Along with Axe, The Messiah of Evil and Let's Scare Jessica To Death, one of a handful of great, trippy american horror films. They tap into the kind of horror/unease that lurks beneath idyllic places and conceptions of the American lifestyle. They sort of mess with our notion of vacation spots as well as tapping into unconscious fears, which is a fascinating cross-section of uniquely American horror films.
The only Matt Cimber film I saw before this one was BUTTERFLY with the improbable couple Orson Welles (groumpf) and Pia Zadora (YES). What drove my attention to THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA was that its video had a few problems with the American censors back in the 70's because of the themes handled (incest and emasculation). Now if you skip these scenes, there's nothing to save here. A DVD zone curios.
There's a seriously haunting atmosphere to this movie, which I'm not sure is entirely intentional, but renders it unforgettable all the same. The overwhelming aura of misogyny is well handled, and it's lazy California atmosphere suggests Repulsion as done by Val Lewton and James Ellroy! At least one set-piece (the slow motion double murder) is a stone cold classic.
I love scouring cinema's sea floor looking for bottom feeders - because every once in a while, films here find the freedom to address narratives that cut to the heart of human experience, but are too dangerous for mainstream tastes (or budgets). TWWCFTS addresses childhood trauma and incest with a degree of reflection, and requisite panic and horror, that is absolutely needed. Despite the obvious flaws, recommended.