Don't worry, we will never spoil anything pre-jump, though obviously everything after the break is operating under the assumption you've seen the film to the right, so be warned. And a big tip of our hat to Arbogast on Film for inspiring us with his post The One You Might Have Saved.
Click through to see who I would have saved from Amelia, the third segment of the horror anthology classic, Trilogy of Terror (1986).
Fate: Possessed By Zuni Fetish Doll
Verdict: I Would Have Killer Her. Quickly
Reason: A lot of people know Trilogy of Terror as "the one with the Zuni fetish doll." But to me, the film has always been "the one where that woman consistently makes the worst possible decisions."
Look, I know that horror protagonists who make bad decisions are so common as to be cliché. But the sheer volume of flat-out horrible decisions Amelia makes in the course of 24 minutes is beyond absurd. Let's take a look, shall we? For your convenience, I've noted the time-stamp of each bad decision.
As a preface to this chronology of stupidity, I'll note that everything up to the point where Amelia sees the Zuni fetish doll for the first time (around the 14-minute mark) perhaps can be dismissed as being not that bad. But - especially in light of how dumb the Amelia character turns out to be during the last 10 minutes of the film - I think listing her pre-fetish actions places her her post-fetish actions in the proper context.
Chronology of Stupidity
2:50 - Waits until the last minute to cancel plans with her mother later that night so that she can spend the evening with her boyfriend on his birthday. Nothing inherently wrong with this decision, but her choosing to wait so late in the day before calling her mother is both inconsiderate and indicative of Amelia's utter inability to make rational decisions.
4:02 - Tells her mother she's not yelling, despite the fact that she clearly is.
6:18 - Tries to stave off a headache by saying "I will not get a headache."
6:49 - Slams the Zuni fetish on the living-room table, causing its protective gold chain to fall off. Doesn't hear the loud noise the chain makes when it hits the table, despite being just a few steps away.
8:27 - Changes her mind and cancels her plans with her boyfriend. Asks "Can't we celebrate your birthday tomorrow?" Amelia apparently doesn't fully grasp how birthdays work.
10:20 - Sees the fetish isn't on the table where she left it, says "What'd you do, fall off the table?," then looks for it on the table. Proceeds to look for it under and around the table as if the fetish was a turtle that had wandered off. Does not seem surprised by the fact that an inanimate object has apparently moved of its own volition.
11:15 - Hears footsteps on the other side of the living room, says "Is that you little man?," then laughs and keeps looking.
11:42 - Hears a metallic noise from the other side of the apartment and casually asks "What's going on?" Doesn't sound surprised that there are strange noises in her empty apartment.
12:12 - Goes to the kitchen and notices that the knife she was using to make dinner is missing. Looks puzzled and stays in the apartment.
12:39 - Sees a shadowy figure run across her living room. Goes to investigate. Says "You're getting spooky on me, Amelia."
14:08 - Sees the fetish doll for the first time. Freaks out.
OK. So at this point Amelia knows the fetish doll is alive and possessed by a Zuni warrior spirit. She also knows that the fetish is armed, because the first thing it does is stab her in the foot. It is at this point in Amelia that Amelia's decision-making skills devolve from "not great" to "stupefyingly bad."
14:45 - Runs from the middle of her living room to the far left, then back to the far right. Does not go for the front door, despite running past it twice. Shuts herself into the bedroom.
14:50 - Calls the Operator (not 911) and says - I kid you not - "Operator, get the police. [pause] I don't know where I'm located, just get the police!" Amelia doesn't know her own address, ladies and gentlemen. And lest you think that she just moved in, keep in mind that she told her mother (a) that she had met her boyfriend after she rented the apartment, and (b) that they had been dating for "about a month." That's right. Despite living in that apartment for at least a month, Amelia has no idea where she is. But wait... it gets worse!
15:00 - Gives up on the police when she sees her bedroom door open. She apparently forgot to lock it. Screams and then waits on her bed for the fetish to come all the way in.
15:50 - Runs from her bedroom and - still avoiding the front door - shuts herself in the bathroom.
16:13 - Rather than barricade the bathroom door, washes her hands in the bathtub and says "This can't be happening." Sorry Amelia, it is.
16:40 - Sees the fetish is trying to pick the bathroom-door lock. Does nothing.
16:58 - Traps the fetish in a towel, tries to drown it for roughly three seconds, lets go for no reason and runs a short distance down the hallway, then waits until the fetish frees itself and comes after her. Amelia will repeat this process of briefly gaining the upper hand and then abruptly changing her course of action several times over the next few minutes.
17:48 - After getting trapped in a closet, tricks the fetish into running into a suitcase. Good job, Amelia!
17:53 - Nevermind. Amelia puts the suitcase down in the middle of the living room, then runs to the kitchen to look for what we soon find out is an icepick.
18:03 - Why an icepick, you may ask? We find out when Amelia finally goes to the front door of her apartment. You know, the one that she's been repeatedly running past? Once at the door, Amelia - and I wouldn't have believed this if I hadn't seen it - USES THE PICK TO TRY TO BREAK THE PADLOCK ON THE INSIDE OF HER OWN APARTMENT DOOR. Does not succeed.
Let that sink in for a second. Amelia has somehow managed to lock herself inside of her own apartment. And this sorry state of affairs isn't something she discovered as she was running from the fetish. She was already fully aware of it, as shown by the fact that she went for the ice pick before going to the front door for the first time. No wonder she canceled both sets of plans. She was too embarrassed to tell her mother or her boyfriend what she'd done. Stunning.
18:25 - Sees the fetish trying to cut its way out of the suitcase, gives up on leaving her apartment, and goes to investigate. Tries to catch the blade WITH HER BARE FINGERS. Gets cut. Repeatedly. Keeps trying. This is beyond stupid.
18:49 - Finally decides to throw the suitcase out the window before the fetish gets free. Can't figure out how to open her own windows. Sigh.
19:30 - Goes back to the suitcase, where the fetish is still trying to cut its way out. After stabbing the Zuni into submission with her icepick, Amelia decides to unlock the suitcase and open it up. Zuni leaps out and latches onto her arm.
20:12 - Manages to (a) get into the kitchen, and (b) disarm the fetish. Then, even though she is inside the kitchen and the fetish is outside sans-knife, she almost immediately releases her grip on the kitchen door. The fetish runs inside and reclaims its knife.
If Amelia was a cat and stupidity was lives, Amelia would be all tapped out at this point. With the fetish chowing down on her neck, she really should have died in this scene. She's clearly been bested by an intellectual superior.
Instead, Amelia has one last burst of not-stupidity in her and traps the fetish in her open. She turns it on and the little bugger catches on fire. It screams for a bit, then stops. Good for you, Amelia.
Unfortunately, having learned nothing from the suitcase-opening incident that happened less than 4 minutes ago, Amelia opens the oven to take a look (instead of - you know - just peeking through the glass on the front of the oven door), and... you guessed it...
Mercifully, Amelia's reign of terrible decisions ends here, as we realize that the Zuni warrior's spirit will be making decisions for Amelia from now on.
In fact, as one of his first acts, the Zuni warrior figures out how to open Amelia's front door. That alone is enough to make me think that Amelia is better off being possessed. At least now she can go outside.
I obviously don't think much of Amelia as a protagonist (or, for that matter, as viable member of the human race). My version of Amelia would open with her tripping over her own feet while carrying the Zuni doll. The gold chain would fall off as Amelia and the fetish hit the ground. Before Amelia could stand up, the freshly revived Zuni would pluck out her eyeballs with its spear, take a huge bite out of her neck, and then - as she slowly bled out on the floor - the fetish would leave the apartment in search of prey that actually presented a challenge.