Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Terror/Scared to Death|
Genres: Horror, Mystery & Suspense
No Description Available. Genre: Horror Rating: NR Release Date: 21-SEP-2004 Media Type: DVD
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Budget Edition Of Two Obscure, Mildly Entertaining Horror Ti
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 07/01/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Neither of these films can be called particularly inspired, but they do have what you might call "the charm of the obscure." The impetus for pairing the two titles in this budget edition is the fun of putting Karloff and Lugosi's names together (even though they do not appear in the same films) and the fact that both are in color; THE TERROR and SCARED TO DEATH have no actual connection.
According to film lore, when shooting wrapped on 1963's THE RAVEN, producer Roger Corman discovered he still had star Boris Karloff under contract for three days more--and not being one to waste a dime he quickly came up with a script that could be shot in a couple of days on the same sets. The result was THE TERROR, a mildly entertaining bit of gothic horror that co-stars Karloff with, of all people, a very young Jack Nicholson.
THE TERROR concerns a young French solider (Jack Nicholson, who made several films with Corman early in his career) who is separated from Napoleon's army and finds himself drawn to an isolated castle by the charms of a lovely young woman (Sandra Knight)--but instead encounters the Baron Victor Frederick Von Leppe (Boris Karloff), an elderly and possibly demented man still mourning the death of his wife some twenty years ago. The plot is loose, to say the least, and Nicholson is hardly any one's idea of a Napoleonic officer, but while THE TERROR isn't a great film by any stretch of the imagination it isn't a bad one either. For all its cliches and cheap manipulations, it manages to create an atmosphere that is surprisingly effective.
Little seems known about the 1947 SCARED TO DEATH, an low budget independent film often billed as "Bela Lugosi's only color movie." This is not strictly true: although he was not the star, Lugosi also appeared the color 1930 VIENNESE NIGHTS--but given that both films are so little known it's hardly worth arguing about.
SCARED TO DEATH has a script so far gone that it often borders on outright camp, and a host of minor supporting players feed the effect: Joyce Compton, best known for her numerous air-head Southern blonde roles in such films as THE AWFUL TRUTH; Nat Pendleton, best known for his dunder-headed cop roles in such films as THE THIN MAN; and George Zucco, best known for his weird doctor roles in such films as TOPPER RETURNS. Throw these archetypical characters into a series of interior sets, shake well with a script that includes secret passages and mind control by a mixture of hypnosis and telepathy, and there you go.
This double-feature budget release by Peter Pan isn't bad as such things go. The transfers are what you might call reasonable rather than good, but this is a somewhat comparative call; both films were cheaply made to begin with, I have never seen a print of either that I would call pristine, and I very much doubt a pristine print of either title actually exists. Of the two, THE TERROR is weaker on visuals (lots of digital pixilation here) and SCARED TO DEATH is weaker on sound (lots of "let me turn up the volume" moments.) But I've seen much worse of both, and if you are curious about these seldom-seen titles this particular edition is probably as good as any.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer"