Trilogy of Terror (1975)

Article 2809 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-15-2009
Posting Date: 4-22-2009
Directed by Dan Curtis
Featuring Karen Black, Robert Burton, John Karlen
Country: USA

Three tales of terror are presented. In the first, a student uses blackmail to seduce a teacher, but discovers a surprising fact. In the second, a prim woman seeks to murder her libertine sister. In the third, a Zuni fetish doll comes to life and terrorizes a woman.

If you’re a big Karen Black fan and also love TV-Movie horror anthologies, this is for you; she plays four different roles in three stories, and is pretty much the only significant acting presence in the movie. The movie seems to have a certain amount of popularity, given its 7.0 rating on IMDB. I’m afraid I’m less taken with it. I’m not a big Karen Black fan nor a TV-Movie fan, and as far as I’m concerned, only the third story works. The first one plays mostly like a soap opera, and though it does have an interesting twist, it’s quite dull. The second I found blatantly obvious; it’s one of those stories that probably works a lot better in print than brought to life on the TV tube. It almost seems as if only the third story is even trying to be scary, and despite the fact that it has its problems (the woman’s opening conversation with her mother goes on forever), it does get you on the edge of your seat. I suspect that this movie’s reputation lies with this segment; it looks like all the artwork I’ve seen for it prominently feature the doll. All three are based on Richard Matheson stories, but Matheson worked on the screenplay himself only on the third one. Incidentally, the French vampire film at the drive-in is actually THE NIGHT STALKER.


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