Monday, June 15, 2009

Trilogy of Terror (1975) (TV)

...aka: Tales of Terror

Directed by:
Dan Curtis

Karen Black excels playing a quartet of very different roles in this three-part made-for-TV horror anthology adapted from the works of Richard Matheson (with contributions by William F. Nolan) In “Julie,” a meek female college professor turns the tables on a student (played by Gregory Harrison) who drugs, rapes and attempts to blackmail her with scandalous pictures. “Millicent and Therese” details a pair of feuding sisters; a frigid, jealous brunette and a kinky, malicious blonde. Finally, ”Amelia” (also known as “Prey”) details Black’s horrific battle with a relentless re-animated Zuni fetish doll inhabited by the spirit of a bloodthirsty African warrior. Although the first tale doesn’t hold together all that well and the second is too predictable, this is well worth sitting through for the excellent final segment and, as always, it’s a joy to watch Black at work. “Amelia” (which gave millions of children nightmares back in the 70s) is also available separately on video as TERROR OF THE DOLL. Robert Burton, John Karlen, George Gaynes, Jim Storm and Tracy Curtis (the director's daughter) co-star.
Twenty years later, it was followed by a 1996 cable sequel starring Lysette Anthony in all three tales. That was also directed by Curtis and scripted by Matheson, plus featured a remake of the killer doll segment. The Dark Sky DVD release has a commentary track from Black and Nolan, and two featurettes, one about Matheson and the other about Black.


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