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The Kindred (1987) Review

The Kindred is a classic horror movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It tells the story of a family who moves into a new home only to find out that it is haunted by a dark past. The acting is top notch and the suspense is palpable. The ending is a bit of a letdown, but overall this is a great film that is well worth watching.

The Kindred to me is an 80’s b-movie classic, which perhaps looks somewhat dated by modern standards but nevertheless is still great. The creature is really the star of the movie, it has a Lovecraftian quality about it, half human-half seamonster. Whilst it’s a shame we don’t get to see more of it, what we do get to see is fine. I would hate to imagine what The Kindred would look like to today if it was remade. It’d no doubt be lavished with liberal helpings of CGI, annoying teenagers and OTT camera cuts all over the place. In my humble opinion the 80’s was a golden time for horror b-movies and The Kindred can take it’s place alongside some of the great titles from that time period.

That’s not to say it’s flawless; it’s not the best paced of movies. The first half of the movie is really about setting up the characters and trying to create intrigue with regards to John’s mother and her experimentation. Whilst this does work to some extent it could probably have done with a little less and focused more on delivering shocks n horror. Having said that when The Kindred gets going, it really gets going. There’s some pretty gruesome imagery in this flick, I won’t spoil it for ya but some of the death scenes are brilliant for an 80’s b-movie.

The acting quality is a bit here n there, generally it’s fine and b-movie aficionado’s certainly aren’t going to be unhappy. Quality actor Rod Steiger makes an appearance as the shifty, devilish Dr. Phillip Lloyd and puts in a convincing performance (like he usually does). There’s also English actress Amanda Pays who’s the enigmatic Melissa Leftridge, a big devotee to John’s mothers work. Her performance is decent also. Most of the other cast are decent enough, perhaps nothing spectacular but certainly decent.

Sadly The Kindred is a difficult movie to get a hold of. There are a few old VHS copies floating around and a less than amazing Australian bootleg but surely it’s time we were treated to a solid DVD/Blu-ray transfer of this old 80’s classic. I believe Synapse have the rights to this movie, although I’d need to verify that, hopefully we’ll get some info on this soon. Until then keep your fingers crossed. If you do get a chance to see it count yourself lucky. This one is definitely recommended!

UPDATE: I’ve contacted Synapse Films and can confirm they hold the rights to the movie. They plan to release, once the producer has put some legal issues to order. Hopefully there will be an announcement soon. One of director Stephen Carpenter’s other movies The Dorm that Dripped Blood is due for release soon through Synapse also. Details here:

The Kindred is a film that will stay with you long after you watch it. It is a well-crafted horror movie that will keep you guessing until the very end. The acting is superb, and the suspense is palpable. The ending is a bit of a letdown, but overall this is a great film that is well worth watching.


The Kindred is a 1987 American horror film directed by Stephen Carpenter and Jeffrey Obrow. The film stars Shannen Doherty, Alyssa Milano, and David Keith.

The film tells the story of two teenage girls, Alice (Doherty) and Dana (Milano), who are abducted by a family of inbred cannibals while on a camping trip. The girls are put through a series of horrific tortures, and Dana is eventually killed and eaten. Alice manages to escape and is rescued by a search party, but the experience has left her traumatized.

The film received mixed reviews from critics, but has since gained a cult following.

Movie Details

Director: Stephen Carpenter
Writers: Stephen Carpenter, Jeffrey Obrow, John Penney, Earl Ghaffari, Joseph Stefano
Actors: David Allen Brooks, Talia Balsam, Timothy Gibbs, Rod Steiger
Release Year: 1987