Wednesday, September 15, 2010

While Venus Calls 911 Shouting...

The Earth Dies Screaming (20th Century Fox, 1964)

Before the Camera:

Willard Parker (A Slight Case of Murder)
Virginia Field (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - she was Morgan LeFay!)
Dennis Price (Theatre of Blood)
Thorley Walters (Great Britain's go-to man for Dr. Watson portrayals from 1962-1977, including The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother)
Vanda Godsell (The Pink Panther Strikes Again)
David Spenser (Carry On...Up the Khyber)
Anna Palk (Horror on Snape Island aka Tower of Evil - UK (original title)
                                                       aka Beyond the Fog - USA (reissue title)
                                                       aka Horror of Snape Island - Canada (English title)

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Terence Fisher

Produced by Robert L. Lippert and Jack Parsons

Written by Henry Cross

We get off to a ripping start as several people around England are shown collapsing, some of them at the controls of various air and ground vehicles - trains derail, cars crash, planes drop from the sky.We then meet American test pilot Jeff Nolan (Parker) who survived whatever that was and now seeks refuge in a small British pub while he plans what to do next. He then finds himself facing down the barrel of a shotgun wielded by Taggart (Price) and his companion Peggy (Field). (Lesson #1: Right after the end of the world, keep your freakin hand on your freakin gun!) But after a tense moment, the trio decides to band together to figure out what happened. But both Taggart and Peggy are somewhat mysterious, lending a slightly ominous air to the partnership. As the three make their way around, they find copious dead bodies from the attack, all lying where they fell. Soon after they are joined by Edgar (Walters) and Vi (Godsell) who establish themselves as light comedy relief of the randy adulterous sort, and then Mel (Spenser) and Lorna (Palk) show up to round out the gang as added conflict (Mel's belligerent and Lorna's pregnant). Hail hail, the gang's all here, and they move on in their search for anyone else alive. Everyone compares stories, and it turns out all seven were using an isolated air supply when the Bad Thing happened, pointing to some kind of gas attack that they assume was launched by an enemy foreign power as the start of a war. While everyone ponders this theory, two figures in what appear to be hazmat suits are spotted. But an attempt at direct contact with these individuals reveals they aren't the authorities mopping up...but the second phase of the attack...and it definitely originated much further away than they originally thought...maybe even from Out There...  Once the hazmat guys prove themselves lethal, things take another turn for the worse when they start zapping the corpses lying around into white eyed zombies who then become the third phase of the attack...an attack which may only end when The Earth Dies Screaming!

The community theater auditions for Annie aren't until next week, sorry.

This turned out to be a well made if low key British science fiction flick. As often happens with these movies, the opening few minutes could have been the start of an episode of The Avengers, or Doctor Who. But there are no bowler hats or blue police boxes here. There is an American lead actor though, which was a weird habit these British movies had at the time, I guess to make the film more marketable across the Big Pond. I always find this a little weird, because the American actor is pretty much never a "name" (Who the heck is Willard Parker?) but it seemed to work for them and they did it a lot. Parker is fine in the role, and the rest of the cast is veddy British and up to the tasks presented them here. If you watch a lot of British films or TV from the period then Price and Walters are definitely going to be familiar faces, the rest, probably not so much. The hazmat guys are pretty cool, the blank eyed zombies are actually creepy, and the movie does not overstay its welcome, clocking in at a trim 62 minutes. It's not a slambang thrill a minute flick, but if you don't mind a calmer pace this one is definitely worth a look. It's on an MGM double feature DVD with Chosen Survivors, not a bad pair up I must say.

Let's Get Out of Here ?

At about 36:55, David Spenser uses The Line to propose peace through evacuation.

Eye Candy ?

Based on her World Class Legs alone, Virginia Field totters right onto the list in her pencil skirt and high heels.

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "The Earth Dies Screaming is a good preview of December 21st, 2012."

Til next time, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

1 comment: