Hero and the Terror

Hero and the Terror is a 1988 action film starring martial arts star Chuck Norris, directed by William Tannen. Produced by Menahem Golan, written by Michael Blodgett, and was distributed by Cannon Films. The film stars Norris as Danny O'Brien as a cop trying to stop a serial killer, Simon Moon known as "The Terror". [1]

Hero and the Terror
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWilliam Tannen
Produced byMenahem Golan
Yoram Globus
Lance Hool
Written byMichael Blodgett
Music byDavid Michael Frank
CinematographyEric Van Haren Noman
Edited byChristian Wagner
Distributed byCannon Films
Release date
  • August 26, 1988 (1988-08-26)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$5,301,200 (USA)

It is based on Michael Blodgett's 1982 novel of the same name.


Danny O'Brien (Chuck Norris) is a cop who likes to work alone and never waits for his back up. In Los Angeles, O'Brien is trying to apprehend the notorious Simon Moon (Jack O'Halloran), also known as The Terror. Simon has been killing women by snapping their necks and taking them to his lair in an abandoned amusement park. O'Brien is attacked by Simon who almost kills him in the struggle. When the killer flees the scene and climbs up a ladder he slips and falls, knocking himself unconscious. When the backup arrives they think O'Brien caught The Terror and the people of L.A. call him "Hero". Simon is then arrested and taken to jail.

When Dr. Highwater (Billy Drago) goes to visit Simon he escapes by cutting through the bars of his cell. He then steals a laundry van by push starting it but loses control and falls straight down into a cliff face. When the media hears about this they pronounce Simon dead and the people of L.A. are relieved.

Three years later the murders start back up again and O'Brien thinks it's The Terror. He eventually finds his lair in a movie theater and heads in to confront Simon himself. He encounters an enclosed room not on the map and heads in. In there he finds the bodies of The Terror's victims and starts searching around for him. Simon jumps out and attacks him and Danny tries to fight him off. O'Brien eventually kills The Terror and the film ends, as he marries his girlfriend who gave birth to their daughter.



Hero and the Terror was Chuck Norris's first major attempt at diversifying from his traditional martial arts roles.[2][3]

"The success of the film is contingent on how reviewers, the media and the audience take to it. That determines everything in this business," Norris said. "I like the character of Danny O'Brien and I like the relationships I had in the film, especially with Kay (played by Brynn Thayer). I liked seeing not just the man in the arena or the fighting machine you see in many of my films, but to see the man outside the arena -- the guy who also has relationships."[4]

"I don't want people to think I'm just going to kick butt. There's a lot more here," siad Norris. "What makes this a different film is the vulnerability of the character I play. There are moments of humor, romance and compassion, and there are moments of terror, anguish and anxiety." A scene was filmed as a joke where Norris hyperventilates in the hospital and faints seeing a baby being born. The director, William Tannen, convinced Norris to test the film with the segment intact. "We did leave it in. And you know, women absolutely love that scene," he said.[5]

"O'Brien is a guy who must face his fear, even though he feels secure in his abilities as a police officer," Norris said. "He doesn't even wait for his backup unit and goes after the killer alone. Chuck Norris fans will see the intense, focused sort of man, sure; also, I hope they will identify with the other side of his character, the multiple side...I trained really hard for this film. Jack and I did all our own fighting, and he's really strong. I threw everything short of the kitchen sink at him and every type of kick imaginable. People will believe that O'Brien really is facing a demon."[4]


The movie had a mostly negative reception. It currently has a 0% rating on movie rating website Rotten Tomatoes. Despite the poor reception, Chuck Norris' acting was praised and it has a cult following. Most fans call it one of his better movies.[6][7][8]

Box office

Hero and the Terror grossed $1.84 million nationwide its first weekend at the box office, finishing in a disappointing 12th place.[9] It made $6 million over all.[10]


The film premiered on August 26, 1988 in the United States.[11] It was released on Blu-ray for the first time in June 2015, by Kino Lorber.[12]

See also


  1. "A New Kick For Norris Macho Martial Arts Man Chuck Norris Welcomes The Chance To Soften His Public Image In His Latest Movie". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  2. "Chuck Norris Fights to Be a Better Actor in 'Hero and the Terror' Role". The Los Angeles Times. 1988-09-02. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  3. Sheridan, Chris (1988-08-25). "TOUGH AND TENDER CHUCK NORRIS DEVELOPS A MILD SIDE ON FILM". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
  5. Chuck Norris // He wants emotion to add punch to his characters: [CITY Edition] Lipper, Hal. St. Petersburg Times; St. Petersburg, Fla. [St. Petersburg, Fla]26 Aug 1988: 7.
  6. Thomas, Kevin (August 26, 1988). "'Hero' Does Battle With a Terror of Script". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  7. "Hero and the Terror". Washington Post. 1988-08-27. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  8. "Hero and the Terror". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  9. "Chucking His Iron-Man Image Boundaries of Hero Role Can't Contain Norris in `Terror". The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. 1988-09-02. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
  10. Lynch Party Los Angeles Times 15 Apr 1990: N27.
  11. "Chuck Norris' Hero and the Terror". Roger Ebert. 1988-09-02. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
  12. "Chuck Norris' Hero and the Terror and the Blu-ray". The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. 1988-09-02. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
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