Monday, March 28, 2005

The Terror

--Reviewed by Patrick

Plotline: Lt. Andre Duvalier (played by none other than Jack Nicholson), a French soldier who, for reasons unexplained, gets separated from his battalion and stumbles upon a young woman, wandering along the coast. He follows her mysterious self to the castle of one Baron Von Leppe (played by Boris Karloff), only to discover that not only has she disappeared, but also she's been dead for 20 years! I'd try to explain the rest of the plot to you, but truly, it makes no sense. I'll leave it that Andre has fallen in love with this "ghost" and spends the rest of the movie trying to find out the truth about her and if she's even a ghost at all.

Scariness factor: Like a 7 year old with a new Halloween outfit, it tries so hard to be scary that you almost feel bad for it and offer up a "pity scream." But, sadly, that's about it.

Originality: I don't even know where to start here. Okay, this movie is original. But that's only because I've never seen a film that left one with such a feeling of confusion and bewilderment. Full of plot twists that make no sense (The Baron is really his wife's lover, who killed the Baron and assumed his role, only to start believing he was the Baron and killed his wife and her love - himself- ) and scenes which play no part in the movie whatsoever (at one point, Andre finds a cradle in the Baroness's room. It's existence or significance is never explained), I found myself really trying to figure out what the fuck was going on most of the time.

Other High Points: Richard Miller as Stefan, the butler. For those who are not as freakish as myself, Richard Miller played Mr. Futterman in the movie 'Gremlins', a film very close to my heart.

Other Complaints: I will devote this time to some quick bullet points, detailed huge plotholes not already mentioned:

  • After he arrives at the Baron's castle, Andre's horse goes missing. It's assumed that the Baron stole it, but why would he do that, seeing as how he wants nothing more than to get Andre to leave?

  • Apparently, being "mute" means you can only whisper, as the mute character, Gustaf, seems to do alot of talking.

  • Even if we're supposed to believe that the Barroness's "ghost" is really the living woman, Helena, it's never explained how she can appear and disappear, at will.

  • Why does the Baron flood the crypt to kill himself, instead of just use the freggin gun he handed to his butler, just moments before.

  • Why are there only 2 people in the whole damn village? (and I mean only 2, there's not even a freggin' single extra in this movie).

  • and on..and on..

Overall: I'll admit, I was expecting alot out of this movie. With Roger Corman at the director's helm, a young Francis Coppola (yes, you read that right, Francis Ford Coppola had something to do with this film) in the producer's seat and Boris Karloff starring, it had all the points needed for a truly great horror film. But, somewhere along the line, the script got ripped up, lost, replaced with pages from 'Moby Dick' and thrown back together again, making a most unwatchable film. Sorry, but do yourself and a favor and avoid this film.

Grade: F



At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, now, if you look at the many Roger Corman "Poe" based movies and much of what Karloff did in the late '50's-early '60's, there are a lot more misses than hits.

This story was redone in a European version (I can't remember the title at the moment), but done no better.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

OKay, that's true enough. But, with Roger Corman, you *expect* the movies to be pretty bad, but, at least *I* expect that fun kind of bad, where it's awful, but enjoyable despite itself. The confusing plot just ruined this one, though. I thought the visuals were good though. I mean, they weren't like crisp and well lit, but it had that 60's horror movie feel throughout that just pulls at my heartstrings. I did feel the movie would be 100X better if it was Italian though.

As for Karloff, well, he's a horror movie icon, I cut him some slack. Jack, though, I just don't get it...

At 1:58 PM, Blogger pinknest said...

i just watched this film last night and am THOROUGHLY confused as to what on earth is going on! is the woman supposed to be real? why would she want to harm eric/the baron? i have so many questions and came up with my own crazy interpretation during the movie, only to be even more confused at the end. what is your take?


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