Trilogy of Terror1975

Director: Dan Curtis
Stars: Karen Black, Robert Burton, John Karlen, George Gaynes, Jim Storm
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 72 minutes

Dan Curtis, the creator and producer of such out-of-the-ordinary TV classics as the willfully offbeat gothic soap opera Dark Shadows and the proto-X-Files series The Night Stalker, remains best known for the Zuni fetish doll that terrorizes Karen Black in Trilogy of Terror. The wild-eyed doll, with its snapping jaws and screeching yells, borders on camp, yet its relentless attacks and single-minded, homicidal drive make it an absolutely terrifying figure in the climactic chapter of this trilogy of short films based on stories by Richard Matheson. In the first story, "Julie," Karen Black plays a mousy college professor blackmailed by an obsessed student, and in "Millicent and Therese" she plays sisters consumed with an intense hatred of one another that comes to a head when their father dies. Both of these films conclude with Twilight Zone-ish twists and are more clever than gripping, kept alive mostly by Black's gleefully theatrical performances. With "Amelia," however, Black delivers an almost solo show, playing against the famous Zuni fetish doll, a wooden statue that comes to life when the a protective chain slips off the figure and releases the evil spirit. Curtis turns her apartment into a claustrophobic cage trapping the increasingly hysterical woman as the unstoppable figure hacks at her legs with a kitchen knife and chomps down on her arms and neck with the relentless intensity of a bulldog. It's still a classic of small-screen horror. --Sean Axmaker

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