Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Horror Classics: Trilogy of Terror

This classic three-part made for TV film (Wikipedia tells me it was a failed horror series pilot) is from 1975 and I believe is considered what the kids call a "cult classic." Karen Black stars in four different roles, apparently. LET'S GO!

Part I: Julie

So much long hair and amazing bell bottoms. Too douchebros sit on a picnic table, rating the hotness of the ladies as they walk by. One of them is curious about buttoned-up "Eldridge." The idea of her naked just "jumped into his head." She is some kind of English professor. There's a literary diagram(?) on the board and a cross on the classroom wall. She sits on the desk and her be-nyloned leg sticks out. This douche starts fantasizing about banging her. She has a great giant tie thingy. After class, our man Chad, picks up a book for her and starts asking her if she goes to the movies. I think maybe they're supposed to be in high school, even though they all look 35? There are lockers.

They teach you this pose in grad school.
Miss Eldridge's roommate tries to convince her to go out some time. She thinks she could be attractive if she just "worked at it just a little bit." Eldridge wears a dowdy nightgown and her hair in a bun, working on something. Lesson plans, I guess. She lets her hair down as Chad peeks in her windows. He stares creepily at her house as she takes off her nightgown. Apparently she gets naked when her roommate goes out. Chad is INTO IT. After another class, Chad asks Miss Eldridge to some French vampire movie. She says it's against the rules for them to date. Why doesn't he like the lovely coeds? He likes "maturity in a woman." Apparently that line worked on her.

At the drive-in, Eldridge is easily is scared of the movie. He's so creepy. He gets out of the car to get her a drink. His leisure suit is FAAAAAAANTASTIC. Two large root beers cost $1. He takes the drinks around back and puts some kind of powder in one of the cups. Of course Chad is going to roofie her. She says the drink is bitter, "not enough syrup." Chad stares. She starts to fall asleep. He asks if she wants to get some air. Wow, all it took was like two sips. Must be strong roofies. He's driven the passed out teacher to a sleazy motel so he can rape her properly on the bed. Chad tells the old guy he needs a room for him and his wife for the night. In the room. He takes pictures of her lying on the bed. Then he locks the door and gets down to business. He drives her home and she wakes up. She's confused about falling asleep at the movie. He says he "had a fine time." I bet he did. She keeps apologizing. He wants to call her tomorrow, but she says them dating is a bad idea because she could lose her job and he could get expelled. "No board of trustees tells me who or who not to date." She says they can't and he says "We'll see." Ehhhh...

Later, in his darkroom OBVIOUSLY CHAD HAS A DARKROOM, he develops the photos. Chad calls Eldridge before 8:00 a.m. and wakes her up. RUDE. He says he's coming over to pick her up right now. He drives her somewhere secluded and shows her the photos. She knows he drugged her. GO TO THE POLICE, JULIE. He's blackmailing her hard and it's apparently working. In class, he hands her a note in the middle of her lecture about "muscled prose."  Hemingway, Faulkner, etc. She gets upset and dismisses class. She gets home late and her roommate lectures her. She's worried about Julie. It's been a month. Julie says she can't talk about it.

Over it.
At his apartment, Julie has her hair down, wears a robe, and hands him a drink. She turns off his stupid classical music. She says it's over, she's bored. "Who's idea do you think this whole thing was?" she asks. Ohhhh, she's been orchestrating this WITH HER MIND. She has some rapey fantasies. He starts to cough and he's going to die. "You've drugged me." "No dear," she says, "I've killed you." She pulls his body into the dark room and sets some chemicals on fire. Julie acts really sad that one of her students died in a tragic fire. Her roommate comforts her. Later, Julie puts the newspaper story about Chad in her scrapbook of dead coeds. A guy named Arthur shows up at her door. He's seen her tutoring notice and they're going to start now. "I think we're going to be friends, Arthur." DUM-dum-dum.

Part II: Millicent and Therese

Best bookshelf ever.
Here's Karen Black again, sitting in the dark, watching on old film strip of a man holding his little girl. She writes in her journal or something about how their father has just died. Her sister Therese is apparently evil and uses her wiles on men. I'm assuming she is Millicent, dowdy again in this one. Glasses, bun, no lipstick. Millicent is explaining to this dude how evil Therese is. She shows him a family picture where 15 year-old Therese is "pressing against" their father. At sixteen, she seduced him. Then their mother ODed on sleeping pills. Millicent says it was Therese. I'm guessing this dude is Therese's boyfriend. Therese has a bunch of books about demonology, voodoo, Satanism, pornography. She captures souls. Millicent's trying to help this guy. He says she's the one who needs help and she laughs. He's going to leave, but Millicent says she knows about "that night at Morley and what happened there." Therese apparently enjoyed corrupting this dude. I'm guessing they killed someone together. He cries and Millicent says he's saved now.

Supposedly Therese is becoming more violent. $100 that Therese and Millicent are one and the same person. She calls a doctor and says Therese twists their relationship into something lewd. He comes by the next day to their mansion. "Therese" answers the door. Blonde wig, makeup, tank top, miniskirt. She offers him a drink. He declines. She claims she listens in to their phone calls. I love her nylons. She lights a cigarette with some large glass box lighter thing. The doctor says their rivalry and hatred will destroy her. She comes onto him. "Whatsa matter, doc? You still a virgin? Or is it that you just don't like girls?" She screams at him to leave and never come back after he continues to reject her. This is some United States of Tara shit. Later on, Millie writes in her diary in her room about how much she hates her sister. "Therese must die."

Next day, Millie sees a little girl crying outside. Her super-creepy baby doll has a huge hole in its head. Therese did it. Millie is going to put a voodoo spell on her sister, stealing ingredients like her (wig) hair from her brush and shit. Millie calls the doctor and says she knows how to deal with her sister. The doctor wants to talk to her and she's like, "Nuh-uh." Millie's made a Therese voodoo doll and keeps it in a locked desk drawer. She's got a fancy big long pin to stick in it. Phone rings the next day. No one in the mansion answers. The doctor is concerned and decides to go over to check on Millie. He finds an open side door, but can't find anybody home. Upstairs he finds dead Therese. The voodoo doll is lying next to her with the pin through its heart. The doctor calls the police. He says the cause of death is "unknown." An ambulance shows up to take care of the body, I guess. The doctor wipes off her makeup. Her name was Therese Millicent Lorimor. He takes the wig off. "The most advanced case of dual personality I have ever seen." OBVIOUSLY.

Part III: Amelia

Karen Black approaches a high rise building. She comes out of a luxe elevator carrying an old chest of some kind. Inside is a racist-looking African warrior statuette. "He Who Kills. Boy, are you ugly." He looks vicious. He's got sharp teeth and a spear. Apparently this is a gift for someone. They've actually let her be pretty this time. She has an orangey-brown corduroy couch. She calls her mom, who gives her shit for not calling earlier. She's got a date with a college teacher, Arthur. It's his birthday. We only hear her side of the of the call, but Mom's giving her the business. Her mom apparently thinks she's a bad daughter for moving out and subletting this apartment. She's been dating Arthur for a month and her mom is crazy and manipulative. "A genuine Zuni fetish doll."* He's an anthropology professor who loves hunting fetishes that have a hunter's spirit trapped inside of them, of course. If the chain is removed, the doll will come to life, says the scroll that came with it. Her mom hangs up on her. You should probs not call your mom anymore. Amelia tells herself she will not get a headache. She sets down the fetish doll kind of hard and the chain falls off OH NO.

After her bath, Amelia calls Arthur. She's trying to cancel on him. She doesn't want to hurt her mother's feelings. I think that's inevitable. The kitchen in this apartment has the most amazing floral wallpaper. So '70s. Still in her robe, Amelia gets out some meat to cook or something. Back in the living room, the doll isn't on the table where she left it. She finds the chain. I hope it's gone to kill her horrible mother. She cuts herself reaching for him under the couch. She finds only the spear and hears a running noise. She keeps looking, but can't find him. She hears a noise in the kitchen. The rest of the meat is gone. She considers grabbing a knife from her set, but then thinks better of it. "Come on, Amelia." She sees some motion out of the corner of her eye. She can't find anything, when suddenly the doll attacks her leg, stabbing at her. Probably shouldn't have insulted his looks so much before when you thought he was inanimate. She throws it away from her as it runs at her again in a frenzy. She slams the bedroom door on him. She calls the police, but hangs up before she talks to anyone, because the doll has figured out how to open the door.

She runs into the bathroom and the doll pokes the knife under the door. "This can't be happening," she says. It's figuring out how to unlock the door. She wraps the doll in a towel and tries to drown him. She doesn't complete the job, as he chases her into a closet. She grabs a suitcase and manages to lock him in it. She starts to try breaks the door lock and he starts to cut his way out of the suitcase. She stupidly tries to grab the knife FROM THE POINTY END STICKING OUT OF THE SUITCASE. She fails to open the window as he climbs out of the case. She grabs the knife and stabs him a bunch. Suddenly it's quiet. She opens the case like an idiot. He jumps out and grabs onto her arm with his teeth. She slams his arm in the kitchen door, but he gets in anyway and bites her neck. There are screams dubbed over the action, but her mouth isn't opening. She manages to throw him in the oven with her dinner. She leans up against the oven door as he burns. Black smoke comes out and she puts her hands over her ears until the screams die down.

She should lock that oven and keep it shut forever. Instead, she opens it and screams.  Later, I guess, she walks over to the phone, picks it up, and calls her mom. She apologizes to her mom. I think she's possessed by the warrior now and she's going to kill her. She breaks the lock off the door and hunches, waiting with a giant knife, which she stabs at the floor and smiles. She's got the creepy fangs now. THE END.

That was a relatively entertaining hour or so! Good job, Karen Black in 1975.

*That thing is supposed to be Zuni? Wow, super-extra racist cred. Here is what some actual Zuni people look like according to Google. Which is to say, not like that doll. At all.

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