The Terror (1963)

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The Terror is a 1963 film directed by Roger Corman who was best known for making the Edgar Allan Poe movies with Vincent Price. Despite having a Poe-like story, The Terror was not based on any work by Edgar Allan Poe. The film is in the public domain so it can be viewed easily on the internet legally.

Origin of the Movie

Roger Corman was working on The Raven and finished it two days early. Rather than just wrap things up, Corman decided to use those two extra days to make another film with the time left. Corman began shooting Boris Karloff's scenes for the remaining two days and sent the scenes to other directors to finish it.


France, 18th century. Lieutenant Andre Duvalier (Jack Nicholson) has been accidentally separated from his regiment. He is wandering near the coast when he sees a young woman (Sandra Knight) and asks her for directions to Coldon, where he hopes to rejoin his regiment. But the woman doesn't answer, doesn't even greet him and walks away. Eventually she takes him towards the sea, where she disappears in rough water. Andre loses consciousness while trying to follow her, and is attacked by a bird and awakes in a house where an old woman (Dorothy Neumann) claims never to have seen the woman. After he leaves, he sees the woman again, and while trying to follow her, is saved by a man from certain death. Andre learns that in order to help the girl, he must go to castle of Baron Von Leppe (Boris Karloff), and when he arrives, Andre sees the woman looking out of a window. However, Baron Von Leppe is old and seems reluctant to let Andre in. He claims there's no woman in the castle, but shows Andre a painting which does indeed portray her. Andre learns that she is the Baroness, who died twenty years ago.

Why It Sucks

  1. Because there was barely any script at all, despite Corman paying Leo Gordman $1,600 to write one, the other directors (Jack Nicholson himself directed a bit of the movie) of the film added their own plot devices to the film creating a ton of plot twists and a story that barely made any sense, confusing many viewers.
  2. It contains nearly every clichéd horror element at the time of its release.
  3. The film was rushed in production.

The Only Redeeming Quality

  1. Despite its many flaws, The Terror is still regarded as a cult film by horror fans because of its foreboding atmosphere, the fact it has Boris Karloff in it, and the fact that it feels like something Poe would have written.



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