In 1975, Dan Curtis directed Trilogy of Terror, a made-for-television anthology horror film for ABC. It’s known for plenty of things. Each terror tale prominently featured actress Karen Black. The film also flipped the script a bit on date rape (subverting the Cosby technique, so to speak). However, let’s face it: Most of us tend to remember the film’s other mascot (besides Black), known as the Zuni fetish doll. While not the first creepy doll to grace people’s screens, Zuni is definitely one of the finest, most memorable and unrelenting. Frankly, his aim seems to involve little other than murdering Black’s character, who foolishly brought him into her home.

Oddly enough, I almost feel guilty about Zuni being my personal favorite aspect of the film. The other two stories definitely have more — you know — story going on. Still, the more childish viewer will likely embrace Zuni as the highest point of Trilogy of Terror. The straightforward danger he represents is omnipresent once he’s unleashed. In fact, it’s the sort of weird thing one could easily have irrational nightmares (or even conscious phobias about). Ever have an insect relentlessly hound you, instilling near panic in your brain whether it can sting you or not? It’s a little like that, only this is some dumb little creature in a movie. From what I understand, the Zuni fetish doll also appears in the sequel, which is simply called Trilogy of Terror II.

How Does “Zuni” Fare Against Other Demented Dolls?

As stated, there are many great dolls out there. Talky Tina from The Twilight Zone kicks considerable ass. Of course, you also have Chucky from the Child’s Play franchise (perhaps the most popular killer doll). You have the crazy puppets from Puppet Master, who themselves have fought The Demonic Toys. This list could go on. Honestly, Zuni — the Zunester, if you will — could probably do pretty well in a fight with those freaks. His frenetic energy and can-do attitude sort of speak for themselves. While not exactly 100% powerful, he proves formidable to average prey. If you could encounter Zuni in real life, there’s a decent chance your goose would get cooked!

If there were a true battle royale between Zuni and a bunch of other dolls, he’d be a serious contender for the final round, even if not the victor (that might be Talky Tina, who was curiously indestructible). In any case, it would be great to see him, Chucky, Annabelle, etc. face off in a no-holds-barred death match. I’d maybe give Zuni an advantage, like a little car he can ride in called “The Zune Buggy,” or something stupid like that. Of course, the porn industry would have to make their own parody version of this killer doll free-for-all, as they tend to do with damn near every other idea. After all, Zuni is already called a “fetish doll,” so the branding tie-in’s already right there. The possibilities are endless with these franchises!

What are your thoughts on Trilogy of Terror and the Zuni fetish doll? Let us know in the comments!

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Wade Wanio is an author.

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