Rating: 7 out of 10 Bites
So, this year I finally decided to participate in the OHMC checklist challenge, which is a challenge meant to encourage horror-lovers to explore the genre a little bit more. Basically, you have to fulfill a bunch of items on a list (ex: “Watch one film from every decade of film history”, “Watch a film in the nunsploitation sub-genre”, and “Watch a film directed by the Pang Bros”) over the course of the month.
As you might’ve guessed, this is how I stumbled upon TV-movie gem, Trilogy of Terror. One of the tasks called for watching a movie starring Karen Black, so I ran on over to IMDB and did a quick search of her only to find out that I probably should’ve heard of her by now; her credits list is 197 gigs long, meaning that she has definitely accomplished more in her life than I ever will. So, I started clicking on random titles in attempt to find a horror. It proved a little bit more challenging than I initially thought, so I kept clicking titles. And clicking. And clicking. And that’s how I discovered a new game I like to call: “Is it horror?” Let’s play it right now! I’ll list five Karen Black movies, and you have to guess which ones are horror:
1) Savage Dawn
2) Mirror Mirror
3) Caged Fear
4) Bound and Gagged: A Love Story
5) The Children
I digress– back to the review: Trilogy of Terror came as a godsend, because not only was it actually a horror movie– it was a horror trilogy. And in this particular trilogy, Karen Black played four lead roles. If bonus points were a thing in the checklist challenge, I would’ve hit the jackpot.
I’m not going to say I had high expectations for Trilogy of Terror— I know better than to have expectations when going into these things– but I will say that I’m a huge fan of short horror. I grew up on Tales from the Crypt and Goosebumps, so anything in the same vein that falls within that 20-30 minute sweet spot is pure, homegrown nostalgia. So, yes, I liked Trilogy of Terror, but know that I’m less concerned with overall quality this time around. And please take note of the fact that I just compared it to Goosebumps. Take a big note of that.
Even though I didn’t know Karen Black existed until a few days ago, I enjoyed seeing her take on four different lead roles. While none of her characters were particularly dynamic, she did a pretty damn decent job. Her acting was completely over-exaggerated and even borderline melodramatic at times, but in that really endearing seventies-movie way that somehow makes it okay. Plus, she wore concealer on her lips in an attempt to look like a different person in the second short, which probably won her an Oscar in some distant, alternate universe.
Story-wise, there’s nothing particularly special about Trilogy of Terror. There’s nothing linking the tales together ala The Theatre Bizarre or Trick ‘r Treat— Karen Black’s the only thing they have in common.
The only short that’s really worth mentioning in a serious, woah-this-is-actually-sort-of-good way is the first one, which was an interesting play on the classic vampire tale– just without the supernatural elements. The entire thing is less than 30 minutes long so I can’t go into much detail without giving half the plot away.
I can’t say really say anything about the second one without spoiling it. It’s both predictable and cheesy, and the ending gets completely spoon fed to you– it’s everything there is to love about Goosebumps… with a weird grownup twist.
My thoughts about the third are nearly identical to that of the second, minus the part about the grownup twist. I’m fairly positive that there’s a Goosebumps episode with the exact storyline, except all of the evil, demonic stuff happens to kids instead of adults. God, I miss that show.
Oh, and because I know you’re wondering: Mirror Mirror.