Terror, The (1963)

“There is nothing here but an old man and his decaying memories. I beg you to leave them in peace!”

Synopsis:
A Napoleonic soldier (Jack Nicholson) wanders onto a spooky estate where an elderly baron (Boris Karloff) appears to be haunted by the specter of his young, deceased wife (Sandra Knight).

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this “Roger Corman costume drama was made in three days without much of a script”, taking advantage not only of existing sets from Corman’s The Raven, but the remainder of Karloff’s acting contract. The resulting “muddled plot” consists largely of “Nicholson try[ing] to figure out what’s going on” as he “explor[es] the dark castle” — but given that “there are no scares and nothing really happens until the end of the film”, the entire affair comes across as “pretty boring”. Meanwhile, Nicholson is surprisingly “lousy” in the lead role — though not nearly as bad as his then-wife (Knight), who acts as though she was instructed to literally sleep-walk through her performance. With that said, the film as a whole isn’t nearly as much of a mess as it could have been, given that the script is actually relatively easy to follow, and it possesses numerous “ridiculous plot twists”. Plus, as Peary points out, the “photography is surprisingly good” — indeed, atmospheric cinematography and sets go a long way towards making this ultimately forgettable horror flick relatively easy to sit through.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Atmospheric sets and cinematography

Must See?
No; this one is strictly for Corman fans.

Links:

One Response to “Terror, The (1963)”

  1. Skip it.

    A very small idea for a film, stretched to within an inch of its life. Clearly made for a quick buck in what was a still-thriving drive-in biz.

    Dull, ponderous..and with a lousy title since there is no terror here. None.

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