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Eerie and charming 70s horror.
ThrownMuse10 October 2007
Oliver Stone's feature film debut concerns a horror author named Edmund (played by Dark Shadows' Jonathon Frid) who is plagued by nightmares. When he and his wife have a bunch of guests up to their isolated house for a relaxing weekend. After a few go missing, Edmund's friends and family are confronted with three awful beings who are manifestations of his nightmares. The guests are either killed or forced to go through a series of tests to see who deserves to live. Can anyone put a stop to this hellish nightmare? What a strange film! It's obviously very low-budget and has a distinct gritty 70s quality. The characters from Edmund's dreams are each fascinating and truly make a scene. We have the lovely Martine Beswick as the provocative and sultry "Queen of Evil," who appears to be the matriarch of the evil trio. There's also the exotic strongman giant Jackal (Henry Judd Baker) and a dwarf named Spider (none other than Hervé Villechaize!) who may be tiny but is just as evil! The trio's antics are amusing, but also very unsettling. The cast also features Troy Donahue in a random role as well as the iconic Mary Woronov, who plays a straight-forward "bored wife" role (yet still oh so very funny!), proving again that she has much more to offer than the camp factor. The score in the film is very fascinating and varied. At one point, there's a sudden persistent and deafening siren-like synth that I swear was swiped by Tarantino for "Kill Bill." While the film is eerie and unpredictable most of the time, it also has a very charming sense of humor that suits it well. I'm thrilled this rare film finally made it to DVD, but it really deserves a better treatment. The print is hard to see, especially in the nighttime scenes. Still, any fan of 70s horror should check out this quirky and original film.
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Seizure-Jonathan Frid's Exit from Dark Shadows
Back in the spring of 1974, I was a freelance writer in Manhattan, New York. While at distributing office in New Jersey, the editor and publisher of the magazine " Castle of Frankenstein" asked me if I wanted to do an interview with Jonathan Frid, about his new film SEIZURE. Well having been a fan of both Frid and Dark Shadows, I jumped at the chance. After interviewing Frid in his apartment, I also had a telephone interview with Oliver Stone, who told me of his future projects. I, at the time was only interested in his current project, SEIZURE. Little did I know how important Mr. Stone would someday be. After meeting with and buying some photo's from the films photographer and co-star Herve' Villachaze " meeting him was a treat in itself" I did the article. After 6 month the film was released in New York. The best and only safe place to see it was, believe it or not, the Lyrick theatre of 42nd street. Now, not that Seizure was a masterpiece, but,in a time where horror films were almost non-existent this was a nice treat. The music, photography and editing were all top notch, as well as the entire cast, who all played their parts as over the top as humanly possible. Seizure was a high guilty low budget film, that to this day has gone nowhere. In the late 80's the film was released on video, but was soon pulled off the market mainly due to Oliver Stones objections. Too bad, with all of the high budget c.g.i. horror films out today, it would be nice to see a tale like Seizure, a low budget film that is packed with high quality acting and writing.
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It gets high marks for good intentions.
Scott LeBrun28 November 2014
Historically important as the first filmmaking effort for the young Oliver Stone, "Seizure" will likely not appeal to certain genre fans. There's no gore - there are always cut aways when something violent happens - there isn't much sleaze (although Mary Woronov looks mighty fetching wearing very little), and the script tends to favour talk over action. Still, if anything, "Seizure" is an interesting film. It could be argued that there's simply too much exposition, but Stone and his co-writer Edward Mann do give the film a philosophical nature. It's definitely a thinking persons' horror film, albeit one with some decent atmosphere and a respectable amount of weirdness.

'Dark Shadows' star Jonathan Frid plays Edmund Blackstone, a horror novelist who's having some friends over at his country home for the weekend. Edmund is plagued by nightmares, and soon these friends and Edmund & his family will fall prey to some characters that Edmund may have dreamed into existence. First is the Queen of Evil, played by sultry cult icon Martine Beswicke. Next is the hulking, scar faced Jackal (Henry Judd Baker). Finally, we have a malevolent dwarf named The Spider (played by Herve Villechaize of 'Fantasy Island' fame). They subject their victims to various cruel games, pitting character against character.

The acting is variable from a cast also including the super sexy Woronov, Joseph Sirola, Christina Pickles, Troy Donahue, and Richard Cox. Frid is fairly intense, and his scenes with Roger De Koven as his confidante Serge provide the film with a degree of humanity and thoughtfulness. De Koven is quite good, but it's Beswicke who steals the show; obviously she is enjoying herself. Villechaize (who was also the still photographer) is amusing, but his thick accent renders some of his dialogue hard to understand.

Worth a look for fans of Stone and his cast; it is intriguing now to see his humble beginnings.

Filmed in the Canadian province of Quebec.

Six out of 10.
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Interesting take on a nightmare
julie-2424 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I agree with the previous reviewer who talked about the amazing casting done for this film. Hervé Villechaize was absolutely legit as the totally heartless Spider, and I have to admit gaining a new respect for him as a serious actor.

Martine Beswick puts a lot of movie villainesses to shame with her "so cold, it's hot" take on the Queen of Evil. She even manages to make her strangulation of Troy Donahue look alluring.

But for me, as viewer and as female, star Jonathan Frid makes the movie. He finally gets to move beyond Barnabas Collins a bit in the decidedly non-menacing main role of Edmund Blackstone. As the previous reviewer couldn't take his eyes off Ms. Beswick, I couldn't possibly look away when Mr. Frid was in the frame. The scene where the Queen of Evil attempts to seduce Edmund is still very steamy indeed.

As for the plot, it is, by today's standards, very pedestrian. Yet, even though you know what's coming, you still get entertained when it occurs. Worth a look-see if you get the chance.
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Scarecrow-886 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Horror author Frid(..who portrayed Barnabas Collins on "Dark Shadows")invites friends to his mountain estate where they are threatened by three of his nightmare creations, come to life with a thirst for bloodshed. The three, led by the delicious Martine Beswick(..well cast)as a "Queen of evil", run these people through a series of head games, allowing them no chance of escape with only one afforded an opportunity to survive.

First time director Oliver Stone shows all the signs of being a new filmmaker. While I like natural lighting, in many instances, "Seizure" has scenes which are richly atmospheric(..the use of red is often striking and candle-light can often produce a great sense of mood)while other times(..especially outside in the woods)you can't see a thing. The violence is of the off-screen variety. I found the scenes where the screenplay attempts to explain who these venomous fiends are rather overwrought..I felt that if Stone and company had never given them exposition, it would've worked just as well. Beswick is why I'd recommend it for she is incredibly sexy, very seductive and quite dangerous..a great combination for a supernatural villainous. Some effective camera-work and odd musical arrangements help this film somewhat, but the editing often abruptly moves from one scene to another. I think Stone would fare better 8 years later with "The Hand." I must be painfully honest when I say(..and I got nothing but love for the dwarf population)that Herve Villechaize, as the knife-wielding "Spider", is about as scary as a Cabbage Patch Doll. He seems to be living it up as a nasty minion, in control of people's lives, foretelling how their fates are doomed and that praying to God was futile. Joseph Sirola is a hoot as millionaire blow-hard, Charlie Hughes, who thinks he can buy anyone with indie horror siren Mary Woronov(..looking fantastic)playing his adulterous wife, who only married him for his money. Woronov has an amusing knife-fight with Frid's Edmund. Frid brings the pathos generated by his tortured vampire from "Dark Shadows" to the role of Edmund, a tormented artist who has given birth to the monsters of his creative genius. There are some great make-up sequences such as when Anne Meacham's Eunice Kahn, the type who invested her entire soul into her beautiful face, receiving a hideous mask provided by Spider, and Beswick's ghoulish face drawing towards Edmund, as her cape opens. Also Henry Judd Baker's Jackal, the third evil nightmare killer, an executioner, has a nasty scar on the side of his face that is rather unpleasant to gaze upon, although he's mostly hidden within the darkness of night. Another concern perhaps for this film is that the viewer has few to root for besides Edmund's wife and child, true victims of his demons. Roger De Koven's Serge Kahn is Edmund's confident, who believes that the supernatural killers are historical menaces from centuries ago.
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A great debut, not a laughable debut
MovieCriticMarvelfan19 November 2002
I don't think any of the people who have commented on this film have seen it. I have the pleasure of buying the original video for this film at $5 (Amazon sell its for a laughable $20), and I wasn't disappointed.

Oliver Stone, the legend, the man, Vietnam Viet, makes his directing debut with this great horror flick about a writer (Jonathan Frid from Dark Shadows), who keeps having his nightmares that he is about to die, along with the rest of his family. This is a great flick, lots of suspense, some gore, and a twist at the end.

I have no doubt this flick inspired movies like "Nightmare On Elm Street" with it's emphasis on evil, illusions and nightmares that come to life.

Very hard to find, but it's well worth.

Oliver Stone can do it all.
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Tattoo, Barnabus Collins, and Miss Togar all in one movie!
CLEO-811 January 1999
That's right ladies and gentlemen, Dark Shadows star Jonathan Frid stars in this shocker about a writer who has a recurring dream of three strange visitors who come to his home and reak havoc on all of his house guests. Herve Villechaize is wonderful in his role as the evil Spider. See Mary Woronov battle to the death with Johnathan Frid in hand to hand combat!
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Weird and Wonderful
acidburn-1017 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I remember viewing this many years ago on video and loved it and now recently I came across this title again and gave it another viewing and again enjoyed it. Given the fact that this was made by a well known director Oliver Stone, you'd think that this movie would be better known, its shame that it isn't because I would love to own this movie on DVD.

The set a writer Edmund is having a weekend get together with family and friends, then three of the characters he created in his mind have somehow come to life, an evil queen, a dwarf and a scarred executioner have gate crashed the party and have taken the group hostage and are forced through a series of strange tests so that by sunrise only one of them will be left, just one.

This isn't your typical stalk and slash feature, as some of the deaths are really strange and plus some of the stuff don't quite make sense, but in my opinion that's all part of this movie's charm, and okay I wouldn't say that this movie's to everyone's taste, but the gritty realism of the situation does send you an uneasy feeling inside. There are several scenes that are strange but fun, like the knife fight between the main man and the trophy wife was a hoot, and when 5 of the characters are forced to race each other which were nerve racking.

I also loved the quirky arrangement of characters, which makes the whole thing more interesting, the main star Edmund is played very well by Jonathon Frid and his wife Nicole also played very well by Christina Pickles (Ross's mom from Friends), nice to see her in her younger days, and see her in something different, very likable, Roger De Koven as Serge was also decent as was the loopy wife Eunice (Anna Meecham) who I would have liked to have seen more off as she was fun and the tragic outcome of what happens to her was quite moving. But the millionaire and his wife stole the show for me, Joe Sirola was outrageous as the pervy millionaire who hates his trophy wife and Mary Wornovo was also a highlight, especially with they're banter which I found great.

The movie is acted well by the cast Martine Bestwick clearly steals the show as the evil queen balancing out nicely with her beauty and then deadly at the drop of a hat and stealing every scene she's in and convincingly commanding authority from the terrified guests. Spider the dwarf (Henry Villechaize) was also very good and was brilliant when he jumps through the window and starts attacking the guests which was a highlight of this movie and no one should dismiss because of his size, he's just as convincing as the other 2 and finally Jackal the axe man, stone silent and looks scary and terrify you even when he just stands there. Stone smartly keeps the invaders rarely glimpsed until the suspense is heightened to its fullest extent.

All in all Seizure is a decent movie, okay does have a few flaws and it does cut away from the bloody stuff, but I enjoyed it.
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Where else are you going to get Oliver Stone directing Jonathan Frid to knife Mary Woronov in black panties while Hervé Villechaize looks on?
wes-connors6 December 2009
Horror writer Jonathan Frid (as Edmund Blackstone) gathers friends and family for an extended visit at his spooky home in the country. Planning to pen a nightmarish novel for children, Mr. Frid is plagued by bad dreams (and Mary Woronov in black underwear). Unfortunately, the "Dream Curse" seems to extend to Frid's house-guests, who are victimized by a fantastical trio of uninvited gatecrashers - beautiful Martine Beswick (the Queen), quirky Hervé Villechaize (the Dwarf), and menacing Henry Baker (the Giant). Eventually, the murderers threaten Frid's wife Christina Pickles (as Nicole) and cute son Timothy Ousey (as Jason).

The excellent cast, which could be described as "soap opera horror," also includes Roger De Koven (as Serge Kahn) and Anne Meacham (as Eunice Kahn). Several US daytime stars appear, with Frid's "Dark Shadows" being an obvious influence on writer/director Oliver Stone. Mr. Baker also appeared on the TV classic, in a role similar to the one he plays here. Generational icons include Troy Donahue (the 1950s), Frid (the 1960s), and Mr. Villechaize (the 1970s). Jack-of-all-trades Joseph Sirola (as "Uncle" Charlie Hughes) and risqué Richard Cox (as Gerald) are a tightly clad couple. Hopefully, deleted scenes are still a possibility.

****** Seizure (1974) Oliver Stone ~ Jonathan Frid, Martine Beswick, Herve Villechaize, Joe Sirola
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Decent first feature from Oliver Stone
The_Void1 February 2009
Seizure will be a point of interest to many simply for the fact that it is the feature film debut of Oliver Stone; made some years before he went on to make critically acclaimed films such as Platoon and JFK. Despite not being a big fan of the director; that was actually the thing that attracted me to this film also, and while I didn't go in expecting much; I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised as this is a surprisingly good low budget seventies horror movie. The film is halfway between a psychological horror and a slasher film and we focus on a troubled horror writer named Edmund Blackstone. He is plagued by a recurring nightmare which involves creations from his own literature terrorising him. He decides to invite some friends round to his isolated country home, but gets some uninvited guests in the form of those pesky evil characters he created; who proceed to break up the party by killing his guests.

Seizure features an obvious low budget and as such there is a very cheap feel to it. However, Oliver Stone gets over this problem well thanks to some very capable handling and an entertaining cast. The simple plot means that the director has plenty of time to build up his characters, and he does this well. The central location is isolated and that helps to build the tension as the innocent characters are trapped in the house at the centre of the film. The set of bad guys is undoubtedly the most interesting thing about the film; Martine Beswick leads the way as sultry 'Queen of Evil' and gets good back up from an exotic looking strongman as well as a menacing dwarf named 'Spider'. Things are kept interesting thanks to the immediate action and the dialogue between the central characters, as well as a few revelations. It all builds down to a satisfying conclusion that gives credence to the plot and main character. It's a shame this film is so obscure really because I'm sure it could find an audience and it's certainly not the worst film Oliver Stone ever made! Recommended, if you can find it.
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Unpleasant but clever.
gridoon20 October 2001
Oliver Stone's first film was this unpleasant but fascinating and clever thriller, which blurs the line between dreams and reality in a way that would later become very popular in the "Nightmare On Elm Street" films. The film is technically unpolished, with a crummy look and often inept editing. But it is also a disturbing experience that offers no easy redemptions, and as such it is recommended especially to people who enjoy films like "Alice, Sweet Alice". (**)
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Stone definitely sets an unsettling mood...yet the rudimentary aspects of film direction escape him
moonspinner5516 November 2017
Nothing if not bizarre, this barely-circulated low-budget horror item from Cinerama Releasing Corporation served as Oliver Stone's feature-film directing debut (which he also co-wrote and co-edited; his wife, Najwa Stone, served as art director). Jonathan Frid plays a writer with a wife and young son who is suffering from a frightening recurring nightmare. He has invited a motley assortment of friends to spend the weekend with his family in their lakeside house in the Québec mountains, but on their first night the group are attacked by three malevolent beings: a dwarf known as The Spider who claims to be older than God, a red-lipsticked evil queen who looks Vampira and a facially-mutilated strongman. The trio intends to kill all but one person in the house, but are these creatures real or manifestations of the writer's subconscious? Thoroughly repugnant tale with a masochistic undercurrent strikes some viewers as black comedy. Whether it is intentionally or unintentionally funny is up for debate, but it certainly doesn't showcase a promising talent from behind the camera. The actors (including a shaggy-haired Troy Donahue, looking burnt out, Hervé Villechaize and cult actress Mary Woronov) manage not to look silly, which in this instance is miraculous. *1/2 from ****
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A Very Watchable Failure
Sturgeon5428 June 2005
OK, this was Oliver Stone's first movie, so I'll cut him some slack (although Satyajit Ray and George Lucas didn't need any pity points for their stellar debuts, "Pather Panchali" and "THX 1138", respectively). Though attempting to make a low-budget horror film with serious undertones about the dark recesses of the unconscious mind, he has instead put a group of very capable actors into a series of macabre scenes - some of which are quite good - but that don't add up to much. And as for serious subtext, the movie ends up with about as much depth as a young adult horror novel. In addition, I didn't like the twist ending, as this same twist was used in literature over a hundred years previous.

The true strength of the movie comes from the casting of several iconic actors and actresses from various places ("Dark Shadows" and elsewhere). Though I had not seen any of these actors elsewhere, I give complements to the performances of both the dwarf actor Herve Villachaize and Martine Beswicke as the Queen of Evil. Beswicke, in particular, is the most darkly beautiful actress I have ever seen, and I could not keep my eyes off her whenever she was in a scene. Casting her as the ultimate villainess was a stroke of genius. I'm even tempted to say that her performance is the one best reason for seeing this movie (which is surprising, because Stone has never been very good at creating compelling female characters). Otherwise, there is little here to predict Stone's master craftsmanship on virtually all his films from the late '80s through early '90s.

* INTERESTING SIDENOTE: the newscaster voice narration at the end of the movie as the credits roll is that of Oliver Stone himself.
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Interesting little oddball obscurity from Oliver Stone
Bloodwank7 November 2011
I've read that Oliver Stone has disowned Seizure. Understandable perhaps, unlike a lot of his later work its not a big film or a loud one, it doesn't declaim from on high on issues of society or politics. Rather its a small film, and a slightly pretentious one, not an important film and not the kind of pretension that can readily be spun to something greater. But its an interesting film, a decent little work of weird horror cinema, somewhat compelling and assured in its style. It tells of author Edmund Blackstone, writing a children's story but plagued by nightmares. His worries come to a head as he invites friends round for a weekend, when it transpires that three lunatics have escaped from an asylum, lunatics that mirror his imaginings and come to torment him and his guests with malevolent games. And as things go on it turns out that these aren't any ordinary escaped lunatics but something stranger, incomprehensible and unbound by space, an inescapable menace. The home invasion becomes fantasy, but what is really going on? It's an interesting set up and happily the cast is eclectic and well up to making it come alive. Jonathon Frid is the cold centre of the film as Edmund, Christina Pickles caring and affecting as his wife, afflicted more strongly by events. Joseph Sirola is a grand brassy grotesque as monstrous millionaire and cuckold Charles Hughes, Mary Woronov meanly spiky as his wife, Troy Donahue a suitably arrogant philanderer. Roger de Koven pleasant as the most likable of the characters, Ann Meacham his sadly disturbed wife good too. The villains really drive the film though, Herve Villachaize quirkily vicious as Spider, Henry Baker a strong and silent figure as Jackal, and best of all the alluring Martine Beswick black gowned as the Queen of Evil, her every word, every move dripping with cruelly regal poise. With all the cast gunning and sharing decent chemistry things can't help but grip, and a well handled pace ensures the films strong hold. The direction is quality too, freeze frames and snappily edited (Stone shares editing duties) close ups give violent scenes a punch, while rich and moody blues and oranges instill interesting atmosphere. Sadly there are notable flaws though. The film touches on an array of interesting themes, the isolation and arrogance of the artist, the notion of subconscious as ultimate judge, the enduring resonance of stereotypes in the imagination and more, but while such themes are a fun spice the film often tells rather than showing, with variously labored passages of writing. There's also an unfortunate lack of grue, with violent scenes either cutting away or having the nastiness just out of frame. Were the film generally saner and quieter this wouldn't be an issue but as is it comes across as pulling its punches. The ending is a tad off as well, a reasonable use of a slightly pat twist, but it doesn't really tie everything together and slightly exacerbates the problem of the aforementioned labored themes. Still, its a good little film. Creepy, well paced and engagingly weird, cult cast put to good use and passages of effective tension. Definitely worth a watch for enthusiasts of low budget 70's oddities and in general terms a worthy opus, but certainly flawed and no classic or anything
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Oliver Stone's Good Story Line.
eddy-2824 June 2000
I enjoyed Oliver Stone's debut film of SEIZURE (1974). It was extremely frightening on the count of that I saw it when I was little around the same time as GRIZZLY (1976). The part I enjoyed was Joseph Sirola's head getting chopped off. The film is basically about a horror writer (Jonathan Frid-Dark Shadows) who creates his own horror monsters but they become real his frightening dreams and realisim make it better. The monster hold the writer and his family and friends hostage and kill them. One monster the Queen of Evil is played by Herve Villechaize. One part which is very popular in the 70's was their dog hanging from a tree. the cast and crew handle the film in bizarre ways probaly soon it should be avialble on DVD Hopefully!
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94 minutes too long
The only movie I can think of that I like less than this movie is Tree of Life.

How anyone ever thought this was worth making is beyond me.

Right from the get go, we are introduced to the lead, who makes you want to turn the movie off from the start - he is gross to listen to, look at, and has no personality other than being scared.

None of the other characters may as well exist at all either. None of them serve any real purpose or add anything to the story or make us feel anything. No comedic relief, no real horror, no characters or character development - just a non-threatening midget and a silent big black guy chasing a bunch of people around inside and outside of a house on a lake.

Typically I am a fan of BIZARRE movies, and I at least will admit this is one of the more bizarre films I have ever seen. But it simply doesn't offer a single thing that is in any way slightly enjoyable. It is truly one of those films where you are just asking yourself "Why am I still watching this? How did this get made? Why does this exist?" the entire time.

Mr. Stone has come a long way.
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Oliver Stone's laughable debut...
Mike179 August 1998
This, Oliver Stone's first feature film, is possibly the worst excuse for a horror film I've ever had the "pleasure" of viewing. Ludicrous plot, poor location shooting, & the presence of Troy Donahue sink it. Interesting cast , though, including "Dark Shadows" veteran Jonathan Frid, Martine Beswicke, & Mary Woronov. But not even Mary can save this one. Maybe if there had been more sex & violence it could have been watchable. =)
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Not so hot debut of director Stone
michaeldouglas120 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This is the type of movie that's just barely involving enough for one viewing, but I don't think I could stand to watch it again. It looks and plays like a mid-Seventies TV movie, only with some gratuitous sex and violence thrown in.

I agree with several previous posters -- Herve Villechaize is NOT very menacing, and at times even comes off as unintended comedy. At least the other two villains make up for that. Also, it was jolting to see Jonathan Frid is such a pedestrian role, which definitely under-utilized his enormous talents.

But I think the basic problem with "Seizure" is in the storyline. The evil trio that are conjured up from Frid's mind are seen too early and too often. They appear to everyone at once, and announce their (murky) plans too early in the picture. In fact, Stone takes this idea and literally shoves it in the viewer's face, with a series of challenges for the guests; challenges that it doesn't seem like they have any chance of winning, anyway. How much more effective would have been keeping the evil ones in the shadows, preying on each house guest in turn, sowing confusion and doubt among the remaining house guests, who don't know who or what is causing the carnage. By having the trio appear early on, to all the "assembled guests", and announcing their plan (confusing as that plan is), much potential for tension and suspense are lost.

Also, a more gradual appearance of the evil ones would indicate Frid is slowing losing control of his subconscious. To have Frid subconsciously conjure up these baddies, because he's got hidden grudges against his wife and friends, would have been a far more logical plot device. Instead of having Frid play an intended victim from the get-go, it would have worked better to have him slowing becoming helpless to control the menace he's created, with mixed feelings of guilt and satisfaction as his shallow, superficial friends are killed off. The plot Stone offers up is confusing as to the origins and, most importantly, the motivations of the evil trio, and never gives any explanation why Frid, from whose mind they came from, can exercise absolutely no control over them. Confusing is the word that best sums up the whole picture, and the end feels like a total cheat. Better to have some great showdown in which Frid is finally able to banish the creations of his own tormented mind.

Oliver Stone has done some notable work in his career, but sadly "Seizure" is not among them.
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Oddball horror film debut by Oliver Stone
Woodyanders2 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Troubled horror writer Edmund Blackstone (a fine and credible performance by Jonathan Frid of "Dark Shadows" fame) is tormented by nightmares that come hellishly true after Edmund, his family, and various friends find themselves being terrorized by a trio of dangerous escaped lunatics led by the ruthless Queen of Evil (the extremely alluring Martine Beswick in peak sultry'n'nasty form) at Edmund's remote house in the woods.

Director Oliver Stone, who also co-wrote the quirky and thoughtful script with Edward Mann, relates the offbeat and intriguing story at a steady pace, maintains a suitably harsh and grim tone throughout, provides an extra cerebral dimension which gives this picture its own singular identity, and offers an idiosyncratic, yet provocative philosophical exploration on vice, wickedness, and such basic human foibles as greed, lust, vanity, and cowardice. The sound acting by the capable cast keeps this movie humming: Christina Pickles as Edmund's long-suffering wife Nicola, Joseph Sirola as arrogant and obnoxious rich jerk Charlie Hughes, a stupendously slinky and sexy Mary Woronov as Charlie's fed-up hottie trophy wife Mikki, Troy Donahue as hunky stud Mark Frost, Richard Cox as the dissolute Gerald, Anne Meacham as aging and selfish neurotic Eunice Kahn, and Roger De Koven as the gentle and easygoing Serge. Henry Judd Baker cuts a truly frightening figure as hulking and disfigured mute strongman Jackal while Herve Villechaize has a total field day as twisted and vicious dwarf The Spider. Roger Racine's hyperactive cinematography adds a crackling jolt of gritty energy. Lee Gagnon's varied score alternates between folksy tunefulness and more standard shivery ooga-booga stuff. A nifty one-of-a-kind curio.
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