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  • He didn't make Hammer rip-offs and he didn't make counterfeit Amicus flicks, either. Norman J. Warren created a horror sub-genre instead, and "Terror" is the second best of these while "Prey" is the best. Though this was clearly inspired by "Suspiria" and equally ropey in terms of structure, is is still an entertaining hour and a half.

    The opening film-within-a-film, a witch burning sequence, has better production values than the rest of this shocker, but it is, nevertheless, a graphic slasher (for its time) that takes some risks. Most of the murders are knife murders and we get lots of knife POV's and a procession of red herrings. A car lifted off the ground and up into a forest canopy shows some creativity and a poor sod impaled on spikes notches another one up for bloody horror.

    Despite good transfers, the Warren films still look ugly because they were not lit too well. Some of the interiors are overexposed and the hard lighting looks more accidental than planned. The performances range from adequate to somnambulistic (perhaps intentionally) and the electronic score (by Ivor Slaney) is more noisy than musical.

    Worth seeing, sure, but not anything groundbreaking.
  • British exploitation filmmaker Norman J. Warren sure knew how to lay on the gratuitous shocks -- thick and fast. On "TERROR" he doesn't disappoint. In what is definitely the most fun, I've had with a Warren film. With that in mind, his previous 1977 "PREY" would still be my favorite. It's hard not to think Warren was influenced by Dario Argento's "SUSPIRIA", in what clearly looks a crude, downbeat and cheap knockoff.

    Anyhow, Warren does the best, with what's in front of him. Working with such a stringy plot where clichés form the basis. It's easy to see what we get are set-pieces looking to shock and thrill. As the build-up of those highly-charged moments (with an ominously dynamic electronic score) are far more enticing, than that of the thinly detailed dramas in between. Well, outside of a few amusing moments caught on a film-set. The actual central story involving a witch cursing the family descendents of those who burned her at the stake remains an afterthought --- almost becoming a shadow to the mean-spirited violence and nightmarish absurdity. I must say best not to delve too deep into the narrative, as making sense is the furthest thing on mind. Even the lead performances of John Nolan and Carolyn Courage are fairly po-faced, but, I guess, it's only natural when there's no escaping your foretold doom. At least there are colourful minor supports, like Glynis Barber and Elaine Ives-Cameron. Another bright inclusion was the posters of "THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE" (1973) and Warren's "SATAN'S SLAVE" (1976) making their way into a few shots. Sure the former poster would bring a smile to cult-fans.

    Like most of Warren's presentations, pacing can be bumpy, yet his nonchalant handling, atmospheric lighting and use of authentic locations pays off. What starts slow and conventional by playing out like a slasher / giallo --- gradually begins to go off the rails when the supernatural fury of our string-pulling entity comes to the forefront, where each death madly outdoes the last. It's well worth-the-wait, as during the creative third act when the action returns to the cottage, there are some crazy stunts, like the evaluating car and maniac light-show climax.
  • 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.
  • This got a late Friday night screening on BBC2 recently. Who negotiated that deal, Mr. Warren?.

    And apart from an excruciating synth score by one Ivor Slaney (who also draped his dubious doodlings all over Norman's 'Prey'), it was pretty much all good.

    Sexy stage-trained actresses never to be heard from again? Present and correct, sir.

    On-the-hoof shots of Soho at night? Tick.

    Strangely antiseptic sequences of murder and mayhem? You betcha.

    Look out for Dirty Dave McGillivray cameoing as a TV reporter, Peter 'Chewbacca' Mayhew deathlessly intoning "You want a mechanic?". And Milton Reid throwing a Greek out of a nightclub.
  • When Norman J.Warren (auteur of such shrill, purposely gruesome films as Inseminoid) and exploitation stalwart David McGillivray got together in the late seventies to create this low-budget shocker, the end result could only be a solid winner, and TERROR delivers the goods. It's not for all tastes, but the effective atmosphere (Warren had obviously seen a few Dario Argento films, which helps) and the well-staged scenes of death and supernatural mayhem in the last half of the film are worth the price of admission alone. It's certainly head and shoulders above the 'typical' British horror films of the day - such as Alan Birkinshaw's atrocious KILLER'S MOON and THE LEGACY, a tedious schlock-fest in which Who vocalist Roger Daltrey dies during a trachaeotomy to remove a fishbone he never ate(!) - and the widescreen photography, coupled with appropriately garish colours courtesy of (one assumes) outmoded film stock, looks superb. There's also a neat cameo from Milton Reid, one of those "I know his face, but what's his name?" actors if ever there was one, and a decapitation set-piece that curiously plays like a low-budget homage to David Warner's grisly death in THE OMEN, whilst pointing the way forward to the lift-shaft carnage in that film's lackluster sequel. This is a solid-gold classic example of the kind of film that would never get made nowadays, anywhere, and will undoubtedly bring back fond memories of late-night horror double features down at the local fleapit for British viewers of a certain age.
  • I'm a sucker for "Alien" ripoffs, so of course Norman J. Warren's cheesy 1980 homage, "Inseminoid" (a.k.a. Horror Planet), is a fave of mine.

    Considering the relatively high production values of that flick, I thought I'd give the rest of his early horror movies a try. I obtained the Anchor Bay UK (R2) coffin boxset, which contains "Terror" (1978), as well as two previous horror flicks lensed by Warren ("Satan's Slave" from 1976 and "Prey" from 1977).

    To give proper perspective to "Terror," I think it helps to compare it to Warren's earlier horror films in a chronological fashion.

    But in case you don't feel like reading this entire post, here's the upshot: Norman J. Warren's straight-up horror films spiral downward in quality as time goes on; since "Terror" is one of his later films, it stinks the most. Sorry, but the stench cannot be covered up.

    Without a doubt, Norman J. Warren started on a high note. His first full-length horror feature, "Satan's Slave" (1976), regardless of the absurd title, is a real gem of mid-70's horror (woman meets her evil uncle for the first time when her parents die in a car crash; uncle decides to use his stranded niece in a ritual to reincarnate an ancient witch). Maybe I was in a particularly receptive state when I popped it in, but it occurred to me that "Satan's Slave" was a real independent 70's gem with some poetic photography and some solid grue. It felt like "Let's Scare Jessica to Death" or even the lesser "The Legacy" at times. The film is caught somewhere between the then-dying Hammer Gothic style and the rise of contemporary horror films. Its carefully crafted and moody jazz-ensemble music, and its isolated, wintry English country manor setting make it a real fun time. They don't make them like this anymore. (And I thought I had perused every worthwhile 70's horror movie ever made. I was very grateful to be wrong.)

    Then came "Prey" (a.k.a. Alien Prey, 1977). Shot in a week or two and with little money, the film has an interesting premise (alien with Wolfman Jack fangs crashes on an English country estate; he is here to scout out whether or not humans are edible). It effectively uses some claustrophobic settings, and the plot takes some well-timed twists. But it doesn't begin to stand up to the moodiness, and especially sympathy for the characters, that "Satan's Slave" generates. "Prey" is hampered by only having three players. The conversations seem to go round and round confusingly amongst the two lesbians and the disguised alien, and the tension is very on-again off-again. The film is inconsistent; it drags terribly in places; the photography seems rushed or crudely framed. And there's the infamous slo-mo drowning scene in the dirty pond--that goes on and on and on...

    Then came "Terror" (1978), the absolute worst of the lot. The film (witch lays an ancient curse on a family which comes to pass as we watch) is apparently an homage to Argento's "Suspiria" (though I'd never, never be able to tell). Trust me: I live for confusing horror movies pasted together with hoary clichés, but this "film-like product" lacks basic structure. The characters are so thin that they seem to disappear when they turn sideways. I couldn't even remember their names, which is never a good sign. Scenes seem strung together at random; telegraphed red herrings abound. Nudity just thrown in...because. There is a "film within a film" motif used to some effect, but we've seen this done much better by others. The film is populated by characters we don't care about because we don't know them in the most rudimentary ways. I had no problem going to the fridge during this one.

    It is interesting (indeed, fascinating) to juxtapose a gem like "Satan's Slave" against Warren's later "Terror" (which actually had a bigger budget; by that time, Warren had earned a bit of a name for himself too, but apparently that had little effect on quality). Take my word for it: "Terror" is by far the weaker film, thinner, less interesting, less nostalgic-feeling, less moody, less filling. It is, without question, the lowest point in the UK boxset.

    OK, now that I've fulfilled my IMDb obligation, I can go pop the next DVD of the boxset into my player: A widescreen version of "Inseminoid!"
  • A witch's curse causes bad things to happen to all the people involved in the production of a horror movie and the witch herself might have possessed one of its stars.

    Clearly inspired by the work of Dario Argento, Terror is one of those movies where it's best to leave logic at the door and enjoy the gory set pieces and colorful lighting. It starts off slow and even frustrating since there's not a lot of plot or character development to latch on to, but something happens midway through where, if you just turn off your brain and go along for the ride, you'll have a good time.
  • "Terror" by Norman J. Warren is a film full of surprises. It starts in the 17th century with the persecution of a witch - she tries to escape but is caught and burnt at the stake. While she was burning, some people died. One death looked like an accident caused by carelessness, but the others had clearly been caused by supernatural forces. This is the beginning of the dying spree, and three centuries later…

    Three centuries later, the killings will come with double force. Many people are killed. Is it the witch or a human agent? The clues seem to point to one character in particular, but some killings are so "fantastic" that we are led to think about a supernatural agent.

    Anyway, I was not concerned about the plot. The film is quite inventive, and in some ways almost resembles a giallo. The preliminaries of each murder are stylish and dynamic; there are many pretty girls in the film (sure thing, Norman has really a good taste in what refers to feminine beauty), and the soundtrack is inspired and helps to enhance the film. In short, fast cameras, a good soundtrack and a bizarre and interesting way of telling the story. But one thing the film lacks – Nudity. We only once see a woman performing a show almost naked. She's ugly. And there were so many pretty girls in this film, and not even one of them…

    Anyway, even so, I think that "Terror" is an enjoyable film, one can say that Norman J. Warren has a very personal way of making films. Whatever you say about his films you can't deny his creativity. I've only seen three of Norman J. Warren's films – This one called "Terror", "Inseminoid" and "Prey", and all of them share this common trait – they are bizarre and addictive, so if you're looking for something different in films, check out his films.
  • If the casual film fan has ever heard of or seen a Norman J. Warren film, chances are that film is 'Inseminoid', one of the first films to be a big hit on sell-through video in the early 80's.

    However, 'Terror' is not as obscure a movie as you may think. It was the top grossing film in the UK for one week and in the States it actually made No. 19 in Variety's Top 50 grossing movies for 1979.

    'Inseminoid' is usually referred to, perhaps a little unfairly, as a cheap rip-off of 'Alien'. 'Terror' is definitely a cheap rip-off of Dario Argento's 'Suspiria'.

    The story involves a witch who is burnt at the stake. She curses the family responsible for her plight and promises to wipe out their line. Flash forward a couple of hundred years and we discover that what we have been watching is a movie. Then...everybody gets killed. There's very little plot for the rest of the film. Some characters arrive for no apparent reason...and then get killed...for no apparent reason.

    What's this all got to do with 'Suspiria' then ? Well, here's a little checklist.

    Suspiria - Terror

    Supernatural story involving witches - Check

    Film made with emphasis of style over narrative - Check

    Scenes lit in lots of bright reds and greens - Check

    Soundtrack full of atonality, clanging and wailing voices - Check

    Film set in ballet school - The girls live in a school but they all seem to work at a 'Gentleman's Club'.

    Lots of blood and girls dressed in white - Check

    Death by disembodied hand through a window - Death by disembodied hand through a wall

    Running through a storm pursued by a killer - Check

    Knives entering flesh in jagged close-up - Check

    Strange, overly made-up, androgynous-looking older women - Check

    A hulking giant who may or may not be involved - Check (Peter 'Chewbacca' Mayhew)

    A nightmarish masterpiece of a horror movie - Erm...

    But the really interesting one that's made me think is when one of the characters dies by decapitation due to a broken window. There is a scene exactly like it in Argento's 'Inferno'. But 'Inferno' was made after 'Terror'. This is pure speculation but I wonder did Argento see 'Terror' at some point and say (in Italian, obviously) "Well, this bloke nicked so much from me. I'm going to nick this from him". Or was it just a weird coincidence. I am intrigued.

    However, while 'Suspiria' is undoubtedly one of the greatest horror films ever made - a real experience - 'Terror' is unfortunately not. It is interesting to watch someone try to copy Argento but there is no real understanding here of what makes his films work. 'Terror' lacks a decent script, decent actors and decent direction. Of interest to Argento fans only.
  • Many of the movies included in Rhino's Horrible Horrors Vol. 1 box set are just that. This one was fairly good though, certainly comparatively.

    The deaths scenes in this movies are definitely stand-outs, and if people are looking for good scenes like that, here's a movie that's been overlooked. There's some decent suspense at times too, and fair special effects in poltergeist-type witch activity.

    The movie starts with a title sequence of black and white still frames tinted red of people's faces, sometimes a succession of them giving the appearance of movement, then freezing. The title appears, cracks, and bleeds. Not bad. There's then a segment that is a movie-in- the-movie, a witch film in which a witch gets caught and burned at the stake, but gets her revenge on the people responsible.

    This film is projected in the home of the producer, and the film was based on his family history, and his home and other items were used in the film. After a game of hypnosis seems to go wrong, resulting in the producer getting sliced with a sword, a woman runs off into the woods and gets attacked seemingly by a slasher. Other people get attacked by blades, while others die in more bizarre ways. At one point, a car floats up into tree branches!

    The acting is pretty good, but somehow there was something lacking that kept me from getting terribly involved in the movie.

    Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

    Sound format: Mono

    Supernatural horror descends on the members of a low budget movie company when they film the true story of a 17th century witch who was burnt at the stake.

    Director Norman J. Warren continued his successful creative partnership with writer David McGillivray (initiated with SATAN'S SLAVE in 1976) for this supernatural shocker, in which the ghost of an ancient witch is revived in 20th century suburbia. Warren cheerfully acknowledges the film's visual debt to SUSPIRIA (1976), with its garish colors and outlandish death scenes (including a window-cum-guillotine which appears to have inspired a similar sequence in Dario Argento's INFERNO), though McGillivray can't resist taking an opportunity to poke fun at the world of low budget British movie-making (the scenes involving production of softcore opus "Bathtime With Brenda" are a hoot!). Les Young's atmospheric photography is a big plus, and the actors are enthusiastic, but the film is undermined by poor dialogue, lack of adequate plotting, and threadbare production values, 'qualities' which are treasured by die-hard fans. Thankfully, Warren includes as much gore as the British censor would allow at the time, and exploits the makeshift scenario for all it's worth. Ultimately, TERROR is the cinematic equivalent of those 'penny dreadful' horror novels which cluttered British bookshelves throughout the 1970's.
  • I like this little late 70's horror film because it is so atmospheric and even though it's stupid at times, it is also interesting and pretty intensive. It is not great like "real" horror classics but it is certainly a great B horror experience.

    There's no point in describing plot because it is pretty messy. It deals with supernatural powers which possess a house inhabited by a film group.

    The effects are nice but mostly I liked the "demonic" atmosphere which is at its greatest at the end of the film. I just wonder how they made that "video/filmtape strangulation or whatever" scene at the end. Warren has also made the legendary INSEMINOID which I liked also but the fans of movies like Alien or other mainstream films may not like it. If you are open minded and appreciate low budget horror films with innovation then I think you'll like TERROR and other Warren's films.

    7 out of ten.
  • This is an awesome underrated gem, that's extremely low budget, but very creepy and stylish!. It reminded me a lot of Dario Argento's films, the style, atmosphere, and death scenes were very much like Argento's, and while this is extremely low budget it's still scary, and the finale is especially tense. The Death scenes are simply amazing, and quite brutal. The plot is quite messy, but it's very engaging all the way. I got this off a 8 horror movie 2 disc set. The Direction is great!. Norman J. Warren. does a great job here,with creepy atmosphere, great use of the fog machine, good lighting, and some of the camera tricks were stunning, and he reminded me a lot of Dario Argento ( a lesser one), plus the pace, is very good. There is TONS of blood and gore. We get a foot impaling, bloody corpses, decapitation, near decapitation, (from a window glass plane(quite nasty), LOTS of bloody stabbings, knife jammed in throat, impalings, guy gets run over repeatedly, and lots of blood!, gore hounds should enjoy. The Acting is actually not that bad. John Nolan, does decent here, as one of the main leads, his character is kinda gruff, but he did decent overall. Carolyn Courage, is excellent here, she was beautiful and very likable!. Rest of the cast does okay. Overall if you can find this get it immediately, it's a true gem! **** out of 5 a must see!.
  • maarck623 December 2017
    Saw this movie the first time in the early eighties when I saw it on the all-blackly owned channel 62 in Detroit. A channel that would show huge blocks of movies of all kinds; spirituals, westerns, sleazy horror, mysteries, black and white or color. It just didn't matter. Unfortunately, because of the generic title, this movie was lost for years. I saw it once on VHS then not again for thirty years, then not again until five years late, and now I get to see it again in an excellent print. What can I say about this supernatural slasher? British exploitation at its best with amputation, beheadings, impaling, poltergeistic activity, hypnotism, bloody murder, stabbings, garrotings, full frontal nudity, a s&m stripper, immolation by fire, beautiful English babes, a trans-generational curse, a levitating car, a plot with as much logic as anything by Dario Argente, stiff and bad acting, and Tricia Walsh as a ginger haired ditz who manages to steal every scene she's in. Ghod, what more can you want? Should be taught in film schools. Eight stars because I've never been less than entertained by this movie. A good double feature with Superstition.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Terror starts in a large Country house somewhere just outside London that belongs to a film producer named James Garrick (John Nolan) where he happens to holding the premiere of his latest film to his close friends & colleagues, a horror film based on the long told legend of a Witch that was burnt at the stake by his ancestors & vowed revenge on all the Garrick's descendant's of which John & Ann Garrick (Carolyn Courage) are the last. Once the film has finished one of John's annoying friends Gary (Michael Craze) then tries to impress everyone with a party-trick, he appears to hypnotise an actress named Carol Tucker (Glynis Barber) but none believes it's for real & make him try to do the same to Ann. Much to everyones surprise he seems to succeed & Ann is put into a trance where she stands up, walks over to a sword hanging above the fireplace & attempts to kill James before snapping out of it. A short time later Carol is found brutally murdered. Things quickly become worse as almost everyone who associates with either James or Ann ends up dead. James is convinced that the Witch has come back to fulfil her curse & kill the last of the Garrick's... him!

    This British production was directed by Norman J. Warren & I have to admit that I rather liked it. The script by David McGillivray who also pops up in a cameo as a TV reporter, isn't perfect but I thought it was lots of fun in a bad 70's low budget exploitation sort of way. Terror opens with a really cool film-within-a-film moment that I certainly wasn't expecting, it then gallops along from one gory murder to another with a bit of padding between consisting of some wonderfully cheesy, bad, funny & downright entertaining dialogue that seem to have everyone endlessly saying 'bloody' & 'luv' as many times as they can in the same conversation in a Cockney accent, great stuff & they really don't make 'em like this anymore! Add to this a really funny soft-core porno shoot that has some priceless dialogue of it's own, a murder mystery, a strip show, hideously dated 70's cars & clothes, a strange bloke named Phil the Greek (Chuck Julian) & an over-the-top climax full of pointless supernatural goings-on! I just thought Terror worked as a whole, a film that is maybe better than the sum of it's parts, I had a great time watching it & as far as I'm concerned that's all that matters. On the negative side when the climax arrives the killers identity is bland & to be honest I'm not sure why the filmmakers decided to hide it in the first place & going by the film's logic & ancient curse why are people unconnected with the Garrick's killed like Phil the Greek?

    Director Warren does a fairly effective job, he creates some decent set-pieces like when Carol is chased into the dark wooden shed full of sharp dangerous looking tools but there are some not so effective ones like the silly bit when a car starts to levitate & float. He keeps things moving along at a reasonable pace manages to deliver some good atmosphere & did you notice the UK quad poster for one of his earlier exploitation films Satan's Slave (1976) that makes a prominent appearance in the background of several shots? The murders in Terror are quite brutal & gory, just the way I like them. Someone is stabbed & has a knife stuck through their throat, someone has their throat cut with wire, is impaled & then ends up in pieces in the back of a rubbish truck, someone has a broken plane of glass slice their throat open & generally speaking there was plenty of the red stuff being thrown around to keep me satisfied at least.

    Technically Terror is a pretty solid production, flying cars apart. The cinematography is nice enough, the locations, special effects & production design are all good while Terror is a competently made film throughout. The acting was OK & I really liked watching a horror film populated by adults rather than annoying American teenagers for a change.

    Overall I actually liked Terror a fair bit, it moves along at a nice pace, is gory, has a certain British eccentricity about it & it's good trashy exploitative fun throughout. I definitely recommend Terror, to horror fans in particular. They just don't, won't or can't make 'em like this anymore!
  • There's not much to like about Norman J. Warren's work…. 'Inseminoid' (a.ka Horror Planet) was like the lamest Alien rip-off ever made and 'Satan's Slave' was a dreadfully tedious vehicle about a devil-worshiping cult (it starred horror maestro Michael Gough, but still…). To think those two disappointment almost held me from watching this 'Terror'! This film is Warren's finest achievement! A modestly produced, but blood-soaked and nasty horror film that'll keep you entertained for a good 80 minutes. The plot of 'Terror' is standard shlock, handling about a film producer who inadvertently awakened the spirit of an ancestral witch while shooting a film about his own family's history. Things start to go horribly wrong the film premieres in the old family mansion and the young niece gets possessed with the witch's soul. The film doesn't contain the slightest bit of continuity and numerous murders are completely random. Not one horror lover will complain about this, though, since every single slashing is darn gruesome and presented with the nastiest make-up effects possible. There are a few (beautiful) young girls stabbed to death and pinned to a tree, a film crew member is crushed by the set pieces, a cop is road-killed by his own car and there are multiple neat close-ups of slit throats and severed corpses! Every killing is a horror feast and – sometimes – that's all there is needed to satisfy fans of the genre. At some points, Warren even succeeds in creating tension through atmospheric camera-work! How about that? The sequence where the blond girl is chased through the woods almost feels like 'The Blair Witch Project' 20 years ahead of its time! Although the film doesn't feature an actual climax (everybody dies…period!) or no depth in general, it's still receives warm recommendation thanks to the bright dialogue, stunning camera-work and loads of fun it delivers.
  • I'm easily pleased, a late night horror film doesn't have to make a lot of sense to keep me watching but Terror(1979) was a film I genuinely struggled to watch to the end. It opens with a home made horror film being screened and its makers tittering over it. What follows is no better and certainly no more convincing. Excruciating acting abounds as an ancient curse returns..yawn. It sums up everything that is truly awful about 70s horror films. The women in it are 'naice' girls who have clearly had little experience acting and emote their every line and show uncertainty by starting to talk, pausing and then starting again. The awful bonhomie and hipness of the male characters is equally awful. It really does make little sense either. I especially liked the part where the girl returns home and is seen washing copious amounts of blood from her hands but her flatmate, who she barely knows, doesn't think to mention this to the police. There's clearly a rational explanation of course. Another outstanding part is when a woman is chased through the woods by a man with a knife. She takes refuge in a shed which he briefly attacks. Less than a minute later she decides it is probably safe to go outside (as you would of course) and is stabbed to death in perhaps the least enthusiastic attacking scene ever put to film. In short there isn't even any comedy value to be gained from this as a bad movie, it is just dire and is one of the least interesting films I have ever seen.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Terrible or Terrifying? This low budget thriller is brought to us from small-time exploitation king Norman J. Warren, the man responsible for such extreme British classics as SATAN'S SLAVE and INSEMINOID. What little plot the film contains is soon ditched as it becomes just another string of gory murders, but on the plus side the film does manage to evoke some scenes of fear and fright.

    It's strange how much low budget work (take The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for example) manages to be a lot more terrifying than big budget blockbusters, such as recent debacle of THE HAUNTING. Perhaps it's the increased realism of this budgetary-challenged films, which lack the glossiness and shininess of the latest Hollywood release, factors which distance those films from the viewers. TERROR is a hard, depressingly realistic film, where events are played out among sleazy pornography films and characters shout and swear at each other just for the sake of it.

    The film begins promisingly with a mini-movie, which, like the beginning of Hammer's VAMPIRE CIRCUS, is quite simply brilliant. It shows a witch burning and then returning from the grave to gorily dispatch members of a family. After this a bloody murder ensues, and the film becomes part murder-mystery, but it soon becomes clear that supernatural forces are at work and we are left to sit back and watch the relentless bloodshed. The unknown cast (see if you can spot Sarah Keller from THE BEYOND) all perform well.

    Most of the murders are imaginative, well-staged and definitely not for the squeamish. One man has a camera crush his head, a woman is stabbed many times and impaled against a tree. A man has his neck slit with broken glass (this film obviously inspired the makers of GHOST) while another girl is bloodily dispatched on a stairway. There is no happy ending here, no release from the deaths. Just murder and mayhem. And yes, the film is scary in places, conjuring the fear of the power of the unknown in much the same way as THE EXORCIST did, using the blood to sicken and repulse the viewer and make him/her beg for release from the horror. On these counts, TERROR is a minor success for the director, little seen and even less heard about, but succeeding well in disturbing the viewer.
  • if you are a really horror fan,absolutely watch it!Right..the plot doesn't exsist, the characters are too briefly described, but very much parts of this movie are so good!!atmosphere,music and color!Now I know what some critics mean:"it's influenced by Argento's Suspiria and it gave the inspiration for Inferno".Where are you finished Norman J.Warren?Anyway,an interesting movie to re-discover among the dusty,naive,genuine and scary products of the 70's horror cinematography!
  • I didn't have very high hopes going into this one, since I'd already seen Norman J. Warren's earlier tragedy Satan's Slave, but surprisingly enough; Terror actually isn't bad, and that's in spite of it's completely uninspiring title. Terror plays out like your classic slasher flick, but it's good in that the director doesn't hold back on the gore and the result, while very cheesy, is an enjoyable little horror flick. The excuse for all the terror revolves around an ancient curse delivered by a witch a couple of hundred years ago. A young girl is hypnotised and later possessed by the witch's spirit, and from there it seems as though the witch's curse is true. The next seventy minutes is basically a hodgepodge of gruesome murder scenes - but this isn't a problem as the murder scenes themselves are entertaining in a gory, over the top sort of way and this greatly benefits the film. When there aren't murders going on, it has to be said that Terror isn't the most interesting movies of all time. It's true that director Norman J. Warren is a hack really; but this is entertaining stuff, and good enough for a single viewing.
  • BandSAboutMovies17 February 2021
    Warning: Spoilers
    Norman J. Warren is the kind of director that knows exactly what you want. You aren't coming to one of his movies to learn some kind of life lesson or to go out to a salon and debate afterward. No, you're here for all the reasons that you watch horror and exploitation movies. You want to be shocked, scared and stimulated.

    What makes this one even better is that the script comes from David McGillivray, who also wrote Satan's Slave for Warren and Frightmare, House of Whipcord, House of Mortal Sin and Schizo for Pete Walker. He is, to quote British writer Matthew Sweet, "the Truffaut of Smut."

    Also, if you're watching this and are thinking, "Hey, Warren must have just seen Suspiria when he made this," then yes, that's exactly what happened.

    The movie starts three hundred years ago, as we watch a witch named Mad Dolly about to be burned at the stake under the orders of Lord Garrick. She then calls on Satan to free her, setting an executioner on fire, a disembodied arm to kill Garrick and for her to rush through the Garrick house with a sword, which she uses to chop the head off his wife before cursing their descendants.

    Like I said, Warren knows exactly what you want. That beginning pretty much has everything I watch movies for.

    What we've just seen is a movie made by director James Garrick - yes, a descendent who lives in the very same house that we've seen and for some reason has decided to own the sword of Mad Dolly - and he's previewing it for his friends and his cousin, Ann. Of course, he also has a mesmerist put her under a spell and she nearly kills him.

    This being a Warren movie, of course Ann works at a strip club. And certainly she's going to be stalked by all manner of ruffians, including Peter Mayhem outside of his Chewbacca costume.

    This unleashes a wave of artful violence, including panes of glass chopping off heads, stabbings in the woods, perverts dropped onto spikes, lamps crushing directors and so much more. And the end, well, it's absolutely bonkers, with levitating cars, more impalings and Mad Dolly's sword getting used to its fullest power.

    As for the Argento inspiration, Warren has claimed that he saw that movie as something freeing, telling Sense of Cinema, "It was just liberating in that you could suddenly get away with doing whatever you liked."

    Since making Bloody New Year, Warren has been promising a sequel to this movie that would be about music and dancers. I hope it happens, because I kind of love this ridiculous movie.
  • morrison-dylan-fan3 November 2019
    Warning: Spoilers
    With hopefully attending a Q&A with the film maker next week,I felt it was best I start digging into Indicator's Norman J. Warren box set! Having only seen the fun Bloody New Year (1987-also reviewed) I got set to unleash terror.

    View on the film:

    Backed by new interviews with the cast/crew, Indicator present a outstanding new 2K transfer, where the audio remains crisps, and unlike the old VHS days, the vibrant colours shimmer on the print.

    Teasing the audience with a fake film within a film opening lit with the spirit of Hammer Horror, directing auteur Norman J. Warren continues to build on his themes of bringing the Gothic of Hammer Horror into modern settings, crossed with the ultra-stylisation of Italian Horror.

    Hypnotising some pretty young things at a post-screening party, Warren & cinematographer Les Young (who also co-wrote the script) underline the Horror shocks with a raw, grounded atmosphere of long panning shots delving into the cramped locations where the supernatural happenings awaken.

    While inspired by Dario Argento, Warren and Young bring out enough of their own style to make their own creation stand out, including a dazzling pane glass set-pieces Argento himself appears to have been inspired by, along with sawn- off tracking shots of the mysterious killer clouded in colours striking their next victim, backed by Ivor Slaney's brooding dark synch score. Working with Warren again, David McGillivray is here joined by Les and Moira Young in conjuring a neat script spell casting dream-logic on the foggy family history of the Garrick's to the terror.
  • Norman J. Warren was a leading figure in the New Wave of British Horror during the 70s; along with fellow schlock-meisters Pete Walker and Alan Birkinshaw, he was instrumental in pushing the boundaries of UK cinema in terms of gritty violence and sex. For that reason, I have always maintained a certain degree of admiration for the man, despite the fact that the majority of his films are technically shoddy efforts, suffering from muddled scripts, weak editing, poor acting, low production values, and amateurish special effects.

    In a lot of respects, Terror is no exception—the story makes little sense, the cast are dreadful, much of Warren's visual style is cribbed directly from Dario Argento's Suspiria, and the gore is unconvincing—but after all is said and done, this film still manages to be one of his more entertaining efforts. This is primarily thanks to the unrelenting violence—there's bloody stabbings, impalements, be-headings and mangled corpses aplenty—but it doesn't hurt that the film also features several easy-on-the-eye actresses, some gratuitous sleaze, a few silly red herrings, and loads of wonderfully dated 70s trappings (wide-lapelled suits, a yellow cortina, flares, blatant product placement for Daz, and the filming of a typically daft soft-core sexploitation flick called 'Bathtime With Brenda').

    Fun moments that are particularly worthy of a mention: a bear trap positioned with unbelievable accuracy; Annie Lennox's ugly twin performing an S&M strip-tease for a man with a huge nose; Peter 'Chewbacca' Mayhew unwittingly terrorising the film's heroine before uttering the immortal line "You want a mechanic?"; aspiring actress Viv (Tricia Walsh) unable to distinguish between red paint and blood (even when it's all over her face); and tasty bit of skirt Carol (Blake's 7 hottie Glynis Barber in her first screen role) doing nothing to help the blonde stereotype by locking herself in a shed full of tools when chased by a psycho killer, but failing to arm herself before making a break for it.
  • In the case of most independent movies we should always remain aware of the restrictions that a low budget creates. In the case of 'Terror', the main restriction involves lack of acting talent. Other than a couple of 'Doctor Who' regulars (Michael Craze & William Russell) and future 'Blake's 7' & 'Dempsey & Makepeace' star Glynis Barber, this is a film full of performers coming from nowhere and travelling towards similar territory. Oh, I forgot about Peter Mayhew, but then we're used to seeing him as a giant walking carpet in the 'Star Wars' series! Here is a rare opportunity to see the man behind the Chewbacca mask. HOWEVER, the lack of quality actors is the only drawback in a film that manages to be creepy, gory and visually stunning, marking it as one of the last great British horror films. Norman J. Warren was a director with flair and imagination and we can't blame him if he was shackled by low budgets. Here he offers an impressive homage to European shockmeister Dario Argento and the whole point of the film is that a malevolent evil force swoops randomly, creating tense moments and leaving the viewer unsettled. Some of the greatest moments in 'Terror' focus on the unexpected - and in original ways; sometimes the expected shock arrives, sometimes an innocent occurrence creates just as dramatic a twist. In closing, I would comment that too many people seem hypnotised by big budget flashiness. Sure, that kind of film has its place in cinema, but I wouldn't miss the quirkiness and unpredictability of a good low-budget film and this film is one of the best. Nice one, Norman!
  • BaronBl00d25 July 2005
    British "horror" film from director Norman Warren and screenwriter David McGillivray about a curse given to a family by a witch. The films opens with the burning of the witch, the curse, and all the information we need and then ends abruptly showing it was a film production by a small company with the head being the last remaining male in the actual line of ancestors cursed by the witch. Anyway, a party ensues and hypnotism is the party game de jour. An actress - also related to the family(last living relative) - goes wild with a sword and tries to kill the host. The party ends and then people begin to die. Whoever could be th killer? Or is this the real deal - the deadly curse exacting its revenge for deeds done centuries ago? Who cares by film's end? This is not a very well-done or executed film on many levels. The opening sequence is okay, but the film quickly turns into yet another soft-core story about this deadly curse with far more emphasis on peripheral plot threads. The deaths make virtually no sense when one sees the end of the film. The deaths are particularly gruesome for this decade even with some mad slashing, a hit and repeated run-over, and a head sliced from a pane of window glass. The acting is adequate by the British cast and some of the performers are even pretty decent. Carolyn Courage has the best peeved-off face I have seen in any film of recent years as the girl related to the cursed family. She is lovely to boot as are all the female actresses. Particularly standing out are Sarah Keller, a leggy blonde clad in white(what happens to her makes absolutely no sense at all when you see resolution of film...also look at the reaction of the guy that sees her - he looks like he is peeved rather than horrified!), and Tricia Walsh, a shapely and funny redhead. The male lead John Nolan looks like he is walking through his part, however. Why was he acting the way he did when we discover the real force behind these killings? And the answer to that is the real problem with this film - David McGillivray's screenplay. It JUST does not make any sense! You might remember some of McGillivray's other screen credits - Satan's Slave, Frightmare, and the brutal House of Whipchord to name a few. His work is always framed with brutal, bloody, misogynistic killings of lovely, young women. Some of the scenes are effectively shot and are a cut above a real bad picture. The opening for one is decidedly eerie and I liked a scene of a girl hiding out in a cottage waiting for a mechanic. Star Wars fans get a treat as the mechanic's cameo is played by none other than Peter Mayhew aka Chewie.
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