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Die, Monster, Die! (1965) - Movie Review

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Die Monster Die

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2 stars

The creative stories of H.P. Lovecraft make for some relatively spotty film adaptations.  Only one – The Re-Animator –makes for recommended viewing.  The rest have moments of tasty goodness but – if I don’t know your tastes – I would hesitate to recommend them.  While it borrows heavily in look and pacing from Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe flicks, Die Monster Die! is not Poe.  This spooky narrative is based off a Lovecraft short story entitled “The Colour of Space” about a stranger’s visit to The Witley House.

Directed by Daniel Haller, Die Monster Die! (besides having a kick ass title) offers the audience minimal thrills as it just sort of lies there and, while lavishly produced,  doesn’t offer much for the viewer besides Karloff hamming it up a bit in the role that usually goes to Vincent Price.  Nick Adams plays an American scientist named Stephen Reinhart who arrives in a strange and distrusting town.  He’s here to meet his fiancée Susan Witley (Suzan Farmer) and gain her father’s approval for their marriage.

He is refused by her overbearing father (Karloff) and discovers there is a madness trapped in the house.  If it sounds a bit like The Fall of The House of Usher then you know your stuff.  Poe is all over the place in Jerry Sohl’s script.  We shouldn’t be surprised, though.  Produced by American International Pictures, it is obvious the intent of the picture.  Make more money off of a familiar tone.

Call it Space Age superstitions because that’s exactly Die Monster Die!’s demented territory.  The madness has a cause and its relationship to a meteorite is startling and almost from out of nowhere.  There is more to Nahum Witley (Karloff) and his unsettling experiments.  Yes, they follow the Cliff’s Notes version of Lovecraft’s tale but syphon it through a whole hell of a lot of Poe.

Now, if you are expecting a haunted house tale then you are in luck.  Unfortunately, right when it dips into Lovecraft’s weirdness the filmmakers pull back into the mundane.  And it is this yanking that plagues the picture and keeps it from coming into its own.  It’s as if the filmmakers want to deny or disguise the film’s origins.  Lovecraft was a lot of things but derivative he was not.

The acting is actually quite strong throughout.  Adams plays a strong straight man even if he is a bit stiff.  Karloff, as always, is very reliable as the misguided scientist at war with himself and his creations.  The creature designs are quite strong and certainly add to the slow-moving crawl of the picture.

As cool as its title suggests it is, Die Monster Die! is strictly for the Corman faithful.

Die Monster DieMPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime:
80 mins
Director
: Daniel Haller
Writer
: Jerry Sohl
Cast:
Boris Karloff, Nick Adams, Freda Jackson
Genre
: Horror| Classic
Tagline:
No one can stop this killing machine....It's Already Dead!!!
Memorable Movie Quote: "I've seen a glow like that once before - in a radiation lab."
Distributor:
American International Pictures (AIP)
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 27, 1965
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 21, 2014

Synopsis: A young man visits his fiancé's estate to discover that her wheelchair-bound scientist father has discovered a meteorite that emits mutating radiation rays that have turned the plants in his greenhouse to giants. When his own wife falls victim to this mysterious power, the old man takes it upon himself to destroy the glowing object with disastrous results.

Die Monster Die

Component Grades
Movie
 
Blu-ray Disc
4 stars
 
5 Stars
     
Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 21, 2014
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

Shout! Factory starts 2014 with a bang, presenting the movie on Blu-ray from a gorgeous HD master in 1080p and preserving the original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio. Colors are now robust and detail is remarkably sharp, and the fleshtones that appeared white-washed in the old DVD transfer now look spot-on. Aside from a few minor blemishes in the original elements, the image is very clean and free of excessive grain; an extremely smooth and attractive transfer which is sure to please even the pickiest of classic monster movie fans. The mono DTS-HD Master audio fares very well here, with no noticeable hiss or distortion.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

You get a trailer.  Big Whoop.  Shout! Factory dropped the ball on this one.

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