The Golden Age of Hollywood

The Terror: Scarier Than Anything I've Ever Seen

When the first scenes began to unfold in lurid color on my screen, I was dubious, but that was nothing compared to the deep and troubling doubt that soon followed. A very young Jack Nicholson appeared, speaking lines that seemed stolen from the cheapest gothic romance. I believe his first two lines had a touch of an accent, something vaguely European to go with his Napoleonic soldier’s uniform, but the accent was gone by the third line. He was quickly engaged by a 1960s sex kitten with few lines, but the lack of dialogue was compensated for by her flowing, 19th-century gown with low-cut bodice. An aged Boris Karloff entered the scene as the Baron von Leppe, only to be upstaged by the absurdly leaden Nicholson character. And yet, despite the little voice inside me telling me to turn away, I continued to watch with morbid fascination. Like the village girl under the witch's spell, I seemed mesmerized by the hoary clichés, the unspeakably corny dialogue, and the delivery that was as cold and lifeless as the Van Leppe family crypt. I watched, inexplicably, to the end. The final plot twist defied the most eager credulity. Not even Maria Ouspenskaya could have saved this film. Will I ever be able to purge the chilling memory of it from my mind? Perhaps not. I hope that you, my friend, will never know the bloodcurdling horror of which I speak. Take my advice: run screaming from The Terror and don’t look back!




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Comment by Christopher on November 24, 2010 at 10:10pm
would I dare admit such a thing if it wasn't true?..I'm SO old..I'm past the lying stage..
Comment by Ktrek on November 24, 2010 at 9:04pm
He doesn't! He and Mr. Peabody like to take trips in the wayback machine!

Comment by Rosie Sayer on November 24, 2010 at 7:27pm
Christopher, I didn't know you went that far back!
Comment by Christopher on November 24, 2010 at 3:58pm
oh yeah..I've seen him in Andy Griffith and he was in an episode of Sea Hunt the other night...I first saw him (or noticed him) in Easy Rider,I saw it when it first came out..THen started to notice him in the old Roger Corman films on tv..
Comment by Rosie Sayer on November 24, 2010 at 9:28am

Comment by Rosie Sayer on November 24, 2010 at 9:05am
Dan, I didn't know that trivia tidbit. Thanks for sharing it! I wonder how much time Nicholson had to prepare for the role.
Comment by Rosie Sayer on November 24, 2010 at 9:03am
Yes, it's a piece of history for sure. Nicholson had his first film role in 1958, so he paid his dues for quite a while before getting his role in Easy Rider in 1969. Did you know he was in a couple episodes of the Andy Griffith show? Can you imagine him interacting with Aunt Bee? If they ever do a Jack Nicholson retrospective, I hope they show that.
Comment by Christopher on November 23, 2010 at 10:43pm
I remember when I first saw Nicholson in The Raven-'63 and The Terror..I couldn't believe they let such a numbskull sounding guy be an actor in movies!(at least it worked in The Raven since the film is deliberately silly)..but look at him now!
Comment by Dan Day, Jr. on November 23, 2010 at 9:05pm
Roger Corman made this movie in about two days as a dare. I'd still rather watch THE TERROR than a Will Ferrell movie.
Comment by Rosie Sayer on November 23, 2010 at 8:36pm
Yeah, I have to stick by my guns here. It was really that bad!

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