October 21, 2016

The Terror (1963).

Review #852: The Terror.

Boris Karloff (Baron von Leppe/Eric), Jack Nicholson (Andre Duvalier), Dick Miller (Stefan), Sandra Knight (Helene/Ilsa), Dorothy Neumann (Katrina the Witch), and Jonathan Haze (Gustaf) Directed by Roger Corman (#368 - The Little Shop of Horrors and #684 - It Conquered the World)

It figures that I get to a Roger Corman movie for this month, and it just so happens to have Jack Nicholson in one of his earliest roles, alongside Boris Karloff. The idea for the movie came not because of a really great idea for a movie, but because Corman wanted to take advantage of sets left over from another production of his, The Raven. In fact, Karloff's scenes were done in three days, and he later described Corman as having "the sketchiest outline of a story.", which is amusing. One thing I can say is that there are some good looking sets, and some moderately entertaining effects. The movie is a bit of a mess, suffice to say, but what do you expect? In addition to Corman, there were four other people who directed parts of the movie (Francis Ford Coppola, Monte Hellman, Jack Hill, and Jack Nicholson), with an 81 minute run time as well. The movie runs at such a strange jumbled pace, with a small cast making up the characters and plot twists being revealed here and there, which one should remember was written for the price of $1,600. You might as well make a flow chart for the movie, or set up a bingo card of things that happen (witch being struck by lightning got me bingo)...and what is The Terror anyway? (the answer to this is placed under your floorboard). I especially love the climax where Karloff and Knight "fight" each other right before a flood happens. Karloff does what he does best in a role as strange as it would be for anyone not named Boris Karloff, and he has quite the screen presence. Nicholson can't really give his character much charisma, but he tries his best to make for an adequate performance. Honestly this isn't a terrible movie, just a strangely cobbled one that could be entertaining to watch late at night before going to bed, which is easy considering this is in the public domain. 

Overall, I give it 5 out of 10 stars.

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