• Terror, The

    Released by: Film Detective
    Released on: May 31st, 2016.
    Director: Roger Corman
    Cast: Jack Nicholson, Boris Karloff, Sandra Knight, Dick Miller
    Year: 1964
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Roger Corman with uncredited assists from Francis Ford Coppola, Monte Hellman, Jack Nicholson and Jack Hill, The Terror stars a young Nicolson in the lead role of a 19th century French soldier named Lieutenant Andre Duvalier who, when the film begins, has been separated from the rest of his company. Unsure how he got there, he wakes up on a distant beach where he sees a mysterious and beautiful woman (Sandra Knight) and, being understandably curious, he follows her only to wind up at a massive old castle lived in by Baron Von Leppe (Boris Karloff) and his assistant (Dick Miller of all people).

    Von Leppe lets him in but Duvalier is more interested in finding out what happened to the beautiful woman he saw and figuring out who she is. Von Leppe, however, tells him that no such woman is living in the area, though Duvalier continues to see her out the window and around the castle. Complicating the issue further is a painting in the Baron’s castle of a woman who looks eerily similar to the one Duvalier is after. Unsure what’s going on, the old witch woman who lives nearby (Dorothy Neumann) might know more than she’s letting on – but what’s really happening here? Is Duvalier imagining things or is the Baron up to something?

    Shot directly after The Raven (which is how Karloff wound up in the film – Corman simply through more money at him to keep him onboard once The Raven wrapped), The Terror is a pretty impressive little low budget gothic horror film. While it’s not always easy to Nicholson seriously in the role of a Napoleonic era French officer, as he neither looks nor sounds the part, Karloff is as reliably creepy as always and Knight makes for a great mysterious ghost woman. The sets, left over from The Raven as well, look excellent and the lighting and use of primary colors throughout the film is consistently impressive and gives the film a weird atmosphere.

    Featuring a really strong build up to a creepy conclusion that takes place in a perfectly morbid location complete with graves and fog and giant spooky trees, making it easy to overlook the fact that the story doesn’t really go anywhere for much of its running time and when it does it’s relying very heavily on clichés and genre standards. Not a particularly original film, it’s nevertheless quite an entertaining one and certainly a very nicely shot one. Flawed or not, it gives Karloff plenty of time to strut his stuff and it’s got enough going on that works that you won’t mind its obvious missteps.


    The Terror arrives on Blu-ray framed at 1.85.1 and presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Transferred from a print that appears to have been in pretty nice shape (MGM holds the negative for this one but doesn’t seem interested in releasing it, likely because of its public domain status). Colors are reproduced very nicely and while some of the inserts looks a little soft, the image is pretty clean. Texture and depth are vastly improved over the previous Blu-ray release from Film Chest (which was absolutely slathered in DNR) and while it’s still a little rough around the edges in spots, given the origins of the film this is a decent looking picture.

    The English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono audio track is also pretty decent. There’s a bit of hiss in a few spots but it’s not overpowering or distracting and both the score and the dialogue sound just fine. Optional subtitles are provided in English language only.

    Aside from a static menu there are no extras on the disc at all.

    The Final Word:

    While not a perfect film, The Terror holds up rather well. Film Detective's Blu-ray release looks much nicer than the previous Blu-ray from a few years back, and while the disc is sadly devoid of any extras but for now it is the best looking version around.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Gary Banks's Avatar
      Gary Banks -
      This film is okay but as much as I love Karloff this isn't important enough to warrant a double dip on the blu ray.
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      Better than the previous BD as they left the DNR off this time, but it's the same blown out source.You can see caps between this and the superior MGM HD broadcast here:http://thelatarniaforums.yuku.com/sr...e-DVD-Versions