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Trilogy of Terror (1975) – Episode 108 – Decades of Horror 1970s

— Zuni doll gibberish —” You might not know what he’s saying, but you’re definitely not hanging around to find out! Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they relive the impact they experienced when they first watched Trilogy of Terror (1975) from Dan Curtis.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 108 – Trilogy of Terror (1975)

Three bizarre horror stories all of which star Karen Black in four different roles playing tormented women.


  • Director: Dan Curtis
  • Writers: William F. Nolan, Richard Matheson
  • Music: Bob Cobert
  • Film Editing: Les Green
  • Special Effects:
  • Segments
    • “Julie” – Julie Eldridge is a sexually-repressed college teacher who is blackmailed by one of her students for a past indiscretion in which she played an unwilling part.
      • Teleplay by William F. Nolan, based on a Richard Matheson story, “The Likeness of Julie.” as by Logan Swanson in the anthology Alone by Night (1962) ed. Don Congdon, Michael Congdon, Ballantine Books; then in Shock II (1964), Dell.
      • Karen Black as Julie
      • Robert Burton as Chad Rogers
      • Jim Storm as Eddie Nells
      • Gregory Harrison as the New Student
      • Kathryn Reynolds as Anne Richards
      • Orin Cannon as Motel Clerk
    • “Millicent and Therese” – Millicent Larimore is a plain-looking, almost reclusive woman who lives with her amoral twin sister Therese who delights in tormenting her.
      • Teleplay by William F. Nolan from the Richard Matheson story “Therese” (aka “Needle in the Heart”) (1969), Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, October 1969, Shock Waves – Oct 1970
      • Karen Black as Millicent / Therese
      • John Karlen as Thomas Amman
      • George Gaynes as Dr. Chester Ramsey
      • Tracy Curtis as Tracy
    • “Amelia”  – Amelia, in a solo horror story monologue, is a mother-dominated woman who buys a Zuni fetish doll for her latest boyfriend.
      • Written by Richard Matheson based on his own story, “Prey” (1969), Playboy, April 1969, Shock Waves – Oct 1970
      • Karen Black as Amelia
      • Frank Welker and Walker Edmiston (uncredited) as the voice of the Zuni doll

Each of the members of the Grue-Crew for this episode viewed Trilogy of Terror during its television premiere in 1975 and it made an indelible mark on each of their psyches. Of course, that mark, the one that created nightmares and lost sleep, is left by the final segment in which the Zuni doll runs amok. The Grue-Crew also has a heightened appreciation for Karen Black’s acting abilities after rewatching the film and her four performances therein. They also all agree that the terror in the final segment is just as strong and effective as it was in 1975. If you haven’t seen Dan Curtis’ Trilogy of Terror recently, you owe yourself a rewatch. It’s that good. At least, the Zuni-warrior doll piece is that good!

Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror 3-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In three weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule will be Frankenstein: The True Story (1973). 

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Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.