This is a long time ago found at a goodwill movie to finally sit and watch. I also watched this after Sleepwalkers which is why I’m knocking out two reviews at once. They mentioned a twist in the summary on the back of the cassette box, and I even got a recent DM response mentioning the twist and I think the twist already came through my thoughts besides other theories.
Let’s talk about 1963’s The Terror.
The Terror is an interesting film. It is a grindhouse film and it shows. I’m not completely sure how I feel about the movie. There are moments I enjoyed and some parts where I was just confused. But I kept an open mind and I continued to watch so here are my thoughts on this movie.
I did like seeing Boris Karloff on my screen again. Even though he is older (I believe his last film was late 60s, into early 70s) he is still delivering a performance. Those eyes… on a different end of the spectrum, we have a very young Jack Nicholson. This isn’t his first role but it’s interesting to watch what he’s got and the potential is there from the start. I’m currently looking at his filmography… impressive.
The narrative is confusing a bit. We have our main character, a French officer named Andre (Nicholson) looking for this young woman he finds on a beach (Sandra Knight). Then the movie turns into a mystery of who is she, where is she from and there’s witchcraft involved, possession, infatuation, there was a lot happening.
It was also nice to see Dick Miller as well. Very, very cool.
What I didn’t like was… everything was all over the place. I was so confused at times. I thought the character Helene/Ilsa was a different actress at one point, I really thought Andre was putting on a front as a French officer but all that was true. Every once in a while, I would just “what is going on?”
The “look” of the film was interesting. I kinda liked the colors but then the saturation would change so damn dramatically in a second and it threw me off. Yes, grindhouse films look gritty and grimy and not put together, that’s the charm of grindhouse. This was distracting at times. And some of the backgrounds looked fake, like were we on a stage? Was this footage found and used later?
This movie is better than The House of Seven Corpses by a long shot but I was expecting more from it, never got it. Never got the closure. The last 30 minutes seemed rushed to reveal so much secrecy and content that nothing was fleshed out to grow into the reveal. It all felt rushed in general.
The Terror gets a 3 out of 5 which is okay but, hmm. It stars Boris Karloff, Jack Nicholson, Sandra Knight, Jonathan Haze and Dick Miller, and directed by Roger Corman but uncredited to Francis Ford Coppola, Monte Hellman, Jack Nicholson and Jack Hill.