Director: Dan Curtis
Stars: Karen Black, John Karlen, George Gaynes
In the horror genre, the anthology format has yielded some kick-ass flicks, from 1945’s heavily influential Dead Of Night to 1982’s Creepshow. The notion of tying three or more stories together into one film is a risky endeavor, with one or two of the inner tales often paling in comparison to the flick’s best installment; some anthologies, though, get the whole shebang right, such as Dan Curtis’ unfairly slept-on Trilogy Of Terror, a failed pilot for a Twilight Zone-like series that ended up airing as TV-movie-of-the-week.
Regardless of the circumstances, at least it made it onto idiot boxes. Comprised of three stories, all starring an on-point Karen Black in different lead roles, Trilogy Of Terror flips three random Richard Matheson short stories into uniquely dark segments. The first, “Julie,” finds Black playing a murderous English professor; “Millicent And Therese,” the second and admittedly weakest of the bunch, has Black doubling up as mentally unhinged twin sisters; and “Amelia,” the final entry, pits Black against a homicidal and totally batshit Zuni fetish doll come to life inside her high-rise apartment.
Based on Matheson’s dynamite short story “Prey,” Trilogy Of Terror’s Zuni doll portion is by far the movie’s strongest point, a claustrophobic, visceral, and playfully sadistic exercise in cat-and-mouse thrills. “Amelia” alone makes Trilogy Of Terror an all-time classic.
4. Trilogy Of Terror (1975)