61 Days of Halloween: Trilogy of Terror (1975)

Introduction

For an introduction to the concept of 61 Days of Halloween, as well as a list of previously featured films, go here.

Trilogy of Terror (1975)

At times it’s interesting, in fact, preferable to watch things out of chronological order when it comes to the work of a given director that are not in a series. I viewed and wrote about Dan Curtis’ anthology follow-up to this film, Dead of Night, before I got to this one the more famous of the bunch.

Whether or not I was inspired to go on a mini-Curtis binge I was likely to take this in as an homage to the late, great Karen Black, an actress I’ve not seen as much of as I would’ve liked by now, so this was welcome for that reason alone (Although she did help another Dan Curtis film greatly that being Burnt Offerings). For this anthology is fascinating inasmuch as it allows its lead to reinvent herself in three separate stories with quite different characters in each. It’s a great showcase and not a bad idea for how to assemble an anthology.

Yet, even with anthologies this one and the one that follow it have a similar structure. “Julie” the first tale in the trilogy has a bit more of an air of mystery to it. In something I’ve not seen much from anthology installments it plays more to subtext and isn’t overt about the nature of the power struggle. Similarly, the first tale in Dead of Night, while eerie has a definite air of mystery to it.

In “Millicent and Therese” much like “There’s No Such Thing As Vampires” there’s a conflict between characters being discussed with an outside party, and apropos to this particular tale the game is changed.

Lastly, this anthology ends with its doozie “Amelia” it’s the iconic moment from the film and the final shot in this film is seared on my mind not only for its execution, but because of Black’s commitment to her business. It’s haunting. A similar wallop is delivered by “Bobby” to close out Dead of Night.

Again involved in the writing of this film is Richard Matheson so the quality of the scripts, as well as the narrative design of the films, owe much to his work as well. However, Trilogy of Terror works not only because it had the interesting idea of having the same star in each tale, but of putting her in different kinds of roles and casting the right one, as Black knocks it out of the park here.

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