The Terror

5.01 h 22 min196313+
A young officer in Napoleon's army pursues a mysterious woman to the castle of an elderly Baron where he discovers that she is the pawn of an old witch bent on driving the Baron to suicide.
Roger Corman
Boris KarloffJack NicholsonSandra Knight
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Dick MillerDorothy NeumannJonathan HazeRick DeanWayne Grace
Roger CormanFrancis Ford CoppolaHarvey Jacobson
Reel Enterprises
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4.4 out of 5 stars

141 global ratings

  1. 72% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 7% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on October 9, 2017
3.0 out of 5 stars
Interesting movie, poor image quality, watch on YT first
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My suggestion for anyone who is unfamiliar with this movie is to watch it for free on YT. This is one of Roger Corman's "Hey kids! Let's make another movie since we wrapped the one we just made" efforts. It has it's moments both for the good and the bad. Jack as a French army officer? Who knew they spoke English with a Jersey accent! I like the movie, it's weird and fun, and if you are a Corman fan or a fan of cult movies you will probably like it. My 3 star rating is due to the quality of the transfer: it's very soft focus most of the time. I do not know if it was shot that way or just a bad print or a second-rate transfer, but it is not a high quality image. So watch it on YT and decide for yourself.
7 people found this helpful
Chip KaufmannReviewed in the United States on May 10, 2011
4.0 out of 5 stars
Finally A TERROR That Isn't Terrible.
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I have searched high and low for a high quality print of THE TERROR, a favorite of mine since I saw it back in 1963, but since it's in the public domain, the numerous VHS and DVD copies have ranged from bad to worse. My search is finally over, for the print in this new DVD/Blu Ray set is almost perfect. The creative and colorful use of lighting, resembling that used by Mario Bava, can now be seen in all its glory and the colors (including the famous butterscotch finale) are sharp and vivid. Although not in the original widescreen ratio, it still looks astonishingly good. For those of you unfamiliar with its history, THE TERROR was cobbled together in a few weeks by 5 different directors including the 26 year old Jack Nicholson who has the starring role. Karloff's scenes were shot in 3 days.

Be advised that while this is not an official MGM release like the other AIP Poe pictures, it is certainly the best copy of the film out there. I cannot speak about the quality of the Blu-Ray disc as I don't have a Blu-Ray player but in order to get the DVD I had to buy the combo pack. I can say that the DVD looks great on my flat screen and sounds great too. In addition to the dialogue, Ronald Stein's memorable score also comes through loud and clear. The packaging also restores the original poster art which clearly states that THE TERROR is a Boris Karloff vehicle not a Jack Nicholson one although that's how it used to be marketed in previous incarnations. In addition it's a rare opportunity to see Jack's then wife Sandra Knight in what is her best known role.
18 people found this helpful
M. BrittonReviewed in the United States on April 28, 2011
4.0 out of 5 stars
The Terror on blu ray....too much DNR! but still worth having.
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Just got to say after the bad print of Kansas City Confidential from this company, I was scared to get this version of The Terror on blu ray. Just like KCC, they DNRd the crap out of this. To the point you're looking at a soft picture. Maybe I am confused, but shouldn't 1080p have plenty of detail and more grain? I admit, this is the best it has looked on home video, but it definitely is not the crisp MGMHD print. Some scenes on this blu ray combo look alright, while others there is no detail. I expect the stock film Corman used to look bad, but not the studio shots. Even the close ups are fuzzy. It is over cropped at 1.85 instead of its 1.66 frame (except for the credits), but at least its anamorphic. The 5.1 sound is horrible, I suggest switching to two channel to utilize the center channel at least. For ten bucks, its not a bad buy (at least it comes with a DVD copy)...but it could've been so much better. But this will have to do until MGM puts it out on blu ray. One interesting note is the American International logo is still at the beginning....I find that interesting, since their films are released by MGM on video.
21 people found this helpful
THE BLUEMAHLERReviewed in the United States on January 6, 2012
4.0 out of 5 stars
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Roger Corman`s The Terror has been in public domain for half of forever. The result, predictably, has been a plethora of DVD prints, ranging from wretched to execrable. It is a legendary film that his its equal share of fans and detractors. The Terror marks the only time Boris Karloff actually "starred" in a film directed by Corman (The Raven-1963, does not really count, as Karloff was secondary to Vincent Price). How much of the movie Corman directed is debatable. Francis Ford Coppola, Monte Hellman, Jack Hill, Jack Nicholson, and Dick Miller are all reported to have directed parts of The Terror, although only Corman is credited.

The story behind the film is well known. Corman had finished shooting The Raven ahead of schedule and still had Karloff on contract for four days. Not one to waste money, Corman whipped up a second movie starring the actor. Part of the myth regarding this film is that it was made in its entirety in 48 hrs. Actually, Karloff's scenes were shot in three to four days. Corman utilized the castle set from the first film, later scenes were added, and the entire movie was produced over a nine month period, which is something like an epic for Corman. Corman, of course, masterfully sculpts his own mythology, but filming commenced without a finished script, and that is probably why it took so long to pull something halfway salable out of it. It's not really an advisable filmmaking method.

The Terror has finally been released in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and has rightfully received accolades for the remastering on the Blu-ray. Unfortunately,the DVD part of the combo has had a high number of reported defects. Regardless, the film looks beautiful in the Blu-ray transfer, rich with 1960s colors. It finally looks nearly as good here as the excerpts we see of it in the Corman produced Targets (1968-dir. Peter Bogdanovich). The transfer made me long to see The Terror on a drive-in cinema screen.

Seeing this film in a watchable print does reveal some merits. Besides the vibrant Gothic milieu, the film has an energetic score by Ronald Stein. Jack Nicholson, while not the actor he would become, is better as an arrogant soldier than he was as the whiny son of the equally whiny Vincent Price in The Raven. Another high point here is the very good performance by Boris Karloff. It is unfortunate that Corman did not get to work with Karloff more than he did, because the actor might have been better suited to this director than was Price. In the Poe-cycle Corman films, Price often projects a grating self-pity. While Karloff was also a screen personality that audiences sympathized with, he was able to convey pathos in a less hand-wringing way.

As far as the script, it is surprisingly somewhat coherent for something that was slapped together. Nicholson is Lt. Andre Duvalier, a soldier in Napoleon's army. Inexplicably, he gets separated from his regiment. He sees a mysterious, beautiful woman (Sandra Knight). He is told her name is Helene, and he attempts to follows her into the sea. Duvalier believes that she has committed suicide. He is attacked by a large bird and wakes up in the home of the old witch Katrina (Dorothy Neumann) and her mute henchman Gustaf ( Jonathan Haze). Duvalier's search for Helene leads him to the castle of Baron Victor Von Leppe (Karloff) who lives alone there with his servant Stefan (Dick Miller). The Baron has a painting of Ilsa, his wife, dead now twenty years. Shockingly (?), Ilsa looks exactly like Helene. The nobleman has a black secret and a predictable revelation is in store, along with an unpredictable twist.

The opening sequence of Karloff descending down the castle stairs in the night is stylistically shot. He opens a door and a skeleton pops out. Animated birds of dread soar through the credits, enhancing the flavor. Nicely done; except for those who prefer a coherent narrative, because there is no hidden skeleton in the film. In this, The Terror is a bit like the pulp comic book covers which show a potentially exciting scene that never actually occurs in the story. Not being religiously attached to linear yarn spinning, I liked the sequence. Sandra Knight (Nicholson's wife at the time) as the ghost of Ilsa, is beautiful, obviously pregnant in several scenes, and a distractingly bad actress. Neumann and Haze have contagious fun with their roles.

A so-called spoiler alert (although it's a bit nonsensical to have a spoiler alert for a fifty year old film, but in that in that I am keeping with the nonsensical spirit of The Terror): twenty years ago the Baron murdered Ilsa when he caught her bedding down the peasant Eric. That's a big no surprise. Stefan disposed of Eric. The ghost of Ilsa is exacting revenge via Katrina, who is Eric's mother. Stefan unloads the one genuine twist: actually, he killed the Baron and Eric has taken the nobleman's place for the last twenty years. That narrative bit will doubtfully sit well with the unimaginative reality-check geeks who will be quick to point out that Karloff's Eric is at least thirty years older than his "mother," portrayed by Neumann.

Karloff excels in the confrontation finale. Ilsa is coercing Eric into suicide (so they can be joined together in the abode of the damned). Eric resists, fearing eternal damnation, but finally consents with thinly veiled resignation masking glee. Karloff does the scene justice. Earlier, he is as good at menacingly evading Duvalier's inquiries.

The finale is everything you would expect in this kind of product: a flooded castle (with a really bad double for Karloff) and a corpse which melts after a kiss (Sandra Knight, after Jack plants one on his wife's lips). The special effects add up to what looks like a gallon of butterscotch syrup poured onto her face.

Still, the legend behind this film is just plain fun, even if it's more myth than fact, even it's more product than art, even if it's more entrepreneur Corman than craftsman Corman. And, hell there is Karloff! So, if anyone within close vicinity has one of those massive TV screens and a disc of drive-in snack bar commercials, then I have got The Terror and the pizza, and we'll imagine it's 1963 all over again.
10 people found this helpful
MJBReviewed in the United States on June 2, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Wonderful Terror!
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The HD Cinema Classics version on Blu-ray is the best version to have in your collection. The beautiful cinematography really shines through on this gorgeous disc. The sound and music are crisp and clear with nice bass tones. An altogether fantastic addition to anyone's collection. The Film Detective version is a BD-R disc and the black levels are crushed and inky. Get the HD Cinema Classics version instead!
8 people found this helpful
Kevin KierskyReviewed in the United States on December 30, 2009
5.0 out of 5 stars
Old Fun Dark Horror Cult Classic +++
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Sure, "The Terror" is an older Roger Corman work that he banged-out in way under a week using the left-over assets of another cult classic finished early ["The Raven"]. Well, they must have been quickly creative on-the-spot as this movie is at least as good as most others of its type by Roger Corman or anyone else. I do have a small chuckle over seeing the lost circa-Napoleonic French Calvary Officer pull-out what looked like a small twentieth century revolver [rather than a rapier or sabre] -- but am mostly happily surprised at the fairly well-done early nineteenth century Dark Baltic setting -- from the rocky seaside to the village and castle. The natural and supernatural action moves at a good pace as I enjoy seeing spooky Boris Karloff, young Jack Nicholson and lovely Sandra Knight do their twisting and turning Dark Dance of Doom together. For me, "The Terror" has a dark gothic atomosphere worth seeing yet again +++
4 people found this helpful
plh66Reviewed in the United States on October 19, 2016
3.0 out of 5 stars
I wish it had English Subtitles!!
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I would have given this movie five stars, but it only has Spanish subtitles.
I bought the blue ray version of this movie in hoping it had English subtitles. My Husband is hard of hearing and needs subtitles (English) to watch TV/Movies.
I have a feeling none of the blue ray versions have English subtitles. I'd send it back if it would help.
Hopefully it appears on Netflix, or another channel so my Husband can enjoy this movie as well
2 people found this helpful
Emmett GlennReviewed in the United States on May 2, 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Finally! It's watchable!
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I cannot complain as others have about this transfer. It is, by far, the best representation of the film I have ever seen.

The aspect ratio fills a 16:9 screen and its sound is in 5.1 surround. I thought it sounded terrific!

Also for the first time, I was able to watch the movie all the way through. Because other transfers' images were always so blurry and the sound so muffled, it was almost like watching snow on the screen. I'd lose interest halfway through and fall asleep.

This time, though, the movie grabbed my attention. How could it not? The image and sound were both clear. Happily, I changed my mind from judging the film mediocre to just as intriguing as Roger Corman's other masterpieces, like "The Fall of the House of Usher (1960)," "The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)," "Tales of Terror (1962)," "Tower of London (1962)," "The Haunted Palace (1963)," "The Raven (1963)," "Masque of the Red Death (1964)," and "The Tomb of Ligeia (1965)." It would be awesome to have these MGM features transferred to Blu-ray!

[[ASIN:B00005AUK0 The Fall of the House of Usher]]
[[ASIN:B00005AUK4 The Pit and the Pendulum]]
[[ASIN:B0007R4T12 The Fall of the House of Usher /The Pit and the Pendulum]]
[[ASIN:0792846893 Tales of Terror (Edgar Allan Poe's)]]
[[ASIN:B000787YRM Tales of Terror/Twice Told Tales (Midnite Movies Double Feature)]]
[[ASIN:B00009PY4D The Haunted Palace / The Tower of London]]
[[ASIN:B00009PY45 Double Feature: The Comedy of Terrors & The Raven]]
[[ASIN:B000068TPE The Masque of the Red Death / The Premature Burial]]
[[ASIN:B00009PY4A The Tomb of Ligeia / An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe]]
14 people found this helpful
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