Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

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Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

Post  BoG on Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:57 pm


What's Happening: Strange force at ancient manor house turns inhabitants into monsters
Famous For: Boris Karloff performance; based on H.P. Lovecraft story
Student filmmakers could benefit from watching Die, Monster, Die! because both the virtues and the faults are very obvious. The film could serve as a lesson in what to do, or not to do, in a horror picture. First, the virtues. It has a strong, if misleading, title. It's a very good looking film. The Georgian manor house, the surrounding moors, and the antique interiors all have an understated grace, something mysterious and appealing at once. The dusky colors and glowing fogs help foster a continuing mood of dread and waste. The psychedelic title sequence initiates the mood from the start. Director Haller helped Roger Corman design his Poe/ Price films; the resemblance in the house interiors is quite apparent here. The opening 10 minutes, after the train arrives at Arkham Station, are an effective (if familiar) grabber: the stranger's requests for help are met by laugher or scorn from the inhospitable townsfolk. Later in the film, the glowing green space-stones resemble kryptonite.
Now, the faults. The pacing is torpid, made bearable 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 The acting is uninspired and seems a decade out of date.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 to his reclusive, secretive, wheelchair-bound patriarch-villain. Nick Adams is miscast; his Brooklyn accent might work fine in a World War II film, but not in a British horror setting. His stalwart, squinty-eyed American hero quickly grows annoying; it got to the point where I wanted him to get attacked. Yet even good actors would have little to work with. John Stanley notes correctly that the script is "muddled." We learn nothing of the characters. Screenwriter Jerry Sohl attempts the standard pattern of revealing information to us little by little, but the process is belabored and incomplete. There are perhaps two or three good lines in the whole 79 minutes. The closing lines are especially banal.

Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 20518-20519). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.
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