The creators of this long-awaited sequel certainly knew where their bread was buttered, as they chose to feature the ol’ Zuni fetish doll on the video artwork with no regard whatsoever to the human stars. As with the original Trilogy of Terror, the first two stories, fine as they are, are overshadowed by the third one, featuring the craziest black doll this side of Naomi Campbell.
“He Who Kills” picks up where “Amelia” left off: Amelia’s boyfriend arrives the morning after “the unpleasantness” to find Amelia and her mother dead. He calls the cops, who discover the Zuni fetish doll in the oven, charred to a crisp. They take it to a museum anthropologist who specializes in creepy-ass dolls, Dr. Simpson (Lysette Anthony, who stars in three roles, as Karen Black did in the original). She decides to spend the evening investigating the doll instead of going to a show with her boyfriend, thus disregarding conventional wisdom that once you go black, you don’t go back. Big mistake. The doc chips away the charred surface to reveal that the doll is well-preserved underneath (and apparently it must be a Chia Zuni, as its hair miraculously regenerates). He comes back to life and, much to the relief of the viewing public, is as insane as ever.
This reincarnation is perhaps even more campy than the original, as we’re treated to the doll running, jumping, climbing, stabbing, shooting, and a couple of times, seemingly flying as he lets loose shrieks that sonically fall somewhere between Gilbert Gottfried and a rabid crow. Directed by Dan Curtis, who helmed “Amelia”, this is an unoriginal, unapologetic rehash (including the exact same suitcase scene and the same ending), but it’s no less of a rehash than, say, Scream 2 or George Bush’s second term. Besides, it’s good to see that the little African fella hasn’t lost his lithe figure or his zest for life (that is, squeezing it out of you) over the past 20 years.