Questions. Questions. Questions. Wary French cavalry officer, Andre Duvalier (Jack Nicholson), is full of questions as soon as he claps his eyes on the buxom young lady called Helene (Sandra Knight). Such as:
- Why does she suddenly disappear to, prior to him being washed into the sea?
- Why does the old lady who saves him, Katrina (Dorothy Neumann), state that she does not know who Helene is, even though her aide, Gustaf (Jonathan Haze), says that he has seen her at Baron von Leppe's castle (Boris Karloff)?
- Why does Helene look a lot like the Baron's dead wife, Ilsa (Sandra again), when she passed away over twenty years ago?
Well, when I say 'passed away', after Andre does a bit of snooping around the Baron's old castle -- to the chagrin of his butler, Stefan (Dick Miller) -- the Baron does come clean and explain to Andre that he killed Ilsa when he caught her in the sack with a villager called Eric. So fairs fair, right? It's not like he is haunting Andre or anything. Like Ilsa seems to be haunting them both at the moment.
Yeah. Straight up. Ilsa just appears and vanishes at a drop of a hat. First Andre spots her by the family crypt. Next Stefan sees her at Katrina's house. After that, the Baron hears her voice in the distance. And finally, Gustaf is confronted by her not so long after a bird pecks out his eyes.
Ouch! But then again that's most probably why what next transpires goes bump in the night when a startling revelation is made. As not everything is as it seems - this film doesn't end in vivid dreams - a witches plan has no fear - and a baptism ends on a solidarity tear.
Now I know that some people out there think that 'The Terror' was one of Roger Corman's 'Poe film'. But did you know that it wasn't based on any of Poe's actual works?
the 17th of
June, 1963. (2) Believe it or not, actress, Sandra Knight, was
pregnant during filming, and shares the same name as the forties super-heroine,
'The Phantom Lady'. (3) After completing his previous horror saga starring Jack
Nicholson and Boris Karloff -- called 'The Raven' -- director, Roger Corman,
shot the majority of this production -- mainly the Karloff scenes -- within
four days, using the same sets. Although the remaining improvised scenes were
shot over a nine-month period with his apprentices: Jack Nicholson, Francis
Ford Coppola, Jack Hill, Dennis Jakob, and Monte Hellman. (4) Now Roger Corman didn't want to
finish this picture as he did his other pictures -- i.e. with a fire -- so he
decided to flood the finale with water instead. (5) According to Jack
Nicholson, he almost drowned whilst shooting in the watery currents at 'Big
Sir'. (6) It took Frances Ford Coppola eleven days to capture his part of this
film, but only ten minutes where used in the finished product. (7) Boris
Karloff was doubled by Dennis Jakobs in the flood scenes. (8) The quicksand
section was shot by Jack Hill in his own backyard.
Overall 'The Terror' is a classic slice of cinema which is a much see for any fans of horror or filmic history. Heck, where else are you going to see a flick directed by Roger Corman and mister 'Godfather' himself, Francis Ford Coppola, aided and abetted by Jack the man and that chap who starred in 'Gremlins'? Nowhere else, right?
Say no more.
THE RATING: B