Trilogy Of Terror (1975)

DVD Cover (Dark Sky Films)
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Overall Rating 59%
Overall Rating
Ranked #4,598
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Connections: Trilogy Of Terror

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 an African tribal doll that comes to life and terrorizes a woman in her apartment. --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 12, 2007
Since a fellow reviewer just tackled "Tales From the Crypt" and "Tales From the Darkside", and with "Twilight Zone: The Movie" finally hitting DVD, it seemed only fitting that "Trilogy of Terror" find its way onto the site. As many of you probably know, "Trilogy of Terror" was made-for-television and is famous (as is the sequel) for featuring three short horror stories, all staring the same actress. In the first film, Karen Black is that actress, and this was back when Karen Black was at the top of her game. In truth, "Trilogy of Terror" is probably one of her best efforts because it showcases her broad range as an actress, specifically a horror actress. The film took on a cult status after its release on television and has really found a new life on DVD, with a new generation. Often chastised for its over-the-top acting and humor, "Trilogy of Terror" is still entertaining as hell.


The first story stars Karen Black as English teacher Julie Eldrich, a shy and somewhat plainspoken woman. One of her students, Chad (Robert Burton) takes a liking to her and eventually asks her out on a date. She agrees. He then drugs her and photographs her in sexually explicit positions. When she sees the photographs and then threatens to call the police, he blackmails her and she agrees to see him whenever he wants. After weeks of a semi-relationship forming, Julie announces the game is over. It turns out that she has been running the show the entire time. Chad realizes his drink has been poisoned, dies, and is never heard from again.


Karen Black pulls dual roles as both Millicent and Therese, twin sisters. One has dark hair and the other blonde. Millicent is determined that Therese is pure evil and plots a device that will see her killed. Thanks to a voodoo device, she gets her wish. When a family friend comes over, he discovers Therese dead. He then reveals that the sisters were actually only one, who had a multiple personality disorder.


The most popular short of the film, "Amelia" stars Karen Black as a woman who buys her boyfriend a Zuni hunting fetish doll, with a spear and large grinning teeth. The problem -- the doll is pure evil and sets out on a rampage to kill everything that gets in its way, including "Amelia". The doll became an instant sensation after the release of the film and is still a very popular toy on the internet and in novelty stores everywhere.

These tales are not as 'horrific' as the title suggests. Being made-for-television, some restraint was needed to bring these stories to life. "Amelia" is definitely the most intense and gruesome of the three, but even it seems tame, even for 1975 television. Director Dan Curtis, known for this film and "Dark Shadows", does a good job, however, of making the film accessible and giving us a few jumps, here and there. "Millicent and Therese" is the weakest short of the film, though it features Karen Black at her over zealous best in dual roles. "Julie" was probably my favorite, just because it was structured so well and really did a nice job of pulling one over on the audience. That's what "Trilogy of Terror" was all about -- taking the audience by surprise. Plot wise, this worked, but there are few genuine scares her, except in the final piece.

One thing though that this film helped do was set the structure of "Twilight Zone: The Movie". When asked how they set the order for the films, they indicates that the final John Lithgow short was selected to close out the film because, "If "Trilogy of Terror" taught us anything -- end with a bang, and the people will remember." I will say "Trilogy of Terror" is an all right film, and has good moments, but it's nothing overly special. It's a nice evening of vintage camp horror and it features some decent performances from Karen Black.

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