Trilogy Of Terror


zuni doll karen black trilogy of terror
 Anyone who wants to hear about the first two stories in this trilogy raise your hand…anybody?…nobody? But they really showcase the talent of KAREN BLACK! No? Alright, I’ll make it quick. In the first one she plays a dowdy spinster who’s really a man-eater type hussy and in the second one she plays a dowdy spinster who’s ALSO a man-eater type hussy. (It’s like trying to watch MARY REILLY and PRETTY WOMAN at the same time with your eyes crossed). Now on to the yummy gravy. In the third installment she is cast (against type) as a relatively normal human. She’s not a hussy, though her mom thinks she is and she’s not a spinster because her hair is not in a bun and she doesn’t wear glasses. She’s also branching out with a new love interest, an anthropologist who she purchased a lovely Zuni fetish doll for. Most of this information is told to us via a phone conversation with her unseen ma who seems to keep her offspring on a pretty tight umbilical cord. After conveying to her mother that she’s an adult and capable of handing herself “Amelia” prepares a bath, but not before she knocks the little gold necklace off the doll. Thing is, the doll came with a note that explained the jewelry was keeping the tchotchke from coming to life. What follows is a whirlwind of gnashing teeth, swinging blades and wince inspiring screeches and gnarls as Zuni seems determined to illustrate mom’s point of view that Amelia should have never left the nest. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how may times you’ve seen this RICHARD MATHESON penned tellevision movie, when this knee-high Tasmanian devil hits full tilt boogie mode you’ll either be on the edge of your seat or lifting your feet away from the bottom of the couch.


    • Blade under bathroom door
    • He can work doorknobs!
    • Lil’ Zuni doll cutting through suitcase
    • BLACK squatting on the floor pounding her blade in anticipation of mom’s arrival
    • BLACK‘s new dental work
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14 years ago

My mother STILL apologizes for letting me watch this when I was 7. I only saw the third in the trilogy,  but I will never forget the teeth and the stupidity of Amelia. She tosses him in the oven and cranks the temp way up. Good plan, but she only waits about 4 seconds before she peeks in to see if she has made Fetish Roast. Dumb! This movie gave me nightmares into my adulthood. Many have suggested that I view the movie again to see how stupid it was. No thanks.

Amanda By Night
13 years ago

I actually think the first two stories are pretty good, but yeah, Zuni is the money shot. AND HOW! I too saw this as a tyke and it toally freaked me out! My parents were glued to the screen and I came in for lunch (yes, it was on in the afternoon!) and was mesmerized by that little doll…

The sequel is alright, but nothing to write home about.

13 years ago

This COULD have been a childhood trauma for me BUT “Mr. Sandman” prevented this.  When this first came out my little sister and I begged our mother to let us stay up and watch this.  It was being advertized on TV throughout the week and we wanted to see the “killer doll”.  OK, that night we gathered by the TV to watch.  We got through that first story with the killer college professor who, if I remember correctly, killed her male students after she seduced them.  I can just imagine mother cringing at the thought that her two pre-teen kids saw that on TV!  Well, it did have an effect on us: WE FELL ASLEEP!!!!  We missed the “killer doll”!  We were carried off to bed!  OK, years later I saw this on some late night program and I knew that it would have scared the crap out of sis & I!  Not much so with the doll itself (I thought its screams sounded like a speeded up Warner Bros. Tasmainian Devil)but the end with Karen’s “new denture work” would have done it!   The slow smile while jabbing the knife in the floor waiting for mother!  YIKES!!!  BTW, I did get this on DVD.  Check out the extra with the Karen Black interview.  She’s a gas!

13 years ago

I remember when my mom bought this years ago on VHS. She told my sister and I that it was one of the scariest movies ever, and naturally, being a horror fan, my curiosity was piqued. This curiosity soon turned to boredom when we finally watched it (because of the first two stories), but when we got to the third things picked up. Sure, that little Zuni doll isn’t scary but he sure has charisma! It wasn’t until the final shot of the movie that I realized true terror! It’s that evil, primal look that Karen gives, and her hideous teeth, and the way she jabs at the floor with her knife. It’s even worse because it was so unexpected (since just a second ago she was normal, talking on the phone). To me this film presents the terror of possession like no other film before or since, perhaps because of the simplicity of the whole thing.