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!