I was in sixth grade in the spring of 1975 and television was becoming important. This was when we could only get three channels and everyone was watching the same programs. If you weren’t watching the same programs that everyone else did, you weren’t able to participate in the discussions of the “cool” programs. It would be seventh grade and fall before everyone was talking about “Starsky and Hutch” and everyone needed Adidas sneakers. Or at least the knock-offs. That was when television became really important but spring of 1975 was giving us a test run. ABC had a series called the “Movie of the Week”. This was a 2 hour slot where they promised original movies made for TV. Most of the time, they ran pilots for series they had no intention of picking up. An original film didn’t happen that often. March 4 was one of those nights when they were going to show an original film called “Trilogy of Terror.”
I don’t remember seeing any commercials for this film before it came on. It seems like there were no other important shows on that evening and I was just going to watch whatever was on. The scenes shown before it actually started made it look creepy in a Twilight Zone kind of way. It no coincidence that it had that feel because the stories in this program were written by Richard Matheson. He was the screenwriter behind many of the greatest Twilight Zone episodes. It was also directed by Dan Curtis, the creator of Dark Shadows. At the time, I didn’t know any of that and it didn’t really make any difference to me.
I don’t want to give away any of the surprises in this film. There are three stories that are unrelated other than the fact that actress Karen Black stars in all of the segments. The third segment is the best and involves a Zuni doll that comes to life. It is one of those rare moments when a television program generates as much excitement as mainstream theatrical released motion picture. There are images of the doll and Karen Black that stuck with me for years. I remember that this show was the talk of the sixth grade the next morning. I was among the cool kids that got to see it.
This is one of the few television movies that they replay. I remember seeing it on the Creature Feature on a local UHF channel in the early 80’s. That’s when I started remembering the title. It even spawned a sequel but it’s not as good. Years later, I ran across a copy of it on DVD at a video store. I remember showing this to my son when he was about six years old. I watched him as he sat with his mouth open in horror watching the last segment. Maybe it was a little too intense for him. It was almost too intense for me when I was 12.
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller