The Terror (1963)

THE TERROR (1963)
Article #132 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 7-26-2001
Posting date: 12-9-2001

A soldier of the Napoleanic wars encounters and falls in love with a strange woman. She somehow seems to be connected with a mysterious baron and a witch.

For some reason, this movie seems to be one of the most commonly discussed of Corman’s many films. Part of the reason is that in its own way it is somewhat legendary; it was made in order for Roger Corman to take advantage of the few extra days he had Boris Karloff under contract. Several directors worked on it, including Francis Ford Coppola and (according to IMDB) Jack Nicholson himself, plus it was being written practically as it was being shot. Other reasons include the presence of Nicholson and Karloff together, with Karloff in the type of role he could probably play in his sleep, and Nicholson in a poorly conceived and quite awful role; the end result is that Karloff comes off looking like the much better actor. The presence of Dick Miller is a definite plus. I’ve seen it a few times, and as a movie, I don’t think it’s very good, but considering how it was made, it’s an accomplishment that it is as good as it is.

I also have to feel a little sorry for Nicholson; of his movies, this one and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS are in public domain, and marketers love to pair the two movies and call it their Jack Nicholson collection; considering he has little more than a cameo in the latter movie (albeit a great one), and that this movie has one of his poorest performances, I find it a little sad that anyone would think that these two movies give an adequate presentation of this man, his career, and his talent.

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