Tuesday, October 8, 2013

TRILOGY OF TERROR II (1996) movie review

Trilogy of Terror II (1996) d. Dan Curtis (USA)

After terrorizing a generation in the 70s with his spooky television output, producer/director Curtis revisited his roots first via a reboot of his cult soap opera Dark Shadows in 1991, followed by this sequel to the celebrated 1975 anthology TV-movie starring Karen Black. In the original version, Black played the lead character in all three segments; here, Lysette Anthony (who had played Shadows’ Angelique for Curtis) takes up the mantle, switching up hairstyles and accents for a trio of enjoyable horror yarns that very nearly match the entertainment value of its predecessor.

Batting lead-off is Richard Matheson’s adaptation of Henry Kuttner’s story, “The Graveyard Rats,” which sees tyrannical wheelchair-bound Matt Clark lording over his unfaithful wife (Anthony) until she and homicidal lover Geraint Wyn Davies decide to send the old codger down the stairs Kiss of Death style. Problem is, Clark has found a way to take his extensive wealth with him, necessitating a visit to the local boneyard and an encounter with skittish groundskeeper Geoffrey Lewis, who acquaints the dastardly duo firsthand with the oversized rodent problem.

Next up is a largely redundant redo of Matheson’s “Bobby,” the climax and highlight of Curtis’ 1977 anthology, Dead of Night. A grieving Anthony revives her drowned son via black magic, but then finds the little nipper isn’t quite so pleased to be back among the living.

Finally, the star of the 1975 Trilogy returns in “He Who Kills,” as the pint-sized Zuni Fetish Doll resumes his frenzied assault on human prey, this time focusing his attentions on the local museum’s anthropologist (Anthony, naturally) called in to examine the doll found at the scene of the crime. Before long, the toothy devil is skittering across floors and vocalizing his Zuni war cry while laying waste to all in his path. The script by Curtis and frequent collaborator William F. Nolan revisits several set pieces from the original version, but it’s all efficient, high spirited fun with a dash more blood to reflect the times.

While no lost classic, ToT2 is a sequel that more than delivers the goods and is definitely worth your time.

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