Sunday Matinee: Trilogy Of Terror

Original aired on the ABC channel in 1975 as the Movie of the Week, this little horror anthology from director Dan Curtis (Night Stalker) features three stories all from acclaimed writer Richard Matheson (I am Legend).

Unlike other anthology films there is nothing connecting the individual stories other than Karen Black stars in all of them as the various lead characters.

The first story is titled Julie and Black plays Julie – a school teacher who has become the obsession of student Chad (Robert Burton). Chad slowly convinces Julie to a date where he drugs her and rapes her, photographing her too. He then blackmails Julie into continuing their “relationship”. The only interesting thing about the story is the twist at the end.

The second story is titled Millicent and Therese. Millicent and Therese are sisters and Black plays both women. Their father has recently passed away and Millicent has had enough of Therese. Again the story has a twist to it.

The best and by far the only true story in the trilogy that is actually terrifying is the final story Amelia. Black again plays the main character, Amelia. Amelia is a young woman who has just purchased a Zuni fetish doll for her anthropologist boyfriend for his birthday. She has just returned to her apartment alone and tries to tell her mother on the phone that she can’t do anything with her tonight. The argument that ensues leaves Amelia upset. She calls her boyfriend and cancels their evening plans and goes and has a bath. In the meantime the gold chain that keeps the doll dormant falls off.

The final segment of the film is what elevates the entire movie and is really the only reason the film has become the cult horror movie that it is today. The final story is intense and kind of horrifying. The doll, a monstrous looking thing comes to life and attacks Amelia. The camera work changes from the static standard TV movie camera movements and almost becomes a Sam Raimi movie as the camera follows the doll’s attacks. Kino Lorber has recently restored and released the film on blu-ray and it looks amazing. A fun little film even if the last story is the only real reason to watch it.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.