Thursday, 1 November 2007
Die, Monster, Die! (1965)
There have been few totally successful movie adaptations of the works of H. P. Lovecraft. Die, Monster, Die!, directed by Roger Corman protégé Daniel Haller in 1965, is certainly a brave attempt. It makes no attempt to be a faithful adaptation of Lovecraft’s The Colour Out of Space, but it does achieve a reasonably Lovecraftian feel (as does Haller’s later, and very underrated, The Dunwich Horror). Haller lays the gothic atmosphere on with a trowel, but it looks great. There’s no point in underdoing a gothic atmosphere! The social effects are cheap but surprisingly effective. An elderly and ailing Boris Karloff turns in a wonderful performance as Nahum Witley, whose family have long dabbled in forbidden things. Karloff plays the entire movie in a wheelchair, but still dominates proceedings and is as charismatic as ever. The rest of the cast manage adequate performances. Haller’s direction and pacing really can’t be faulted, and at just under 80 minutes it’s a taut and rather gripping chiller with some moments of real weirdness. Special mention must also be made of Terence de Marney, whose brief appearances as the family retainer Merwyn are delightfully creepy. Die, Monster, Die! should please most fans of gothic horror, and I think Lovecraftian enthusiasts will find it reasonably satisfying. A classic piece of 60s horror, and highly recommended.