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Category Archives: Movie Reviews 1964

Earth Dies Screaming 01

From the DVD case: The world has just been decimated by an unstoppable, merciless army of killer robots, and millions of innocent souls have been wiped out! Only a handful of survivors have managed to escape the deadly alien apocalypse, and they must endure a non-stop struggle to save themselves from destruction, and somehow find a way to defeat the marauding death machines before the entire human race becomes extinct! (1964, b&w)

Mark says: The Earth Dies Screaming is only one of a handful of films Terence Fisher (Horror of Dracula, Island of Terror) directed outside of England’s Hammer Studios. Fisher was uncanny in the way he could construct richly atmospheric films on shoestring budgets. Unfortunately, even Fisher’s skills could not save this movie from looking incredibly cheap.

The Earth Dies Screaming begins interestingly enough, with people falling over dead for apparently no reason, and a string of unexplained calamities. A locomotive speeds off the tracks; a plane nosedives and explodes; a car drives full speed into a wall. I was instantly put in mind of the 1960 film, Village of the Damned, in which an entire community is rendered unconscious by an unseen force. In fact, it appears a few of the opening scenes in The Earth Dies Screaming are suspiciously similar to scenes in Village of the Damned (e.g. compare the scenes featuring the plane crashing behind the tree line and the car driving into the wall). Regardless, we later discover these people aren’t simply unconscious, but stone-cold dead.

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Victor Buono is The Strangler, 1964From the video case: Victor Buono stars in this psychological thriller about a paranoid psychotic whose overbearing mother drives him to commit murder. Eight beautiful women have been strangled so far and the police are baffled. All they can do is wait until the canny killer tips his hand. But Leo Kroll (Buono) is very clever. He’s also a good son. He always visits his mother, whom he secretly despises. She’s an ill-tempered woman bedridden with heart trouble who has just survived a near fatal attack, thanks to her nurse, Clara. This makes Leo so angry he’d like to kill Clara. So he does. And now the police finally begin to close in. (1964, b&w)

Mark says: Until I started this site, I never really noticed how inane video/dvd box descriptions are. Anyway, the above description will work well enough as a synopsis.

This film is obviously based on the Boston Strangler killings that were taking place at the time, and I imagine it was considered quite disturbing. In fact, it is still unsettling, especially the scenes where Victor Buono (What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte) experiences orgasmic delight as he chokes his victims to death. I have to admit to being a little shocked myself.

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