TERROR (1978) Reviews and overview

 

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Terror is a 1978 British supernatural horror film directed by Norman J. Warren (Satan’s Slave; Prey; Inseminoid; et al) from a screenplay written by David McGillivray (House of Whipcord; Frightmare; Schizo; et al). Producers Les and Moira Young provided the storyline. The movie stars John Nolan, Carolyn Courage, James Aubrey, Sarah Keller, Tricia Walsh and Glynis Barber.

Plot:

Royal ancestors feel the wrath of the curse of the condemned witch Mad Dolly, who spews forth her prophecy while she is burned at the stake. The victims suffer death by having their heads removed in various fashions, getting their limbs caught in animal traps, knife wounds, and other methods of medieval torture…

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Reviews:

Filmmaker Norman Warren did not exactly invest much creativity in the title of his 1978 bloodbath, and the film’s denouement is likewise.

Two young aristos lend their estate to a production crew for shooting a Gothic gore-fest about the revenge of an executed witch on her tormentors. At the wrap party the pair mention, oh, by the way, the plot about their lineage being killed off due to a curse happens to be true – and the antique sword that’ll be doing it is hung there over on yon mantlepiece.

After a hypnosis stunt, characters connected with the movie start getting violently slain, first in standard knife-slasher setups, but then with increasing occult aspects. A sequence with a director engulfed by escalating poltergeist antics on an empty set is really quite impressively done; one wishes Warren had kept the rest up to that standard. However, when death scenes (some very graphic indeed) reach saturation point the whole thing just stops. The End.

Horror fans might want to lump this in with the American movie-set chiller House of Seven Corpses (1974); deficient in narrative and logic, but with a good feel for exploitation filmmaking, shooting horror and smut reels (“Bath Time with Brenda”) one step ahead of the creditors – note the wall poster for Warren’s Satan’s Slave.

Meanwhile, Glynis Barber, just showing up on Blake’s 7, preserves her dignity by dying early on. Tanya Ferowa turns in a punk-look exotic dance, whilst Peter Mayhew keeps his clothes on (but his Star Wars Chewbacca costume off) in a gag cameo followers should watch for.

Charles Cassady Jr., MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:

“Whatever resolution Terror might offer in the end is unmistakably foredoomed to be total bullshit, if indeed it will deign to offer any resolution at all. That being so, the whole midsection is mere wheel-spinning, and McGillivray, the Youngs, and director Norman J. Warren are all powerless to make it seem otherwise.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

“The ending is mind-bogglingly stupid and pointless, the deaths seem to bear no relationship to the initial curse, and there’s even an appearance by a particularly fat and washed-up ex-Doctor Who companion, in the portly form of Michael Craze. If you like your horror short, bloody and daft, Terror is for you.” British Horror Films

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“Like Suspiria and many of its Italian horror contemporaries, Terror largely disregards a traditional narrative in favor of mood, style, and visceral horror […] It’s a scattershot collection of striking horror set pieces with little connection to one another and even less of a conclusion to tie it all together.” Broke Horror Fan

“Hayden Pearce and Les Young had returned to Warren’s side as art director and cinematographer respectively, and they acquit themselves exceedingly well; Young deserves special mention for his atmospheric photography. The Suspiria influence is blatant, with bright red and green lighting in abundance but Warren evidences a genuine talent for stylish visceral horror…” John Hamilton, X-Cert 2

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“It is unfortunate, though, that Warren’s penchant for marking every climax with excited close-ups of mangled and maimed throats – a tendency further aggravated in his Inseminoid (1980) – makes this a cheap and nasty movie.” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

” …rubbish Suspiria knock-off […] Unless you love badly-acted, no-budget, plotless haunted house gorefests with no style, humour or any redeeming features whatsoever, we say don’t bother.” TV Cream

Digital release:

On May 1st, 2018, Vinegar Syndrome released Terror as a limited edition Blu-ray + DVD combo with the following extras:

Region free Blu-ray/DVD combo
Newly scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm original camera negative
Extensive audio interview with director Norman J. Warren
Brand new video interviews with
–  Norman J. Warren – director
– David McGillivray – screenwriter
– Carolyn Courage – actress
– Tricia Walsh – actress
– Mary Maude – actress
– Peter Craze – actor
Deleted and extended scenes
Reversible cover
English SDH subtitles

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Choice dialogue:

“I didn’t leave my knickers in here, did I?”

Main cast and characters:

John Nolan … James Garrick
Carolyn Courage … Ann Garrick
James Aubrey … Philip
Sarah Keller … Suzy
Tricia Walsh … Viv
Glynis Barber … Carol Tucker
Michael Craze … Gary
Rosie Collins … Diane
Elaine Ives-Cameron … Dolores Hamilton
Patti Love … Hannah
Mary Maude … Lady Garrick
William Russell … Lord Garrick
Peter Craze … Les
Peter Sproule … Policeman
Peter Mayhew … Mechanic
Milton Reid … Bouncer
L.E. Mack … Mad Dolly
Alan Jones [uncredited] … Party Guest

Filming locations:

Admiral’s Walk, Mill Lane, Pirbright, Surrey, England – also used for Virgin Witch (1970) and Satan’s Slave (1976)