This made-for-TV horror anthology dates back to 1975, and has pretty well remained under the radar the whole time, save for the potentially familiar African doll, who has since become the star and poster boy for this particular movie. It has a cult following, but I know that I hadn't really paid it any attention in the past, and it was something I could tap into easily, especially with my love of anthology films.
This anthology film is based on a batch of short stories by Richard Matheson. For those of you unfamiliar, Matheson is responsible for many books turned into movies, such as 'I Am Legend', 'The Shrinking Man', 'Stir of Echoes' and 'What Dreams May Come' just to name a few. The list is actually pretty long. This film's focuses are on 'The Likeness of Julie', here adapted to 'Julie, 'Needle in the Heart', here adapted to 'Millicent and Therese', and 'Prey', here adapted to 'Amelia'.
'Julie' introduces us to a college student Chad (Robert Burton) who one day gets a glimpse of his teacher Ms. Julie Eldridge (Karen Black) and develops a swift, lustful crush on her. At one point he asks her to a movie, which she reluctantly accepts. Without going into dark detail, we soon learn just how despicable a guy Chad is. However, unbeknownst to Chad, his teacher isn't quite what she seems, and soon it becomes a great revenge thriller story fo this particular day and age. It's perhaps the story here that has actually aged the best for what it is.
'Millicent and Therese' (both of whom are also played by Karen Black) was easily the weakest of the batch, profiling two sisters. Millicent is repressed, shy, and considers herself the "good sister" between them. Therese, however, is largely considered evil by Millicent, and is the party-going bad girl between the two. Millicent has plans to kill Therese and rid the world of her evil ways, but then it all comes down to a twist that you can probably predict reading this right now.
'Amelia' (Also Karen Black) is by far the most popular of the bunch, and is the only of the three to actually be adapted by Matheson, himself. Amelia purchases a wooden "fetish" doll (seen above). According to a scroll that comes with it, the doll is otherwise known as "He Who Kills", and sports a gold chain around its neck, which, if removed, unleashes the evil spirit within the doll. So the chain falls off, and it's basically this little thing chasing her around the house the whole time. It sounds pretty typical, but there's a cool twist ending to it that I didn't quite see coming.
So with the first and third being liked pretty well by yours truly, but the second one being pretty bad and predictable, the film in its entirety comes out to be pretty average. It's a neat, fun little time if you're looking for some time to kill. But being that it was made for TV, there's not many extremities to this. That doll is about as violent and creepy as it gets, and is probably the best short of the film. But I do still think that first one deserves a do-over for newcomers.