Blu-ray Review: Terror

Family curses are all fun until they happen to you. Let’s just say you’re a filmmaker needing a quick idea for a cult hit. Why not dip back into the family history to that time when your ancestors hunted down a woman who they believed was a witch and burned her at a stake. As her body went up in flames, she cast a curse on the family for generations to come. What’s the worst that can come from recreating such a moment? We learn that lesson fast in the Terror.

Producer James Garrick (Batman Begins‘ John Nolan) runs a small movie studio in England that’s not quite up to the posh standards of his upper crust family. But he seems ready to turn the page with his horror film that’s could rival Hammer and Amicus with a true tale at its core. They recreated the night the family captured and burned a witch at the stake. The witch wasn’t happy with this and cursed the family. But how good of a curse could it be since the family kept the estate all these centuries later. But sometimes evil takes its sweet time to activate. During a cast and crew screening at his manor, the wickedness begins. There’s a little hypnosis fun that might have awaken the witch. One guest doesn’t get home that night. At the studio, Garrick isn’t happy that they’re renting out a soundstage to an adult feature. He fears that the cops investigating the trouble at his estate might stumble on the production at the wrong time and bust the place. But he doesn’t get that the biggest fear is the curse that has been awoken by the movie lights. The curse spills over to a hostel for young female actresses that also work at a nearby strip club. When will the witch get enough revenge?

Terror does a fine job at going beyond the graphic horror previously exported by Hammer and Amicus. The film doesn’t mind getting nasty whether it be the murders or the strip club. This is not a glamorous England on the screen. The effects are rather fine as the supernatural killings take place. When the spirit goes on the rampage in the movie studio, things go wonderfully over the top as the 35mm film goes after its victims and manipulates equipment for a deadly purpose. Terror is so worth scaring up unless your family was cursed by a burning witch.

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The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer brings out the nightmares without exposing the special effects. Audio is DTS-HD Master Audio Mono. The levels are fine to hear the screaming witch and the funky synthesizer score. The movie is subtitled

Audio Commentary is a phone interview with Norman J. Warren with writer Kat Ellinger. It covers his whole career so it’s not screen specific.

Interviews includes chats on video with director Norman J. Warren, David McGillivray, Carolyn Courage, Tricia Walsh, Mary Maude and Peter Craze. Warren discusses how seeing Dario Argento’s Susperia inspired him to want to push the level of visual horror expected of British productions of 1978. This was a good time for indie films on the Isles. He and the producer wrote down what kind of scenes they liked in scary films and sent it off to the screen writer. Tricia Walsh didn’t agree to do any nude scenes so her part in the adult movie was awkward on purpose.

Deleted and Extended Scenes (4:46) includes a mesmerism scene at the estate, bad script reading at the studio and more of the punk striptease. There’s a shocking moment how the cocktail waitresses mix new drinks.

Vinegar Syndrome presents Terror. Directed by: Norman J. Warren. Screenplay by: David McGillivray. Starring: John Nolan, Carolyn Courage, Michael Craze, James Aubrey and Elaine Ives-Cameron. Rated: R. Running Time: 84 minutes. Released: May 1, 2018.

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