Die, Monster, Die! – USA, 1965

die_monster_die_poster_artwork by Reynold Brown

‘Can you face the ultimate in diabolism …..can you stand pure terror?’

Die, Monster, Die! is a 1965 science fiction horror film directed by Daniel Haller (the art director for Roger Corman’s Poe films) from a screenplay by Jerry Sohl, loosely adapted from H. P. Lovecraft‘s story The Colour Out of Space. Haller went on to direct another Lovecraft adaptation, The Dunwich Horror, in 1970.

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Main cast:

Boris Karloff, Nick Adams (Godzilla vs. Monster Zero), Freda Jackson, Suzan Farmer (Persecution; Rasputin: The Mad Monk), Terence De Marney and Patrick Magee (Dementia 13; AsylumThe Black Cat).

The film was shot in February/March 1965 at Shepperton Studios and on location in Shere village (also the location for The Earth Dies Screaming) and Oakley Court under the working title The House at the End of the World.

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In the USA, American International Pictures released the film  on a double-bill with Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires (1965). In the UK, the film was released as Monster of Terror on a double-bill with Corman’s 1963 film The Haunted Palace (also based on a Lovecraft story).

Plot:

An American college student (Nick Adams) pays a visit to the English estate of his fiancée’s family. During his journey, he finds an area of countryside burned out and an enormous crater, as well as townspeople reluctant to the point of hostility to either drive to his destination or even talk about the family that lives there.

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The source of all these problems is later revealed to be a radioactive meteorite kept hidden in the basement by his girlfriend’s father (Boris Karloff), who has been using the radiation to mutate plant and animal life, with horrific consequences. Worse yet, family members may have been affected, too…

Reviews:

“The plodding plot would be more painful if the flick were longer, but the intriguing meld of gothic horror and contemporary sci-fi is hard to pass up.” G. Noel Gross, DVD Talk

“Despite the old school Gothic setting (large castle, fog-shrouded forests and graveyards), this seems strangely modern at times in terms of character actions, pacing and sound design. Haller and his crew make it all quite atmospheric, there are some interesting aural and light effects used at the finale, nice use of matte paintings throughout, some mildly icky make-up fx (such as a face melting down) and an interesting metallic-looking meteor monster that shows up at the very end.” The Bloody Pit of Horror

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“Despite game performances from all involved, Die, Monster, Die! is ultimately undone by its generic and uninspired approach. The effects of the meteorite – kept squirreled away in the basement – are erratic and highly selective.” Aaron Christensen, HorrorHound magazine

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“Director Daniel Haller provides isolated moments of fear and mystery, but the majority of Jerry Sohl’s script is muddled.” John Stanley, Creature Features

“The film looks good … The pacing is torpid, made bareable only by four or five decent shock moments spaced throughout. The acting is uninspired and seems a decade out of date. Even Karloff adds nothing new…”David Elroy Goldweber, Claws and Saucers

“Adams is cocky, arrogant, and self-righteous. The guy just can’t act beyond that one persona. Other than him, this film is great. Karloff plays a great curmudgeon, and you really dislike him at first. Once things get a bit clearer though, you feel sympathy for him. Suzan Farmer is pretty good, as she plays an excellent damsel in distress.” Magazines and Monsters

“… stylish but slow-moving…” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction

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Cast:

Wikipedia | IMDb | Image credits: Wrong Side of the Art! | Psychotronic 16

 

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