Trilogy of Terror

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‘70s Superstar of the Bizarre Karen Black takes the lead in three tales of terror in this legendary made-for-TV horror anthology, playing a psycho spinster, murderous twin sisters and a woman whose doll wants to play with HER! Produced as an NBC TV Movie of the Week in 1975, Trilogy of Terror gave the quirky Oscar-nominated actress the golden opportunity to put the acting pedal to the metal as she played the lead in three macabre tales of murder, madness and maniacal devil dolls. Directed by Dan Curtis (creator of the TV classics Dark Shadows and The Night Stalker) and written by Richard Matheson (The Twilight Zone) and William F. Nolan (Logan’s Run), Trilogy of Terror went on to become a cult classic, thanks in large part to its crazed final segment, but all three tales offer up a bevy of goofy/scary pleasures. In “Julie,” Black plays a seemingly mousy college teacher who is seduced and blackmailed by one of her studly male students, but what the lunkhead doesn’t seem to realize is that the weirdo professor may have a few tricks of her own in store for him. In “Millicent and Therese,” Black portrays a pair of nutty twin sisters (one in a ratty black wig and one in a slutty blonde wig) whose hatred for one another eventually reaches Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? proportions (and gives the actress the chance to go WAY over the top). Finally, in “Amelia,” Black plays a woman trapped in her apartment by a psychotic Zuni Fetish Doll that has mysteriously come to life with the intent of turning her into chopped liver. The increasingly hysterical Black battles the nutty doll (who races around the living room, hiding under the couch, gnashing his oversized chompers and hacking at her legs with a butcher knife), and only one of them is getting out alive, leading to a truly memorable finale. Simultaneously hilarious and terrifying, this wacked-out segment heavily influenced the Chucky franchise and remains pure kitschy horror gold. (Dir. by Dan Curtis, 1975, USA, 72 mins., Not Rated) Digital