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Trilogy of Terror: Special Edition (1975) - Blu-ray Review

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Trilogy of Terror: Cpecial Edition blu-ray

The esteemed work of celebrated producer/director Dan Curtis (The Night Stalker, The Night Strangler) continues to roll out on blu-ray thanks to the fine 4K remastering efforts of Kino Lorber Studio Classics.  This week’s release tackles an anthology that, once seen, few can shake off thanks to its bizarre roundup of stories, including a killer doll with spiked teeth and a raw attitude.

Curtis' film is, of course, the much-respected Trilogy of Terror, starring Karen Black in three different leading roles, which result in four outstanding performances.  You read that right.  Three different leading roles, but – if I am being straight with you – she actually plays, in each of the three horror stories that make up the movie, two parts. Do the math.  To say that this anthology is a tour-de-force for Black is, if you ask me, an understatement.

"Trilogy of Terror lives and breathes because of Karen Black’s performances."


Trilogy of Terror lives and breathes because of Karen Black’s performances.

Based on Richard Matheson’s work, this ABC Movie of the Week is a definite favorite due to its atmospheric execution and the sheer boldness of its many visions.  In one story, Black plays a date rape victim (or is she?), in another she suffers from sister jealousy, and in the most famous story of all, she is terrorized by a gift for her brother, a small doll. 

These three tales – named “Julie”, “Millicent and Therese”, and “Amelia” – feature performances from Robert Burton, George Gaynes, and Walker Edmiston as the voice of the Zuni doll (which is INSANE, by the way) and, while their subject matter is all over the map, these adaptations stay true to Matheson’s roots.   They are twisted and unsettling, allowing for many interpretations.

The first two films are psychological in nature, which is why (when it was originally released), many audiences probably favored the third tale over the rest.  There’s no shaking that damn Zuni doll, in fact, the sequel to the story included here leads off the second movie in the series many years later. 

All I can say is that, having only seen Trilogy of Terror on home video, the tales – one in which a student drugs a college professor and sexually assaults her and the second involving a sexually repressed woman and her freethinking sister – might not be equally twisted, but they are examples of Matheson’s depth and breadth when it comes to building a morbid house of horror.

Trilogy of Terror: Cpecial Edition blu-ray

Obviously, there’s a whole lot of Black, who deserved an award of some sort for her performances here, in this horror anthology, which many remember best  (as I said earlier) thanks to the final story involving a strange-looking Zuni fetish doll and its outrageous ending that sees Black sporting razor sharp teeth and a really bad attitude as she waits, with carving knife in hand, for her mother to arrive.

Creepy and mood-striking, Trilogy of Terror arrives ready to be appreciated all over again thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

4 beers

Trilogy of Terror: Cpecial Edition blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber Classics
Available on Blu-ray
- October 16, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.33:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The brand new 1080p transfer is crisp and crackling with fine details.  Originally shot on 35mm film, this release from Kino Lorber. supports a High-Definition encode and a 1.33:1 ratio.  With solid colors and an atmospheric charm, the cleaned-up image is detailed with nice burnt oranges and strong blacks hitting strong levels for something originally filmed in the early 70s.  The grain is natural and consistent.  Colors are strong and vibrant even.  The overall contrast is deep even if there are noticeable defects in the crush of shadows. The DTS Master Audio 2.0 is a decent monaural soundtrack for the series.  Dialogue is clean, clear, and balanced with the music.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Included with the release is the NEW audio commentary by Film Historian Richard Harland Smith which gives the film its historical significance.

Special Features:

This special edition is loaded with NEW supplemental information about the making of the movie.  The special edition includes a slipcover with AWESOME newly commissioned art by Jacob Phillips.  A limited-edition essay by critic and author Simon Abrams is also included.

• NEW Interview with Composer Bob Cobert

• Audio Commentary with Karen Black and writer William F. Nolan

• "Richard Matheson: Terror Scribe" Featurette

• "Three Colors Black" Featurette

Trilogy of Terror: Cpecial Edition blu-ray

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