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Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Terror (1963)

Jack Nicholson is an actor of considerable talent.  However, this talent is hardly on display in The Terror.  Nicholson plays Lt. Andre Duvalier, a young French officer in Napoleon's army.  He pursues the lovely Helene, or is it Elsa, to the castle of Baron von Leppe, played by Boris Karloff.  Nicholson displays the acting talent of a high school play here, often delivering his lines without emotion.  It is cringe-worthy to say the least.  Glad to see he improved as his career advanced!
Karloff does a nice job with the Baron.  This film is toward the end of his career but he shows he still has the acting chops and the energy to pull it off.  Nicholson is bested by Karloff in every scene where they appear together.
Roger Corman is at the helm of this less than terrifying film.  It's hardly his best work either.  Everything about the time period seems a bit off in terms of set construction and many of the costumes.  Ugh!
The worst part of The Terror is the "twist" that occurs about fifteen minutes before the end of the film.  It's a WTF moment worthy of Gossip Girl.  I found myself groaning and screaming at the screen, "You've got to be sh**ing me!"  The end of the film is a complete red hot mess with a witch bursting into flames and a crypt flooding with water where Karloff was clearly replaced by a stunt double.  The final scene where Helene's face melts into something I can only describe as caramel ice cream topping is laugh out loud bad.  Skip this one unless you're a die-hard Karloff fan.
RATING: Bad.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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