Combustible Celluloid
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With: Willard Parker, Virginia Field, Dennis Price, Thorley Walters, Vanda Godsell, David Spenser, Anna Palk
Written by: Harry Spalding
Directed by: Terence Fisher
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 62
Date: 10/14/1964

The Earth Dies Screaming (1964)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Pain in the Ro-But

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The best of the Hammer Horror directors, Terence Fisher, directed this sci-fi quickie somewhere between Dracula and Frankenstein sequels. It's ridiculous in spots, but it's very earnest and has some striking visual ideas. The Earth Dies Screaming begins with humans simply collapsing, some while operating trains or planes, causing crashes. A few humans in the English countryside survive, including the cowboy-like American Jeff Nolan (Willard Parker), who takes charge of the gentler Brits. Quite a lot of the film plays like the as-yet-unmade Night of the Living Dead, as they take refuge in a hotel, argue, and try to figure out what's going on outside. Fisher eventually reveals a few slow-moving robot monsters (pronounced "ro-BUT" by our American friend) and white-eyed humans, and, in the last 10 minutes, the movie cooks up a plan to stop them all. It's shot in black-and-white by Arthur Lavis, and it looks good for what otherwise appears to be a disposable 62-minute "B" movie. Kino Lorber released it on Blu-ray in 2016; it comes with a commentary track by historian Richard Harland Smith and a selection of low-budget sci-fi trailers.

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