When a film crew are making a horror film at an old country house it turns out the spirit of a long dead witch who they are making the film about is lurking in the house .
Cue thunder and ligtning effects extensive use of a smoke machine, death by Rover 3000 and flying cars.
Yes its all very silly but at least its good silly the acting aint great but cult Director Norman J Warren is clearly having a good time throwing stuff at the screen and seeing what sticks .
Its no classic then but it is a interesting take on the giallo films
Starring: John Nolan and Carolyn Courage
Director: Norman J. Warren
The friends and associates of a young movie producer and studio owner (Nolan) start dying messily after he completes a movie based on his family's history. Is it really a 300-year-old witch's curse that's reasserting itself, or is there someone (or some thing) else behind the slayings?
I understand that the forces of evil are inscrutible and driven by motives that mere mortals can't understand. This, however, should not be the case when it comes to movies featuring evil forces. Movies need to have some semblence of a sensible plot, and they need to give some sort of connection between back story and what unfolds.
In the case of "Terror", we have evil forces doing evil things that make no sense whether viewed in the context of the ancient curse, or in the context of facts revealed by characters on the screen. The coolest scene (where a forest seemingly comes to live and lifts a car into the tree-tops) seems like it was just thrown in because it was just that--cool.
"Terror" has some good scares and some good acting. It would have been nice if some time had been spent on developing a good script.
(Still won't buy the altered DVD release of the first three, though. Nosiree.)
It's the fanboy gene in me, and there's nothing I can do about it. So when Peter Mayhew shows up in the 1978 flick [i]Terror[/i], sans his Chewbacca costume, I giggled with the fanboy glee of a young Kevin Smith. He only has one line, but it comes at the end of a really intense scene, and the 8-year-old in me who still thinks George Lucas is a good man came out.
Then I thought about how he was basically one of the stars of the [i]Star Wars Holiday Special[/i] and felt deep, deep pain.
[i]Terror[/i] is directed by Norman J. Warren, a British horror director I've somehow found a way of ignoring up until now. If [i]Terror[/i] is any indication, however, I'll have to check out more of his stuff, starting with [i]Satan's Slave[/i], included on the same 8-pack of films from Rhino.
The plot is pretty routine--hundreds of years ago, a family was cursed, and now one surviving relative, James, has shot a film about the bloody incident in the house it took place. After gathering with friends for a screening, the filmmaker's cousin Ann goes into a trance and attempts to stab the auteur with a family sword. She snaps out of it and everything seems fine, but soon enough, bodies start popping up all around her.
Playing more like a giallo than a traditional slasher film (it was really too early to be influenced by [i]Halloween[/i]), Terror has a great, creepy atmosphere and some admirable setpieces, including the one with Mayhew, that bring it several notches above the norm. Unfortunately, like a lot of giallo films, it tends to be disjointed, jumping from character to character without much of a center. The two leads turn out to be the cousins, who are both too cold and suspicious to really care about.
Everything around the two cousins, though, is lots of B-movie fun. James, for example, runs a film studio that acts as a home for low-rent softcore porn filmmakers, leading to a couple of funny moments involving directing porn actors in a bathtub. There's also a strange elderly diva who seems to be the headmistress of the Ann's house but appears so infrequently she counts more as comic relief than a red herring. Add to this Ann's place of employment, a seedy strip joint featuring a bizarre act where a short-haired albino woman strangles herself with a whip (!) and you've got drive-in movie gold.
Okay, so [i]Terror[/i] never really adds up to the sum of its' parts, but when its' parts or such tongue-in-cheek smutty fun, who cares? The scares are there, there's sleaze to be had, and even if the ending is unsatisfying (the murders still seem to be pretty random), it's still worth checking out.
And, hey, Peter Mayhew's in it.