Seizure (1974) poster

Seizure (1974)


aka Queen of Evil

USA. 1974.


Director – Oliver Stone, Screenplay – Oliver Stone & Edward Mann, Producers – Garrard L. Glenn & Jeffrey D. Kapelman, Photography – Roger Racine, Music – Lee Gagnon, Special Effects/Makeup – Tom Brumberger, Art Direction – Najwa Stone, Edmund’s Sketches – Edward Mann. Production Company – Intercontinental Leisure Industries/Queen of Evil Ltd Partnership.


Jonathan Frid (Edmund Blackstone), Martine Beswick (The Queen of Evil), Christina Pickles (Nicole Blackstone), Roger De Koven (Serge), Mary Woronov (Mikki Hughes), Herve Villechaize (The Spider), Henry Baker (The Jackal), Joe Sirola (Charlie Hughes), Anne Meacham (Eunice), Troy Donahue (Mark), Timothy Ousey (Jason Blackstone), Richard Cox (Gerald)


Writer Edmund Blackstone invites a group of friends to his house for the weekend. There a cruel bearded dwarf, a tall Black man and an incarnation of the goddess Kali – all characters out of Blackstone’s imagination – appear and start to slaughter the guests.

Seizure, believe it or not, was the first film of Oliver Stone – well before Stone became one of the top drawer Hollywood directors with powerful, politically hard-hitting films like Platoon (1986), Born of the Fourth of July (1989) JFK (1991) and Nixon (1995). Not that one could particularly tell that Oliver Stone had a future on the basis of Seizure.

What exactly Stone was trying to make a film about is anybody’s guess. Seizure gives the impression, not unlike the scenario fictionalised in the film Loaded (1994), of a group of actors gathering at a big old house for a weekend, under the influence of some substances, having made up whatever came into their heads and filming whatever occurred. Possibly Oliver Stone was trying to make a film about the way people confront their deaths – each killing is interspersed with long, confused sequences where people philosophise about meeting their deaths.

The film ends on the deathdream twist familiar from the classic Ambrose Bierce short story An Incident at Owl Creek Bridge (1891) – see the film version An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1962) – and a host of others since, most notedly The Sixth Sense (1999).

Writer Jonathan Frid is picked up by the nightmare figure of The Jackal (Henry Baker) in Seizure (1974)
Writer Jonathan Frid is picked up by the nightmare figure of The Jackal (Henry Baker)

The most interesting thing about Seizure is the cast Oliver Stone has assembled – including dark, mysterious Hammer beauty Martine Beswick; cult queen Mary Woronov; Jonathan Frid, vampire Barnabas Collins from tv’s Dark Shadows (1966-71); and Herve Villechaize, later to become Ricard Montalban’s sidekick on Fantasy Island (1977-84), as the evilly ambiguous dwarf.

Oliver Stone has made a number of other ventures into genre material. He subsequently made another horror film with The Hand (1981), which featured Michael Caine being stalked by his severed hand, and Natural Born Killers (1994) about a couple on a mass murder spree. Stone also co-wrote the screenplay for Conan the Barbarian (1982) before becoming a top-list director. Following his success, Stone has acted as producer on a number of other directors’ work including:– Kathryn Bigelow’s psycho-thriller Blue Steel (1990), the superb Cyberpunk tv mini-series Wild Palms (1993) and Freeway (1996), Matthew Bright’s deconstructed version of Little Red Riding Hood.

Trailer here

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