Alongside the Blair Witch Project, The Last Broadcast and other found-footage horror from the last couple of decades, The Poughkeepsie Tapes has always had somewhat of a mythos surrounding it — mainly due to it being yanked from release in early 2008, gifting it with a cult following of horror hounds.
The documentary-style gore fest has become a favorite among horror fans for its terrifying premise and mysterious circumstances surrounding its release. It's the work of director John Erick Dowdle — who went on the direct Quarantine and Devil — and is a found-footage horror fest within a mockumentary. It follows a group of police after they raid a home in northern New York, only to uncover hours and hours of vile snuff VHS tapes from an unknown #serialkiller depicting torture, murder, dismemberment, mutilation and the disposal of bodies.
Federal law enforcement then have to sift through the 800 tapes and try and identify the victims, as well as who committed these gruesome and horrific crimes, as the serial killer only ever appears on camera disguised in a white mask or dressed like a plague doctor. A famously grotesque scene from the movie involves the killer performing a C-section on an unconscious young woman, then placing her husband's severed head inside her stomach, before sewing her back up and filming her response. The movie is also loosely based on a real serial killer from Poughkeepsie, but elements from many terrifying historical serial killers were used to demonstrate the brutality of the man behind the camera.
In spite of promotional advertising, #ThePoughkeepsieTapes was pulled from release by MGM in early 2008, for reasons that still remain unclear to this day. In 2014, the movie was released once again through video on demand, but was again removed by MGM a month later.
Now, a full 10 years after the film was scheduled to be released, genre distributer Scream Factory has given the movie the wide release it's always been denied, and released the film on October 10 — just in time for #Halloween! Now you can own this slice of cult horror for yourself on DVD, or enjoy it in vivid HD if you so desire on Blu-ray. The release of the film also comes with new interviews from writer/director John Erick Dowdle, writer/producer Drew Dowdle and actress Stacy Chbosky.
Do you think The Poughkeepsie Tapes is terrifying AF?