Films

A disturbing serial killer film that was pulled from cinemas has been released on DVD

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Tom Victor
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A disturbing serial killer film that was pulled from cinemas has been released on DVD

The UK might be leading the way on horror comedy, but when it comes to found footage horror films the US has long held the monopoly.

Cult serial killer film The Poughkeepsie Tapes has finally got its official DVD release, almost 10 years after it was first supposed to hit cinemas.

Directed by John Erick Dowdle, the film was originally due for a theatrical release in early 2008 before being pulled by studio MGM.

It is a documentary-style horror film, set in the United States, with supposed similarities to The Blair Witch Project and other early-2000s films.

According to a recent write-up from Variety, “It contains scenes that are so disturbing and profoundly unpleasant, it deserves a chance to frighten a wider audience”.

john-erick-dowdle

Director John Erick Dowdle is a horror specialist who also directed Quarantine in 2008 (Rex Features)

Reasons for its non-release in 2008 are unclear, with suggestions it was originally set to be pushed back to give it a release date closer to Halloween, but now it is finally available to pick up legitimately following a brief video-on-demand roll-out in 2014.

The fact that the original release remains somewhat shrouded in mystery has only added to the cult appeal of the film, which stars Stacy Chbosky and Ben Messmer and received a DVD roll-out this week.

Its original synopsis at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival reads as follows:

“When hundreds of videotapes showing torture, murder and dismemberment are found in an abandoned house, they reveal a serial killer’s decade-long reign of terror and become the most disturbing collection of evidence homicide detectives have ever seen.”

The Poughkeepsie Tapes has received mixed reviews, and is unlikely to trouble this list of the top-rated horror films of the 21st Century, though it certainly has its fans.

At the time of writing it holds a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, though Paul Donovan’s 2016 MoviePilot write-up described it as “one of the best horror films you may never see”.

That was last year, though, before the DVD release announcement. It’s now possible, thanks to Shout Factory’s horror brand Scream Factory, to buy the film and see for yourself.

(Main image: Shout Factory/MGM)