The Terror (1963)

I usually review movies made before 1950.  However, my interest in the Roger Corman-Boris Karloff collaboration was piqued by listening to the You Must Remember This podcast.  I recommend Karina Longworth’s podcast to any classic film fans.

Roger Corman released The Terror during the summer of 1963.  Set in the early 1800s, French Lt. Andre Duvalier, played by Jack Nicholson, has been separated from Napoleon’s army.  After collapsing from exhaustion, Nicholson sees a young woman.  While attempting to follow her, he is overcome and wakes up in a nearby hut.

Lt. Duvalier goes looking for the girl and sees her at the window of a nearby castle.  The castle belongs to a German baron, Baron Victor Frederick Von Leppe, played by Boris Karloff.  Lt. Duvalier asks to see the girl but Baron Von Leppe informs him that no one lives at the estate but himself and his former military aide.


Boris Karloff from the Public Domain

Lt. Duvalier stays at Von Leppe’s castle and investigates a number of strange occurrences.  He is able to unravel the back story of both Baron Von Leppe and his young wife, who died twenty years before the events of this film.  While some of the Corman-Karloff collaborations had comedic elements, this film would definitely be in the horror genre.

The Terror tells the story of love, betrayal and ultimately revenge.   While filmed on a low-budget, the film still is better than the average cheap film.

Corman was counting on Boris Karloff’s name value to help draw horror fans to the film.  However, it was Jack Nicholson as Lt. Duvalier and Sandra Knight as Helene, the beautiful young girl, who carried the film.

Boris Karloff was born in 1887.  At the time of this film, he was 76 years old.  While he was no longer capable of performing physically, Karloff still had an unmistakable film presence.

Reviews on the Internet Movie Database only give the film 5 out of 10 stars.  However, I rated it higher at 7 stars.  Who do you agree with?  How do you rate the film?

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