Restrained by American Horror Project standards, Arrow’s The Premonition is nevertheless an impressively delirious example of 1970’s psycho cinema.
The final film in Arrow’s new American Horror Project reissues is considerably more conventional than either Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood or The Witch Who Came from the Sea, and – coincidentally – the least interesting of the bunch. Not that The Premonition, made in 1975, isn’t pretty oddball by modern standards – another carnival movie, this has its fair share of demented moments, many delivered by Ellen Barber, who gives a quite extraordinary performance as Andrea Fletcher, discharged from the mental hospital but still not quite right in the head. Obsessed with getting back her daughter, now adopted by white bread couple Miles and Sherry Bennett (Edward Bell and Sharon Farrell), she hooks up with equally psychotic circus clown Jude (Richard Lynch) and sets off in search of the girl. Things go rapidly downhill from hereon in, and the film’s best moments involve the confrontations (real and imagined) between the two mothers and the disintegrating relationship between Jude and Andrea – Lynch taking his character from sympathetic and seemingly normal to full on psycho quite effectively.
This is very much 1970s PG horror – little blood, no sex but still entirely warped and doubtless traumatising for any kids in the audience (especially given the child kidnap theme). The psychic aspect of the story that inspires the title is a little underdeveloped and the ending falls a bit flat, but Robert Schnitzer directs with an efficient if unremarkable style (compared to the other two films i the series, this seems very staid – but then, most films would) and it’s never dull.