distant look. They continue to ask questions about their grandfather, who had passed away years before. Molly tells them wonderful things about him: he was a brave sailor who was lost at sea all too soon. But her sister, the boys’ mother, really disagrees. She’s vocal about her animosity towards her late father.

Molly is obsessed with television. She spends a lot of her time watching it and drinking. She’s particularly keen on a man in a shaving commercial and two American football players. While watching highlights from a game, she begins (apparently) fantasize about being alone in a hotel room with the two football players. Again, a seemingly sexual scene ends up with her taking a razor blade to one of the men’s legs.

It’s later revealed that both men were found dead together in a hotel room, which begs the question whether Molly is actually having a fantasy – or has actually killed these two men. It’s definitely the latter. Some of Molly’s clothes are found in the hotel room, and they are brought to Molly’s sister, who mends clothes. The police begin to suspect the sister plays a part, but can’t pin much more on her.

Other than imagining the gruesome deaths of men, Molly’s other pastime is working in a local bar. Her boss, Long John, is sleazy, but cares for Molly. He also sleeps with her, which probably helps.

At the bar one night, Molly meets b-movie actor who starred in cowboy films. She’s invited to a party at his. When the start to get intimate, Molly tries to bite off his balls. Shocked, the actor tries to throw her off, but his attempts at self-defense come off as abusive, and when the other party guests overhear the argument, they assume that Molly is the innocent one.

Later on, Molly gets the tattoo of a large mermaid across her stomach, despite telling her nephews earlier that they are dirty. But she tells more stories about her father, and the picture begins to emerge that she was raped by her father as a child. But she has deep love, and complex feelings for him still.

But Molly’s dreams come true when she finally gets a chance with the razor ad man. I told you, this girl loves television. She does her best to get rid of his girlfriend, who isn’t so happy when she discovers she’s been replaced by Molly. When the girlfriend shoots at her ex’s car, both he and her are arrested and kept under the suspicion of the football players’ deaths.

Molly becomes upset when she can’t get a hold of her razor ad man. She begins to imagine him slitting his own throat with the razor. Apparently really into the idea, Molly doesn’t think of anything else. When she finally catches up with her boy, she insists that she helps him shave…then kills him, of course, but slitting him from top to bottom (and lord knows what she does down there).

When Molly wakes up, she’s in Long John’s bed, covered in blood. Despite trying to play it off, LJ knows she’s not innocent. And her sister also knows something is wrong. And soon Molly’s world beings its demise.

In a flashback scene, it’s revealed that Molly’s father died while he raped her, and he had a mermaid tattoo on his stomach – just like the one Molly received. She eventually shares the (vague) truth with Long John and one of her trusted fellow barmaids, and when she wants to OD on pills, they let her.

It’s quite a sad demise. Despite the fact that she murdered those men, you can’t help but feel for the woman. The Witch Who Came from the Sea was a original a video nasty in the UK, but was unsuccessfully prosecuted. And while some parts made me a bit ill, there really isn’t anything super graphic here (though the images conjured up by the imagination is bad enough).

Everything about the film screams 70s, including the smart commentary. Molly’s victims treat her like an object in the bedroom, just like her father did. Despite her efforts to take control sexually, the men are more frightened and disgusted by her power instead of turned on.

The Witch Who Came from the Sea, to me, felt like the poems you had to read a school. You know there’s supposed to be something more hidden in the words, but the metaphors don’t quite make sense. But when the last shot shows Molly alone on a raft on the ocean, it’s clear that she finally received the peace and freedom she couldn’t find in life.

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