TRILOGY OF TERROR

Director: Dan Curtis

Starring: Karen Black, Robert Burton, John Karlen

NIGHTMARES

Director: Joseph Sargent

Starring: Christina Raines, Emilio Estevez, Lance Henriksen

Itís almost impossible to dislike anthology films like those made by Amicus during the heydays of the British horror boom of the sixties. If you donít like one story, be patient and another will follow before very long! Since then itís become something of a lost art. Few recent movies use the format, so Anchor Bayís release of two more recent movies employing the anthology structure by is very welcome.

Trilogy of Terror is a 1974 ABC Movie of the Week that has achieved almost legendary status in the US, where itís often the subject of ďDoes anyone remember a really scary movie aboutÖĒ-type enquiries by viewers. Itís Amelia, the emotionally shattering third part of the movie, (a story about an African fetish doll that comes to life and stalks its owner), which makes such an impression. This segment, which, like the others, features Family Plotís Karen Black, was so strong that it was also released separately, as Terror of the Doll. This textbook example of nail-biting tension should be made mandatory viewing for potential genre directors, and is recommended to anyone who appreciates a good scare.

The movie was written by Loganís Run co-creator William F. Nolan and storyteller par excellence Richard Matheson, and directed by Dark Shadows guru Dan Curtis. It was intended as the pilot for a TV series that, sadly, failed to materialise.

Nightmares was also made for television, but was apparently deemed too intense, and was instead given a theatrical release with an R rating. The stories are a little routine, but the cast, replete with familiar genre faces, (The Thingís Richard Masur and Alienís Veronica Cartwright, for example), keeps things interesting. The best segment, The Bendiction, features Millenniumís Lance Henriksen as a priest whose faltering faith is tested when, driving through the desert, he is preyed upon by a mysterious pickup truck with blacked out windows. The final segment, which features Masur and Cartwright as a couple tormented by rats, is somewhat similar to the first story of Nigel Knealeís 1976 ITC series Beasts, During Bartyís Party.

Both discs have full-screen transfers, and digital mono sound. The picture quality is a little strained throughout, and the sound has limited dynamics. Itís unlikely, however, that better results could have been obtained without disproportionate attention. 

 

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