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Die, Monster, Die!

USA/UK 1965
produced by
Pat Green, Samuel Z. Arkoff (executive), James H. Nicholson (executive) for AIP/Alta Vista
directed by Daniel Haller
starring Boris Karloff, Nick Adams, Suzan Farmer, Freda Jackson, Terence de Marney, Patrick Magee, Paul Farrell, Leslie Dwyer, Sydney Bromley
screenplay by Jerry Sohl, based on The Colour out of Space by H.P. Lovecraft

AIP's Lovecraft-adaptations

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When American Steve Reinhart (Nick Adams) arrives at the Witley's mansion somewhere in rural England, he is given a rather cold reception by Nahum Witley (Boris Karloff), the family's patriarch, who doesn't like visitors in general, but is welcomed with open arms by Susan (Suzan Farmer), his girlfirend from their days at the university, who even introduces Steve to her mother Letitia (Freda Jackson). Letitia however appears to be bedridden, terminally ill & furthermore horribly disfigured, & she pleads Steve to take her daughter away with him ... a plea that is declined by both Nahum & Susan herself, who refuses to leave her mother behind with her overpowering father.

Soon though Steve has to find out not everything is alright in the mansion, actually something mysterious, sinister is definitely going on, as weird noises are heard during dinner but Nahum is pretending not to notice them, Nahum is pretty secretive about several rooms of the mansion - & then the butler Mervyn (Terence de Marney) dies at the dinner table. But what arouses Steve's suspicions even more is that Nahum refuses to call a doctor (or in fact any kind of authority) to Mervyn's corpse, instead buries him in the garden himself - despite his age & the fact that he has only limited mobility with his wheelchair. And then there's some glowing light coming out of the greenhouse ...

The next day, on his way to visit the local doctor (Patrick Magee), Steve is attacked by a horribla disfigured woman, & from the doctor himself he only learns facts that seem to confirm his worst suspicions ... that there's something otherworldly going on within Witley mansion's confines ...

That night Steve & Susan set out to investigate the secret of the greenhouse, & find it full of supersized plants & horribly mutated beasts. They find out that these mutations & the super-growth are caused by some kind of stone, & figure the main fraction of this stone must still be in the mansion's cellar (don'T ask why, at this point the movie has lost me), but while they still try to plan their next steps, Susan is attacked by the plants - he-man Steve saves her however.

Far from being intimidated from these attacking plants, Steve & Susan return to the mansion, & Steve goes looking for the stone (that turns out to be a meteorite) while Susan does the womanly thing & goes packing.

When Steve wants to destroy the meteorite though he is stopped by Nahum, who still believes that all mankind will some day benefit from the meteorite's powers, it is only when Letuitia, herself under the spell of the stone, attacks Nahum, Steve & Susan, that Nahum sees reason & agrees to destroy the meteorite himself. However when doing so, he is attacked by Helga, the first person affected by the meteorite, & now its sole defendeer, as it seems, & pushed into the stone ... at which point he becomes a metallic meteor-man & goes after Steve & Susan, however a push down some balcony makes him go up in flames ... & the mansion with him.

 

After Roger Corman had made the last 2 pictures of AIP's Poe-cycle (The Masque of the Red Death, The Tomb of Ligeia) in England, his art-director Daniel Haller stayed behind to direct Die, Monster, Die !, based on a story by H.P.Lovecraft, a film that resembles in mood & looks very much these Poe-adaptations, however it cannot compete with them on a quality level.

On the surface, this movie is stylishly & atmospherically directed, however this cannot disguise the silly story (a silly story in itself not necessarily a bad thing) & dull storytelling. What's more, while the always dependable Boris Karloff turns in another fine performance, Nick Adams & Suzan Farmer make an unimpressive leading couple, not at all helped by the terrible characterizations written for them: Actually their characters fall into gender-specific clichés lonly rarely found this side of the 50's - Nick Adams is the he-man who keeps a cool head in every situation & orders Suzan Farmer around with phrases like "You stay behind  !", "Go to your room !" or "Pack your things, we are leaving", while Suzan Farmer has nothing better to do than staying behind, packing her things, telling Nick Adams to "Be careful !", & reacting to almost everything with "Oh that's terrible !". That their characters seem pretty much unfazed by whatever happens to them (e.g. in one scene Suzan Farmer is attacked by supersized plants, pretty much enough to drive a normal human being over the brink, in the next scene she very calmly packs her belongings) doesn't help one bit either.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD