In this made-for-TV horror showcase, Karen Black plays four separate roles in three successive tales written or based on the works of venerable genre writer Richard Matheson. In "Julie," Black portrays a prim college literature instructor who engages in a debauched affair with one of her students after he drugs, date-rapes, and blackmails her into submission; here and in the other stories, however, things aren't what they seem. "Millicent and Therese" features the actress in two roles as good sister/bad sister twins who use witchcraft to settle their sexual and moral differences. In the final and most famous segment, "Amelia," Black plays a spinster with an insufferable mother who sublets a high-rise apartment in the city in order to find romantic freedom. When she purchases a Zuni fetish warrior doll as a present for her anthropology-professor beau, it comes to life and chases her around the flat with considerable tenacity. A failed pilot for a horror anthology series, Trilogy of Terror first appeared on ABC in 1975 and subsequently gained a devoted cult following. Black originally didn't want to participate, but agreed after her husband, Robert Burton, was cast in the role of the date-raping blackmailer. Although the actress has appeared in numerous subsequent horror films, it was her indelible quadruple roles here that inspired cult New York rockers the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black. The film also allegedly inspired the 1984 horror-blaxploitation flick Black Devil Doll From Hell. A belated sequel, Trilogy of Terror 2, also from former Dark Shadows director Dan Curtis, followed in 1996.
by Brian J. Dillard synopsis