Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Trilogy of Terror - The Horror of the Zuni Fetish Doll

Zuni Fetish Bathtub Clip
Zuni Fetish Ending!
Zuni Fetish Music Video!
Angry Doll with a Knife!
Zuni Fetish Doll on the toilet
Zuni Fetish Dolls from "Attack of the Beast Creatures!"

Zuni fetish"Trilogy of Terror" is a made-for-TV movie from 1975. As the title indicates, the film is broken up into three stories. The first two are fairly pedestrian and boring, but the third story, Amelia, is a remarkable bit of filmmaking. This movie scared the bejeesus out of me when I was a kid!

There are only two characters in the this brief twenty minute story, Amelia, played by Karen Black, and a Zuni Fetish doll that Amelia has bought for her anthropologist boyfriend.

A scroll that accompanies the fetish states that the doll contains the spirit of a Zuni hunter known as "He Who Kills", and that if the gold chain that hangs around the doll's neck should ever be removed, the spirit will bring the doll to life. You can guess what happens next.

I was just a kid when I first saw this film, and the Zuni fetish scenes had a strong impact on me. Whenever the film was rerun, I would watch it again, dutifully sitting through first two stories to get my twenty minute fix of homunculus horror!

You have to remember that "Star Wars" had not come out yet, and the pinnacle of puppet special effects at that point were films done by Ray Harryhausen. This is not even stop motion animation, but an actual puppet! At the time, this was cutting edge film making, especially for a made-for-TV movie.

I saw the real Zuni fetish prop at a exhibit of Hollywood paraphernalia, and I was immediately disheartened. It was just a little blob of latex with a metal track with four wheels underneath it to propel the device. Still, the film has made an impact on the general public, and there is something of a cult following for the little guy. The scene from the film "Attack of the Beast Creatures!" is obviously an homage to "Trilogy of Terror".

You can even buy your own Trilogy of Terror Zuni Fetish doll! But who in their right mind would want to own a Zuni fetish? There are some things that you don't want to have in the house with you when you turn out the lights. It's like having a Tybo the Carrot Man action figure. Way too scary!

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At Sun Jun 17, 09:26:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Finally we get a peek behind at ape behind the ape! I'd have to say it was "Night of the Living Dead" that was my scary childhood movie. My mom let us watch it one night on TV around 1969 or early 1970. I was traumatized when they used a shovel to kill the little girl zombie. Thankfully I recovered a bit and I adore zombie movies today.

At Sun Jun 17, 09:57:00 AM, Anonymous Infidel753 said...

As a bit of trivia, I'm pretty sure that "Amelia" was based on the 1969 short story "Prey" by Richard Matheson, author of the classic vampire novel "I Am Legend". Matheson's horror fiction is truly creepy, and anyone who is into that sort of thing will love it.

At Sun Jun 17, 11:08:00 AM, Anonymous Omnipotent Poobah said...

That one with the knife looks a little like Big Dick Cheney.

At Sun Jun 17, 01:43:00 PM, Anonymous Tengrain said...

Karen Black? Was she in every camp movie of the 70s?

Dr. Z - enlighten us!



At Sun Jun 17, 04:39:00 PM, Blogger angry ballerina said...

Again says I, "Holy fucking SHIT!"

At Sun Jun 17, 08:55:00 PM, Blogger Bella Rossa said...

Whoa, I actually do remember this movie, and have seen nothing of it since it first scared the crap out of me. Thanks for rekindling some childhood terror.

At Sun Jun 17, 09:53:00 PM, Blogger Dr. Crowbar said...

I am honored to meet you Dr. Zaius. You have finally made a monkey out of me.

At Mon Jun 18, 01:18:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Dr. Monkerstein: I loved "Night of the Living Dead" as well. The first time I saw that it was on "Creature Features" with Bob Wilkins. The film's ending is perhaps the most surprising moment of the film.

Infidel753: Yes! Richard Matheson is also the author for "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", an episode of "The Twilight Zone" that had William Shatner seeing a monster on the wing of an airplane. There were two film versions of "I Am Legend", one with Vincent Price and one with Charleton Heston. I've read the book, and I love both films!

Omnipotent Poobah: On his best day, Dick Cheney never looked that good.

Tengrain: Do I note a hint of sarcasm in your voice? Of course she wasn't in every camp movie of the 70s. The camp diva of 1978 was Olivia Newton-John, for example.

Angry Ballerina: Hmm... I hope that you mean that as a good thing, and not a bad thing!

Bella Rossa: It was a great movie, wasn't it? If I have rekindled some childhood terror in you, that warms the cockels of my dark simian heart.

Dr. Crowbar: Good afternoon, sir! No reason to be modest, I am sure that you have been a monkey all along.

At Mon Jun 18, 08:30:00 AM, Blogger angry ballerina said...

Well you made me think it so yea that's a good thing.


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