The Poughkeepsie Tapes takes the found footage genre to new heights, crafting a mixture of crude VHS footage with faux-documentary footage. It takes the form of a "true crime" documentary in many respects, featuring interviews with cops, detectives, family members of the victims, etc. It concerns a series of murders carried out by "The Water Street Butcher" who tortures and kills his victims for the camera, and who also films himself mutilating - and, sometimes, desecrating - the bodies.
The film opens as it is revealed that an entire series of VHS tapes has been found containing the grisly footage. Along with the aforementioned interviews, we witness some of the footage on the tapes, and it's nothing short of brutal. A subplot involving a woman that the killer keeps as his personal "slave" is particularly distressing. The Poughkeepsie Tapes runs a little over an hour and twenty minutes, but it will stay with you much longer than that. This is a visceral experience, right up there with Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, that is so relentlessly disturbing, you may feel the need for a shower afterwards.
The Shout Factory Blu-ray/DVD combo set is sure to please horror fans, and features interviews with the filmmakers, as well as one of the actresses. Highly recommended, but with much caution.