Director – Dan Curtis
Cast – Karen Black, Robert Burton, John Karlen, George Gaynes, Jim Storm, Gregory Harrison, Kathryn Reynolds, Tracy Curtis
Release Year – 1975
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This was one of my favorite horror films to watch as a child, thanks much to its creepy and very effective final story. Not having seen it for almost 20 years left me unsure of how much I would enjoy this piece as an adult, but I am glad to say that this experience is still enjoyable one for me. Based on three of famed horror writer Richard Matheson’s short stories, Karen Black stars as a tormented woman in each of the three tales – ranging from creepy stalkers, multiple personality disorders, and inanimate horror. Like most films of this age this experience comes with a few faults, but the positives in this piece make it one of the most notable horror anthologies of all time.
The first story is “Julie”, which follows Karen Black as a college professor who, after much pestering, accepts a date from one of her students. Things go well at first, but soon she realizes the charming suitor is really a possessive psycho with no intent on letting her leave him. He makes Julie’s life a living hell, using extortion to keep her from ending their relationship, but if he thinks he has the last laugh he is dead wrong. This was a positive way to start the anthology thanks to its simplicity and eventual eruption of horror that the viewer never sees coming, with a classic twist written by one of the genre’s greatest minds.
The second story is “Millicent and Therese”, which has Karen Black portraying twin sisters – one good and one very evil. The good sister has had enough of her evil sister, a sister who preys on the weak and the poor, and will now take matters into her own hands to rid the world of her sister’s torment once and for all. This was an interesting tale that moved pretty slow but did a fantastic job of helping the viewer hate the evil sister and enjoy the thought of her demise by her very own sibling. Of course, once again Richard Matheson leaves us with a conclusion you never see coming.
The third and last story is my favorite, titled “Amelia”. Here Karen Black portrays a woman who receives an odd gift consisting of a wooden Zumi doll with a very sharp edged weapon. Soon after opening her gift she begins to hear strange noises from within her home, and when her new gift seemingly disappears she eventually puts two and two together and is faced with the most daunting and horrific night of her life. I liked this story so much because it provided the most horror. It did not take long for the doll to come to life and when it did it provided the remainder of the film with nonstop harassment of the poor woman. The look of the doll was great and the mannerisms aided the horror, and with a decent amount of blood thrown into this piece it made for the most horrific tale of the film and a great way to close out the anthology.
Overall, Trilogy of Terror is a positive horror anthology that does much without loads of gore and kills thanks to interesting stories with clever climaxes from one of the genre’s most respected minds. The direction is positive and each story comes with great atmosphere, topping off with one of the most enjoyable horror stories I have seen in “Amelia” – an experience that has pleased me for nearly my entire life.