This was one of those lost-in-the-shuffle late '80s horror flicks that cluttered the rental shelves at the end of that decade, and casual browsers would be easily forgiven for passing "American Gothic" over as just another corny slasher toplined by some slumming stars. Those who have actually seen it, however, know that it's something a bit darker, sleazier, and altogether more interesting than that. True, it is pretty corny, and yes, Rod Steiger and Yvonne De Carlo aren't exactly bringing their A-game to the performances, but where "Gothic" really shines is in its legitimately twisted edge. Less a "Friday the 13th" clone than a bizarre and often sick take on family values (ala Charles Kaufman's "Mother's Day"), this flick wallows in murder, necrophilia, incest, and not one but two dead babies (one of which is mummified and carried around like a dolly). Steiger and De Carlo may head up the cast as Ma and Pa, the patriarchs of this film's demented backwoods family, but more memorable are Janet Wright as daughter Fanny (she's pushing 50 but dresses and acts like she's 12), Michael J. Pollard as giggling, obnoxious son Woody, and the always-welcome William Hootkins as Teddy, a chubby man-child with a bad temper and an even worse libido. The rest of the cast is rounded out by your standard unsympathetic blanks (not really the actors' fault... the parts are just underwritten), with the exception of Sarah Torgov as a grieving young mother teetering precariously on the edge of a full-on mental breakdown. Veteran director John Hough gives the nasty proceedings his usual polished, atmospheric edge, occasionally recalling some of his earlier efforts like "Watcher in the Woods" and "Escape to Witch Mountain". He may never quite find the right balance between dark humor and gross thrills that "Gothic" needed to really be a true cult classic, but that's not to say that this isn't a rough, gruesome treat in its own right.