Terror (1978)

Norman J. Warren's rather daft Suspiria homage is surprisingly effective and actually scary. ABUK R2 boxset release.

The Film

The film opens with a movie/flashback of the Garrick family history - cursed by a Witch their ancestors tried to kill. The modern generation, James Garrick and his cousin Ann start to become afraid when an unknown presence starts to kill off their friends.

Director Norman J. Warren openly admits that the film was directly inspired by Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977) which was very different to the conventional and straight forward Hammer style films that formed the bulk of horror at the time. The storyline is not particularly original to modern audiences, and ultimately makes very little sense (why a family curse would kill their friends, who knows?) existing only to take the storyline from one murder scene to another although impressively it does actually have some geniunely scary sequences. There are some clever references to the popular sex comedies of the time, and to the British Hammer style films in the film's film within a film opening with a The End credit, marking the end of the classic style horrors and the star of something new. Ultimately, Terror works as a wonderful mix of horror clichés and daft scenes and is actually ahead of its time with use of handheld shaky cameras in many scenes, reminiscent of Evil Dead (1981) and a similar atmosphere to many of the later slasher films.

As well as the horror cliché script, Warren uses all his usual low budget tricks and some classic horror shots to help build the tension including plenty of weird lighting a la Argento and Bava to add to the haunting feel in many scenes. The minimal electronic soundtrack from Prey (1976) composer Ivor Slaney gives a suitably creepy score.

Altrhough original at the time, and very popular, Terror is actually very similar to a number of later films and to modern audiences is likely to appear very cliché - it is ultimatley an enjoyable, and occasionally genuinely scary film, that works as a tribute to horror films without heading into the often tiresome self-parody material. Partly recommended.

In Brief

Anyone famous in it? No-one of note.
Directed by anyone interesting? Norman J. Warren - One of Britain's few exploitation horror directors, best known for Inseminoid (1981).
Is it scary?There are several tense scenes that might prove scary.
Any violence/gore? A lot of very bloody deaths.
Any sex? A short, nude stripper sequence.
Who is it for?
Recommended to fans of exploitation horror cinema.
Good Soundtrack?A nice little electronic score by Ivor Slaney.


Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour.
The print is very good with strong colours, and very light grain and print damage.
Audio English original mono sounds good, plus rather unnecessary 5.1 and DTS remixes.
Subtitles English HOH.
Extras The disc includes:
  • Audio Commentary from Norman Warren and writer David McGillivray. Full of information with a wonderfully chatty and light hearted tone. Worth a listen.
  • Deleted scenes, two short sequences cut from the film due to pacing, good quality prints.
  • British radio spot (20 seconds).
  • Original French cinema trailer.
A documentary and more interviews about this film are present on the boxset bonus disc.
AvailabilityOnly available in the Norman J. Warren collection boxset.
Region Region 2 (UK, Europe) - PAL
Other regions? No other DVD release of this film.
Cuts? The film is believed to be fully uncut. English language print.



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All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 20th August 2006.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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