Man 1: "Well, suddenly, we've got a problem on our hands, and it's a dilly: the prankster."
Man 2: "Oh, no, not another one."
Man 1: "The fifth character to pull this sort of stunt in the last 60 days alone."
Man 2: "Used to be the joker who turned in the phony fire alarms. The new gimmick's telling airlines there's a bomb aboard."
Hes referring to a letter the airline offices have just received an extortion letter demanding $500,000 or theyll blow up Flight 74. On the Chicago-to-New-York flight, theyve planted a "time bomb" made with RDX explosive that "look(s) like cookie dough."
Hearing the reports, family man Jim (James Mason) freaks out, because he was tricked into making it by his old Army buddy, Paul (Rod Steiger), whos the terrorist who wrote the letter, demanding the cash, and now kidnapping Jims wife, Joan (Inger Stevens), and child to force him to help. Well, Jack Klugman puts some heat on the family, too: "Ever seen one of these before? It's call a shiv. Sharp." (Among Pauls gang: an unrecognizable Angie Dickinson, because shes a brunette.)
Jim and the Mrs. are both separated from the kid and made to participate actively in each step of Pauls intricate plot. Joans babysat a good portion of the time by a henchman hopped up on bennies and getting quite handsy and horny. As they carry out Pauls bidding, we hear their thoughts as narration, thereby passing the anxiety of the ticking seconds directly to the viewer.
With the premise of Suddenly, the stakes of Fail-Safe, the familiar danger of The Desperate Hours and the threat of rape of Cape Fear hanging over each frame, Cry Terror! resides in damned good company of black-and-white suspensers. As with the jump-the-gate beginning, it also doesnt let up at the end; theres no comforting epilogue, just a final act of tragedy and a title card. Annnnd breathe. Rod Lott