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1 rating: -3.0
A movie directed by Roger Corman

Horror legend Boris Karloff and a young Jack Nicholson team up in this disjointed but enjoyable Roger Corman quickie. Nicholson plays Lieutenant Andre Duvalier, an officer under Napoleon who finds himself lost along a stretch of beach, where he is seduced … see full wiki

Director: Roger Corman
Release Date: 1963
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Terror

The Terror - posh!

  • Nov 3, 2001
Pros: Nicholson was cute

Cons: everything

The Bottom Line: just don't

The Oracle says: jack nicholson has a Bacon number of 1.

Jack Nicholson was in Few Good Men, A (1992) with Kevin Bacon ***

It's Halloween, you would think I could get something decent to watch! Well, I did catch Earth vs The Spider, but it isn't in the database. At least, not the version I watched. So that leaves me with (insert eerie music) The Terror.

This 1963 Roger Corman release stars an affable Jack Nicholson as a young and dashing LT. (Abbreviated cause I can't spell the big word) in the army of Napoleon. Yes, I said Napoleon, and trust me, that isn't the hardest pill to swallow in this dragma .... I mean, drama.

Somehow Nicholson gets separated from his unit (now, now, I mean his Army unit) and ends up riding his horse through the surf along the Baltic Sea. Waking up face down in the surf, he sees an ethereal beauty (Sandra Knight) standing in the ocean waves (ok, technically sea waves, but I'm telling this story) and beckons to her, requesting a cool drink and, pray tell miss, what is your name. This scene is repeated often in the movie because she seems to flit in and out of the sets like a true spirit, but that's a later telling so hold on.

As the waves threaten to overtake her and drown her, he races to her side, only to be thrown to the ground by the force of the water - that and he gets attacked by a hawk. Waking up later in the hovel of some ancient crone in the woods, he sees the hawk again, but the crone adamantly denies that there is any lithe spirit of a sexy babe anywhere around these parts. Right - like we don't know it is the hawk and the crone is a witch. We've seen enough of these movies, haven't we?

Anyway, there is a deaf-mute in the crone's keeping who just happens to run into Nicholson later in the woods and tells him (yes, I know he's supposed to be a deaf mute, this little item doesn't seem to bother anyone but me) that the beauty is under the crones spell and only Nicholson can save her - and that he has to go to the castle of Baron Von Leppe to get his answers. Now who would you suppose would play the part of the Baron but good old Boris Karloff, but he is almost a good guy here.

Regardless, Nicholson goes to the castle, discovers the secrets, saves the babe - you know the whole spiff from other old stories. We never find out what happens to the old crone but we do find out what happens to the Baron and his servant (Dick Miller) and also the deaf mute. All of these things are bad.

What is the terror, you ask. Why, it is spending Halloween watching this movie!

There's gotta be something good in everything
Sandra Knight - now that was good! A great look and fetching clothes. However, she was a bad guy so that distracted a little from the over all persona of the babe. Her acting skills - zero.

Karloff and Nicholson together are a stitch. This was made in conjunction with their little get together for The Raven, another delightful little spiff.

Dialogue and story line were awful, the entire movie was more than a joke, but there are some cute little background stories available.

Rumors and innuendos
Actually, truths, but I liked that title. Corman was filming the soon to be released The Raven and the production came in ahead of schedule. Now nothing will tick off a director more than coming in under budget and ahead of schedule, so he goes to his writer and says, hey write a quickie starring these two guys so that we can use these sets again. Naturally, Leo Gordon (writer) got right to it and The Terror was born.

Corman started production but before it could be finished, he got called away to another project and asked his understudy and assistant, Francis Ford Coppola, to finish the film (cough). So old Francis took up where Roger left off, but then HE got a killer offer from Ray Stark, so he left the project as well. Finally, through the efforts of first Monte Hellman, then Jack Hill, then Dennis Jacob and finally ending with Jack Nicholson, the picture eventually got produced - whew! They should have saved their efforts. Corman gets back, months later, to look at the film and decided it made no sense and called the players back for more shooting. Frankly, he should have quit while he was ahead!

There are a total of 6 actors in the entire production. There were more directors than actors for this film. It did have some beautiful photography along the seashore (filmed in Big Sur) but the balance of the movie was in that same dank old castle that The Raven was filmed in and was pretty stark. Ronald Stein was the music composer and if I were he, I would not put this movie on my resume. The music was ‘finger nails on the chalkboard' grating and totally irritating.

Please don't ever waste your time. I'd rather unload trucks at Target with Charles_Tatum than watch this movie again.

Susi :(

***Compliments of Department of Computer Science
School of Engineering, University of Virginia


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