Trilogy of Terror. 1975. USA. Directed by Dan Curtis. Screenplay by Richard Natheson, William F. Nolan. With Karen Black, Robert Burton, John Karlen, George Gaynes. 72 min.
Genre anthology films love to provide morality messages, and the made-for-television Trilogy of Terror—directed by Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows, Burnt Offerings), written by Richard Matheson, and starring the one-and-only Karen Black—is one for the horror history books. Although these three tales of suspense are unrelated, each depicts a young woman fighting for control of her situation. In “Julie,” Black plays a seemingly reserved teacher who has a submissive affair with a younger male student, in a story that ultimately flips who is seducing whom. In “Millicent and Therese,” Black plays two sisters who are very much at odds over who wields the power. The final, and most infamous, tale is “Amelia,” in which Black is a jilted lover who must battle a Zuni fetish doll she unwittingly unleashes in her apartment. It’s a wild ride, and Black’s performances leave an indelible image.