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Trilogy of Terror (1975)

Unrated | | Horror, Thriller | TV Movie 4 March 1975
Three bizarre horror stories all of which star Karen Black in four different roles playing tormented women.

Director:

Dan Curtis

Writers:

William F. Nolan (teleplay), Richard Matheson (story) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
3,329 ( 1,349)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Karen Black ... Julie / Millicent / Therese / Amelia
Robert Burton Robert Burton ... Chad Foster
John Karlen ... Thomas Amman (as John Karlin)
George Gaynes ... Dr. Chester Ramsey
Jim Storm ... Eddie Nells (as James Storm)
Kathryn Reynolds Kathryn Reynolds ... Anne Richards
Orin Cannon Orin Cannon ... Motel Clerk
Gregory Harrison ... Arthur Moore
Tracy Curtis ... Tracy
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Storyline

Three stories interwoven together. The first, about a college student infatuated with his teacher. The second, a paranoid tale of two sisters - one good, the other evil, and the third about a Native American tribal doll that comes to life and terrorizes a woman in her apartment. Written by Humberto Amador

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An electrifying experience - you won't believe your eyes!

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 March 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tales of Terror See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Part three Amelia has gone down as one of the scariest set pieces in cinema history. See more »

Goofs

When Amelia crouches down with the knife at the end of the third segment, the stage light keeping her face lit for the camera loses track of her for a moment. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Amelia: [into the phone] This is Amelia, mom. I'm sorry I acted the way I did. I think we should spend the evening together... just the way we planned. It's kind of late though. Why don't you come by my place and we'll go from here? No, I'm all right! Good. I'll be waiting for you.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Trilogy of Terror II (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Karen Black - B-Movie Goddess!!
17 April 2006 | by PutzbergerSee all my reviews

Karen Black is too frightening for mainstream cinema. You couldn't watch her in a romantic comedy without wondering whether she's going to kill and devour the male lead. But those freaky crossed eyes and that off-kilter sexuality make her a magnetic screen presence and we're all lucky that she found a handful of directors who were able to use her well without rendering her ridiculous ("Five Easy Pieces" by Rafelson) or shrewish ("Nashville" by Altman). Of all Karen Black's worthy star vehicles (an extremely short list), "Trilogy of Terror" is far and away the standout.

The first two pieces are mildly diverting -- the first, "Julie," has an entirely untelegraphed twist that feels like a cheap trick, so it's the weakest link. Still, it coasts along nicely on its creepy camera angles and Karen's dark-star power, and the last couple of scenes are just unsettling enough to whet your appetite for the delights to come. The second segment, "Millicent/Therese," is some standard mid-70s horror fare, laced with madness and hints of sexual perversity, that would be a "Flowers in the Attic"-style yawn if it weren't for the lovely Karen, who plays warring sisters: prim, evangelical Millicent and slutty, predatory Therese. As Therese, she wears a ridiculous blonde wig and sashays around the set like a drag queen, a fully intended foray into pure camp made even more bizarre by Karen's much more nuanced performance as repressed, mousy little Millie. Slowly you wonder if all of Therese's evil is a figment of . . . well, I don't want to spoil it for you.

Ol' Karen saves the best for last: "Amelia." As played by Karen Black, Amelia is a complex, very modern, very normal woman confronted with an utterly conventional dilemma: does she spend Friday night with her boyfriend or her mother? But this isn't a sitcom starring Valerie Harper, it's a horror movie starring Karen Black and something intensely weird happens -- the Zulu doll she has bought as a present for her boyfriend comes to life and starts chasing her around the apartment! (Sound familiar, "Chuckie" fans?) It sounds ridiculous, and it would be if it weren't for the magnificent Ms. Black. She believes. There is no ironic distance between actress and character, no winking acknowledgment of the absurdity of the situation, no excess of histrionics. Dammit, Karen is being menaced by a vicious, spear-wielding figurine and you are terrified for her! Maybe you could make the argument that the vignette is an attempt to juxtapose the civilized and the savage and to expose our true uncivilized nature. But no. It's an ugly doll attacking a cross-eyed actress. It's silly. It's stupid. It's pure entertainment. If you haven't seen it yet, go get it now.


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