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American Gothic : The Complete Series (DVD)

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“American Gothic” does start to run out of steam towards the middle of the series, so it might not have even managed to get to a second season, but one thing’s for sure – it deserved a lot better treatment than it did on telly first time around.


Gary Cole, Lucas Black, Paige Turco, Nick Searcy, Jake Weber, Brenda Bakke, Sarah Paulson, John Mese, Bruce Campbell, Muse Watson

The show my wife likes to say, “Made good use of vests” finally – after petition after petition, studio pleads and smothering hype – arrives on DVD.

Granted, Shaun ‘Hardy Boys’ Cassidy’s landmark “American Gothic” had much more than fashion sense. Yes, it may have had a shorter life than a pet mouse, but it also gave us one of the most memorable, most evocative and most well performed TV creepfests in years. Maybe it was just too ahead of its time. Today, it would unquestionably find a home on an audacious cable station.

Much like the recent “Firefly” (FOX), 1995’s “American Gothic” was treated appallingly by the network that aired it. Not only was the show taken off after only a few episodes – but also when it did run, it ran in the wrong order episodically.

Funnily enough, the episodes are shown out of order here on DVD too. Crazy. But at least they’re all here I suppose.

Set in Trinity, South Carolina, the creepy serial stars Gary Cole (then famous for his stint on late-night series “Midnight Caller”) as a Sheriff with an indiscernible set of horns. Yep, seems he’s Satan – or a close enough relative. The charismatic but strange law-enforcer is always up to something dodgy, and damn you to hell, if you’re going to get in his way.

Cole’s a powerhouse as Sheriff Lucas Buck. It’s easily his finest role. He’s perfect at playing the charmer, and just as sublime when it’s time to turn on the malevolence.

Lucas Black also made his big entrance here. The “Sling Blade” star plays Caleb, Lucas’s easy-swayed son. He can only turn the madman on quite well. The rest of the cast, including Paige Turco, Jake Weber and Brenda Bakke (rrr, break me off a bit of that!) are also peaking here.

“American Gothic” does start to run out of steam towards the middle of the series, so it might not have even managed to get to a second season, but one thing’s for sure – it deserved a lot better treatment than it did on telly first time around.

The discs could be better – but they’ll do. There’s noise, there’s grain and those that hate DVD-18’s will probably get rather mad with this offering as it tends to jump, involuntarily pause or sputter sometimes. The mono soundtrack isn’t that crash hot either.

Extras on the disc include an amusing and enlightening commentary from Shaun Cassidy (creator/writer/producer) and David Eick (producer), as well as four episodes that never aired on TV in the states (on it’s original run).

Not the best set we could have hoped for, but still fans, it’s here. Finally.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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