The Earth Dies Screaming – UK, 1964

The Earth Dies Screaming is a 1964 British science fiction feature film directed by Terence Fisher (The Devil Rides Out; Island of TerrorDracula; The Curse of Frankenstein et al) from a screenplay by Harry Spalding as Henry Cross (Chosen Survivors; Curse of the Fly; House of the Damned; et al). It was produced by Robert L. Lippert (Witchcraft; The Horror of It All) and Jack Parsons for Lippert Films. The movie stars Willard Parker, Virginia Field, and Dennis Price.

It was one of several 1960s British horror films to be scored by Elisabeth Lutyens.

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People all over Britain are collapsing mysteriously, apparently dead; trains career off their rails; cars crash into walls; people drop to the ground where they stand.

Later, a test pilot (Parker) seeks cover in a village pub, having survived the “attack”. Gradually six other survivors congregate in the pub, all puzzled by the deaths, and initially at a loss as to why they are the few still alive. It transpires that they were all cut off from outside air at the time of the deaths: The pilot was flying; a young couple were hiding in an air-raid shelter; another woman was sick in a hospital inside an oxygen tent. They conclude it must have been a gas attack from a foreign enemy.

However, when military help appears to arrive, it is soon clear that all is not as it seems. The spacesuit-clad visitors they assume have come to help them are in fact alien visitors, and the survivors must be quick to defeat them and save themselves…

Reviews:

” …Fisher is quite comfortable at the helm of this alien invasion picture. Even with a swift running time of 62-minutes, he’s able to explore characterizations and relationships, while utilizing the confined interiors and exteriors of the small English town to enhance the isolated, claustrophobic feel that permeates through the film.” DVD Drive-In

“Once The Earth Dies Screaming introduces dialogue, it loses traction as a nail-biter. However, Fisher knows what he’s doing here, working through exposition and character introduction to get right back into the fight. Nobody’s watching to hear backstories, they want robot and zombie action, and Fisher is more than happy to indulge.” Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com

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The first 5-6 minutes of the film contain zero dialogue. It’s just this one survivor wandering around this small British town confused by what has happened. Given the film’s total runtime is just a mere 62 minutes this is quite bold. The first 10% of the movie has no talking and provides a bleak emptiness for what the world has become.” Chris Coffel, Bloody Disgusting

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“A bunch of people sit around in a pub talking about the end of the world, whilst outside, the rest of the Earth’s population appear to have dropped down dead. And talk they do… on and on and on… If you don’t think this sounds much like a horror film, you’re absolutely right. In fact, The Earth Dies Screaming has very few plus points, apart from its rather terrific (and misleading) title.” British Horror Films

earth dies screaming

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” …the low budget and fast shooting schedule defeats the usually excellent Fisher although the atmosphere of menace in the village under siege is well created and maintained.” Alan Frank, The Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Handbook, Batsford, 1982

Main cast:

  • Willard Parker … Jeff Nolan
  • Virginia Field … Peggy Hatton
  • Dennis Price … Quinn Taggart
  • Thorley Walters … Edgar Otis
  • Vanda Godsell … Violet Courtland
  • David Spenser … Mel Brenard
  • Anna Palk … Lorna Brenard

Filming locations:

The village of Shere, Surrey, England (also the location for the Bridget Jones films)

Release:

On October 4, 2016, the film was released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber with the following bonus features:

  • Audio Commentary by Film Historian Richard Harland Smith
  • Animated Photo Montage
  • Trailers

Trivia:

The British pop/reggae band UB40 named a song The Earth Dies Screaming which became a 1980 single release.

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Categories: 1960s, alien, Blu-ray, British, rural horror, zombie

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