DVD review: 'The Terror'
With three days left to get as much additional mileage as he could out of Boris Karloff, the industrious Corman commissioned actor/screenwriter Leo Gordon and all-purpose protege Jack Hill to dash out a script and deal pages of dialogue to a quickly assembled cast that included Karloff, Jack Nicholson (another “Raven” leftover), Shirley Knight (Nicholson’s then-wife), Dorothy Neumann, Jonathan Haze, and reliable Corman regular Dick Miller.
In only his eighth big-screen role, a whiny Nicholson is amusingly unconvincing as a soldier in Napoleon’s army who becomes lost on the Baltic coast, and follows a seemingly ghostly woman (Knight) to the spooky old castle of the mysterious Baron Von Leppe (Karloff), a place which of course turns out to be a “ghastly, haunted mansion of death!”
While producer Corman took all the directing credit, B-movie lore has it that he allowed several others of his crew to take turns calling shots behind the camera, including young associate producer Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Hill, Dennis Jacob, Monte Hellman (who at least got a location director credit) and even Nicholson. It’s also been written that the crew was scrambling to finish Karloff’s scenes even as the “Raven” sets were being torn down around them.
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