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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Trilogy of Terror (1975)

Sometimes television gets it right.  Scream queen Karen Black stars in four different roles in Trilogy of Terror.  It's presented in a Creepshow or Tales From the Darkside format.  None of the stories are interconnected except for the presence of the actress.  
Trilogy starts things off right with a screenplay by Richard Matheson [I Am Legend, The Night Stalker, among others]. Matheson has had a long and successful writing career both as a novelist and as a screenwriter.  His ability to tell a good story really shines through here.  Matheson is paired with director Dan Curtis [Dark Shadows, The Night Stalker] who had a long career in television directing and producing.  [He recently passed away in 2006.]  This is a winning formula.
Karen Black is definitely the star here.  She shines in every role and her considerable acting skills bring depth and intrigue to the characters she brings to life on screen.  In the first vignette "Julie," Black plays a college professor who is stalked and black mailed by a student.  The twist in this one came as a surprise to me.  I didn't see it coming which is a good thing.
The second vignette "Millicent and Therese" was the weakest of the three.  It's the story of two sisters who are polar opposites.  I saw the direction this one was headed from the very beginning.  Perhaps it would work for some folks but it pulled no surprises for me.
By far the last vignette "Ameila" is the best.  A cult classic.  It's so simply constructed but Black delivers the screams and terror to great effect.  The story line involves a Zuni warrior doll who comes to life.  It's quite intense, even though very little blood is shown.  I especially appreciate how effectively Curtis shoots the doll.  There is no CGI here.  Just great camera work combined with marvelous acting that make the doll come alive.  The final scene of this vignette is simply brilliant. 
Don't miss this enjoyable thriller.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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