From Norman J. Warren, the cult horror film director who also graced us with "Inseminoid", "Satan's Slave", and "Prey", and screenwriter David McGillivray, known for his collaborations with another cult icon, Pete Walker, comes this decent supernatural shocker that buffs consider to be something of a knock-off of Dario Argento's "Suspiria". (However, "Terror", distributed stateside by Crown International, would fare better in theatres than "Suspiria".)
Much like that Argento film, it's more about its sometimes palpable atmosphere and its various set pieces than its story. However, the story really isn't that incoherent, although it is a little thin. A filmmaker named James Garrick (John Nolan) is intent on telling his own family's macabre legacy on film; it seems that a witch had cursed his ancestors and their subsequent generations (this is related in the opening film-within-the-film). Now, a mysterious force is out to murder anybody with a connection to James.
Some of the set pieces in "Terror" are really quite good. Granted, less than patient viewers may fidget while Warren and company mark some time to prepare for getting to the good stuff. There is, at least, a delightfully naughty bit of business with the "Bathtime for Brenda" scenes. When the true horror sequences come, they truly are impressive: Suzy (Sarah Keller) having car trouble during a storm and being frightened by a creepy mechanic (Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca in the "Star Wars" franchise), Viv (Tricia Walsh, eventually to become better known for her Internet appearances) getting brutally dispatched by an unseen attacker, Philip (James Aubrey) terrorized inside a studio, and especially the experience of Ann (Carolyn Courage) while she's out in a storm and the car she's in actually levitates.
Overall, the movie IS slow at times, but redeemed by some game performances and the genuine spooky ambiance of some of its scenes. It's a good if not great movie that delivers in both suspense and gore departments. Its opening is effective, and its resolution is very much to the point: once this movie is over, it's OVER.
Seven out of 10.
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