Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING (1964). Director: Terence Fisher.

In a small village in England, people suddenly drop dead in the middle of everyday tasks, or even when driving cars or railroad trains. Jeff Nolan (Willard Parker), an American pilot who was in the air when the disaster occurred, meets up with a group of people who were similarly spared and they gather inside the village inn. Then slow-moving robots with a death touch appear from out of nowhere, and the people they kill reanimate as pop-eyed living corpses.There's enough material here for an interesting horror/sci fi flick, but Terence Fisher, director of such fine movies as The Gorgon, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, and Horror of Dracula, must have tossed this stinker off in a couple of days without insisting on rewrites. You never quite get a sense from the script or the actors that this might well be the end of the world, there's hardly any atmosphere, and some of the proceedings are quite illogical. Willard Parker was in What a Woman! with Rosalind Russell. Virginia Field, who plays Peggy, was married to Parker at the time and gave vivid performances in such films as Dial 1119 and on such shows as Perry Mason. The Earth Dies Screaming is professional enough, but it's just blah, devoid of inspiration or commitment from anyone, although some of the actors do what they can with inferior material.

Verdict: Like one of the more forgettable episodes of the sixties TV show The Outer Limits. *1/2.

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