year: 1975
cast: Karen Black
creator: Richard Matheson
director: Dan Curtis
rating: ***1/2

Seeing Karen Black play four roles (or rather, three roles and four characters) in a TV-movie showcasing three Night Gallery style stories is a great thing. The first involves an uptight spectacle-wearing college teacher who's seduced by her handsome bad-intention-driven honor student. Without giving away the twist, it's a great episode because Karen's playing someone she's not, and you'll have to watch it a second time to truly get it. The next deals with two sisters: one a crotchety sourpuss, the other a sexy blond. The twist is way too obvious: they're the same person. Blame the writer for this, not Karen, for she plays both roles well. The third and best is what the movie's known for, dealing with Black's character who purchased a foot-high spear-donning Zuni Fetish Doll. If the waist-sash falls off the doll, it comes to life. Guess what falls off the doll? The little bugger chases Karen around the apartment sounding like the Tasmanian Devil on PCP; imagine Animal from the Muppets gone loco. It's beauty and the doll at this point, a battle that doesn't let-up. This is the most entertaining and scariest of the bunch - dealing with a thing you just can't kill that can get you from beneath: the fear of snakes or spiders on hyperdrive. But the first story's where Black's acting (as opposed to reacting) really shines, making it my personal favorite.

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