January 28, 2019  (Web Review)

Trilogy of Terror

Kino Lorber, 72 min., not rated, DVD: $19.99, Blu-ray: $29.99

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

Dan Curtis’s 1975 made-for-TV horror triptych, based on stories by Richard Matheson, remains a minor but memorable piece of TV terror decades after its debut, thanks to the Zuni fetish doll that terrorizes Karen Black in the climactic chapter. Black stars in all three segments of this anthology. In the first story, “Julie,” she is a mousy college professor blackmailed by an obsessed student, and in “Millicent and Therese” she plays sisters consumed with an intense hatred of one another that comes to a head when their father dies. Both of these shorts conclude with Twilight Zone-ish twists and are more clever than gripping, propelled mostly by Black’s gleefully theatrical performances. With “Amelia,” however, Black delivers an almost solo show playing against a wooden statue that comes to life when a protective chain slips off the figure and releases an evil spirit. The wild-eyed doll, with its snapping jaws and screeching yells, borders on camp, yet it’s relentless attacks and single-minded, homicidal drive make it an absolutely terrifying figure. The film’s cult reputation will likely spur some interest. Bowing on Blu-ray, extras include audio commentaries (one new by film historian Richard Harland Smith, the other archival by Black and screenwriter William F. Nolan), an interview with composer Bob Cobert, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and a booklet. A strong optional purchase. (S. Axmaker)