GOREHOUSE GREATS: Terrified! (1963)

I’m echoing what nearly every article about this movie says, if only because it’s true. The first two minutes of this movie are better than anything that will follow.

We start in a ghost town, where a laughing hooded figure buries a young boy alive. When the kid asks, “Who are you?” the reply is chilling: “You know me, Joey!” and then laughter, as the boy’s shocked face is shown and we see gigantic eyes fill the screen.

Seriously, if that’s all Terrified! was, people would still be talking about it and not just manaics like me.

The titles are so classy — just check out the whole opening at Art of the Title — that even the Crown International Pictures title card comes up as part of the animation and not just thrown out at the start of the movie.

Lew Landers’ last movie — he made The Raven at Universal before a long career that went from film to television — Terrified! is all about a college psychology student studying just how much terror a man can take. Once a killer starts hunting him, he gets first-hand knowledge.

Denver Pyle — years before he was Uncle Jessie — is in this as a lawman. Speaking of lawmen, Ben Frank, who was Inspector Lt. Mankiewicz in Death Wish 2, is in this. So is Barbara Luddy, who was one of the Disney players from 1955 to 1973, with her voice showing up as Lady in Lady and the Tramp, Merryweather in Sleeping Beauty and Rover in One Hundred and One Dalmatians. And oh wow — Robert Towers is here too, someday to be in Masters of the Universe as the strange-looking Skeletor minion Karg!

It’s not horrible, but man, that opening makes you hope for so much more.

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