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- Julie - A University English teacher is blackmailed into a relationship with her student.
- Millicent and Therese - Two sisters hate each other with a passion. The older sister decides to deal with the younger one once and for all.
- Amelia - A woman with an overbearing mother accidentally releases a murderous spirit from within a Zuni Fetish doll and must fight for her life. The film's most popular and best remembered segment.
Dan Curtis released a sequel in 1996, which also had three segments.
- The Graveyard Rats - Two lovers decide to kill other's husband.
- Bobby - A woman tries to bring back her dead son.
- He Who Kills - The Zuni Fetish doll returns for more murder and mayhem.
Tropes used in Trilogy of Terror include:
- Abusive Parents: It's implied that Bobby's mother is/was one.
- Acting for Two: Karen Black plays the lead in all three segments.
- Used again in the sequel, this time with Lysette Anthony.
- Agony of the Feet: The Zuni Fetish doll begins its attack on Amelie by stabbing her feet.
- Anthology Film
- Big No
- Blackmail: Chad uses pictures he took from the unconscious Julie to blackmail her.
- Came Back Wrong: Bobby. Averted, however, in that it's not really Bobby at all, but a demon that Bobby's soul sent to punish his mother.
- Character Title
- Comic Book Time: The first film was made in 1975 and the second in 1996; the sequel's third story is seemingly a direct continuation of the original's third story with the police discovering the bodies of Amelia and her mother, probably only hours after their deaths, despite there being a good bit of technology in the sequel not existing in the original's time.
- Creepy Child: The demon disguised as Bobby.
- Creepy Doll/Perverse Puppet
- Cutlass Between the Teeth
- Defictionalization: The Zuni Fetish doll became very popular and several toy companies started manufacturing it.
- Demonic Possession
- Drive-In Theater: Featured in the "Julie" segment.
- Driven to Suicide: It's suggested that Bobby didn't drown by accident, but that he killed himself to escape his mother's abuse.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Between Millicent and Therese.
- Hollywood Voodoo: Millicent decides to get rid of of her sister via Voodoo.
- Hot for Teacher: Chad develops an unhealthy obsession with his teacher.
- Impending Doom POV
- Kill It with Fire: Amelie finally gets rid of the Zuni Fetish doll by locking it in an oven.
- Kill It with Water: Before that Amelie tries to unsuccessfully drown the doll.
- Knife Nut
- Manipulative Bastard
- My Beloved Smother: Amelie's mother.
- Name and Name
- No-Tell Motel: Chad drags the unconscious Julie into one.
- Numbered Sequels
- Out-Gambitted: Chad's fate. Julie reveals that she's been manipulating him from the beginning, playing along with his Blackmail scheme For the Evulz, then kills him and destroys his incriminating photos.
- Parental Incest: According to Millicent, Therese seduced their father when she was 16.
- Pilot Movie: The film was intended as the pilot for a new horror anthology tv-show, but it failed.
- Powerful Pick: Amelie uses one against the Zuni Fetish doll.
- Slasher Smile
- Slipping a Mickey: Chad drugs Julie during their date at the Drive-In Theater.
- Split Personality: Millicent and Therese
- To the Pain
- Twist Ending: Each segment ends with one.
- The Vamp: Therese.
- The X of Y