A young woman travels to a small California seaside town to visit her father, an artist. When she arrives at his home, she finds him missing and his home filled with numerous paintings of his creation. The woman decides to explore the town to find out what happened to her father and discovers some strange happenings involving the local populus.
I actually found this movie on a collection of classic horror movies 50 Pack Chilling Classics. Honestly, a movie this good (and old as this) was a surprising find. I own quite a few of these collections of old movies as there's just something about the cinematics, the acting, the original story line of these movies that I find endearing.
This movie chronicles a girl on a journey to a town that is seemingly gone mad. Her father has gone missing, she's befallen with bizarre dreams. She has ended up with three unsuspecting guests.
As the movie progresses, she reads letters written by her father, and strange happenings befall her. It seems that every 100 years or so the 'blood moon' makes everyone go mad for the desire to consume the flesh of living things.
This movie (and the story line) is quite horrific in a spine-tingling, suspenseful, repulsive kind of way. I would refer to it as an occult classic: zombies, the walking dead, cannibalism, and pure horror.
Although the movie is dated (1972)...in a way it's not. I don't understand why it was never ranked with movies like The Walking Dead...actually, I think this movie is even better.
As for the gothic romance elements...you have the unsuspecting girl who is lured to the strange town, and this huge, odd house by the sea, in search of her father. You have horror, suspense, murder, drugs, and a little bit of romance/sex appeal thrown into the mix of a town gone mad.
The most terrifying scenes, I think, occurred when one character found herself trapped inside a grocery store and attacked by cannibals; another when a girl finds herself trapped inside a movie theater with cannibals; and when a lead character hitchhikes with a man who is very weird to begin with but takes it to a horrific level when he grabs a rat and bites its head off!
I'd recommend this to any fan of horror movies and occult classics.
Below are pictures of the grocery store scene, where the main character finds herself trapped inside of a grocery store with meat-eating zombies who eventually attack her:
Alternate Cover Art: