The Terror

Director: Roger Corman

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

A Gothic castle, a storm, an old witch (Dorothy Neumann), a very young Jack Nicholson in Napoleonic costume, & Boris Karloff as a suffering madman shambling through dark corridors of castle, dungeon, & crypt. Plus beautiful Sandra Knight (at the time married to Nicholson & trying to hide her pregnancy during the shooting) as the mysterious & either ghostly or possessed maiden.

The Terror (1963) is more a film of attention-holding ingredients than it is a good story, but it manages very much to entertain, & the chance to see Nicholson at the beginning of his career is not to be missed.

Though nominally directed by Roger Corman, the hasty production had various scenes assigned to sundry members of Corman's team (Francis Ford Coppola was assigned the beach sequence). Each director made their own revisions to the quickly concocted script, without sufficient reference to revisions being made by others with other scenes to direct.

It's surprising more confusion & contradiction didn't creep into the film than did. The larger effect of the multiple-directorial haste was that each director tried to one-up the others with something inexpensively unique happening at regular intervals.

Nicholson's Andre functions like an "occult detective" attempting to solve the meaning & reason for haunting events that are driving the sweet but crazy Baron nearly to suicide. There's an air of menace & a Gothic Romance attitude that works right up to the twist in the end, so that even with too much talking or walking going on, The Terror manages to hold one's attention.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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