There are plenty of horror films which promise to be the scariest of the year, and yet most fall short of actually sparking that fright. But then there are some filmmakers who try and live up to that expectation, only to have their movie banned from theatres and no one is allowed to witness true horror.
That's what writer and director John Erick Dowdle endured more than a decade ago when his movie The Poughkeepsie Tapes was blocked from the public.
It was a documentary-style horror film, like The Blair Witch Project or [Rec] which follows a New York police investigation after officers discover 800 video tapes from a serial killer hellbent on creating snuff films of all his murders.
Check out the trailer here:
Credit: MGM/Shout Factory
The tapes show the abduction, torture, murder and even the mutilations done on the victims once they're dead. If you're looking for a cheeky taste of just how fucked up this movie goes, here's an excerpt from the synopsis: "The killer performed a C-section on the female, placing the severed head of her husband inside her womb before sewing her up again to later rouse her from unconsciousness and film her reaction."
The movie is reportedly loosely based on an actual serial killer from Poughkeepsie, New York, Kendall Francois, who murdered eight women from 1996 to 1998. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and died in 2014 at the Wende Correctional Facility.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes was finished in 2007 and slated for theatrical release the following year, but Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer removed it from its schedule, I wonder why. It had a second shot at life in July 2014 when it was due to be released via DirecTV as a video on demand, but alas, yet again it was pulled.
Finally, after 10 years of hiding, it will finally get a public viewing after Shout Factory organised a world-wide release on DVD. The news as certainly delighted some fans, with one writing: "I've never been more excited for a Blu-ray! Thank you so much for finally giving this soon-to-be cult classic its first Home Video release!"
Credit: Shout Factory
Another commented: "One of the few films to scare me...and I mean TERRIFY!"
So if you've been trawling through video stores (do they even exist anymore) or on streaming services trying to find the most terrifying horror film, then look no further, because if the synopsis is anything to go by, you'll need clean underwear after watching it.
Sources: Shout Factory