08 July 2015

TERROR (1978)

TERROR

German Title:
Killing House


UK, 1978
Director: Norman J. Warren

6/10








I'm not exactly a fan of British cult horror director Norman J. Warren, but I usually end up enjoying his flicks, be it Satansploitation stuff like "Satan's Slave" or fun ghost rubbish like "Bloody New Year". Warren wasn't a good director, and he always had really terrible scripts at hands, but at least he knew how to make enjoyable exploitation potboilers out of little money. 


The 1978 semi-classic "Terror" is such an enjoyable potboiler, taking place in an old family mansion that belongs to a film producer where he premieres his latest film to his friends and colleagues, a horror film about an ancestral witch that was burned at the stake. During the premiere, the ghost of the witch comes back, seeking revenge on the ancestors of the ones who killed her...

"Terror" frequently gets called a cheap "Suspiria"-ripoff which is only half true. Yes, in terms of style and execution, it is slightly similar to Dario Argento's uber-classic, but overall, it actually feels more like a low-budget homage to the Italian horror movies of the 60s or 70s, especially because of Les Young's wonderfully stylish cinematography and all the eerie-lit set pieces that make it look more like some of the earlier films from Umberto Lenzi, Mario Bava or Argento's pre-"Suspiria" works.


There's lots of blood and gore going on (cut up and/or impaled bodies, decapitations), lots of decent poltergeist action (flying cars, flying swords, exploding glass...), burning witches, creepy fog, nude strippers and and a terrific film-in-film opening that really impressed me.
The acting is neat, but the characters are all unlikable and you totally don't care if they die or not. Certain scenes are thrilling as hell, while others are terribly boring. The pacing is odd, but the score is a bit dreary and the editing often feels a little amateurish.

If you're into UK 70s horror that is NOT by Hammer or Amicus, this is exactly your movie!

2 comments:

  1. I managed to get this on a double feature DVD and watched it a few months ago - I liked it a fair amount - maybe a bit more than you did. It was nice seeing something new and of decent quality from that time period. Norman J. Warren is not a filmmaker of amazing talent and stature - but I do generally enjoy watching his movies.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, he was far from being an award-worthy or admirable director, but he definitely knew how to make a fun and entertaining horror flick.

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