Trilogy of Terror (1975)


Karen Black owns you all in the “Trilogy of Terror”. In this three part, made for television, horror trilogy Black plays all 4 lead rolls. By today’s standards it might be little cheesy or overdone, but I really enjoyed it. I felt like I was watching a “Night Gallery” movie. Oh man a “Night Gallery” movie would be a dream come true! The writing is clever and sharp and its now wonder.

The episodes in the Trilogy of Terror were originally going to be a part of horror anthology show, but never got off the ground. All three stories in the trilogy are based on short stories by the great Richard Matheson (a fellow former New Jerseyian), who’s “I am Legend” is the basis for “The Last Man on Earth”, which I will be watching later in the month. Background done? OK, now onto the movie…

The first part of the movie is called Julie. In it a woman named Julie somehow entrances and plays games with young men. We of course don’t know this until a twist ending when she turns the tables on a date rapist. Sweet revenge? Not exactly sure, but fairly satisfying in an ambiguous sort of way.

The 2nd part of the movie is a duel personality story, with Karen Black in a laughable wig and makeup half the time, called Millicent and Therese. Its a bit predictable and you can see the ending coming from 7 blocks away. Still its pretty funny to see Black play the murderous blond “escaped from Hooters” Therese. What is even cooler is Commandant Lassard from the Police Academy movies co-stars in it as her shrink.


The final part of the Trilogy is the only one to be completely penned by Matheson. It is called Amelia and it is based on the awesome short story, “Prey”. I am not sure why he just didn’t call it “Prey”. It is so much better. I am glad they saved it for last because it is the best of the 3.

Allow me to sum it up:
Amelia buys a doll for her boyfriend.
Amelia hates her mom.
Amelia wants a life.
Amelia’s boyfriend is a bit of a jerk
Amelia hates her mom.
Amelia does battle with the doll.
Amelia gets taken over by the spirit of the doll.
Amelia, now possessed, is going to kill her mom.


I remember seeing this part of the Trology replayed at some point when I was younger and it freaking me out. Watching it now, I cannot for the life of me, understand why. The fight scenes are both hilarious and low budget. Its especially good when the Doll is cutting his way out of the suitcase and she tries to grab the sharp end of the knife with her fingers. I could not stop laughing. It actually remind me of something an early Sam Raimi might have put together.

Need some Killer doll action? Watch the entire movie online.


The Retroist

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