By the Colouring Book: “Die, Monster, Die!” (1965)


            “Die, Monster, Die” (1965)

    The literary reputation of H.P. Lovecraft receives a glancing body blow with “Die, Monster, Die!”, an extremely casual adaptation of his celebrated short story The ColourdiemonsterdieHS Out of Space; a film which seems to have far more in common with the with the Edgar Allan Poe adaptations (themselves only mere suggestive shells of the original tales) of Roger Corman in which an outsider’s presence becomes an unwitting catalyst in the unraveling of dangerous familial dynamics attributable to illness, tragedy and a particularly alarming genetic disposition toward madness. This is, perhaps, a foreseeable source of influence since the first-time director Daniel Haller had recently worked on no less than five of the Poe/Corman films  (including “The Haunted Palace” which, although attributed to Poe, actually had its basis in another Lovecraft story, The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward) in the capacity of art director or production designer.

    But in the indulgent use of such well traveled narrative tropes which have little to do with the source material, director Haller and screenwriter Jerry Sohl mistakenly embrace a staid familiarity; a decision which comes at the expense of ultimately abandoning one of the most notable achievements of Lovecraft’s tale: the conception of an entirely unorthodox alien presence, which here is abandoned for a far more conventional source of menace. In fact, there are attempts to obscure such conventionality late in the film with a out of left field suggestion that much of what is occurring is nonsensically connected to a grandfather’s occult attempts to contact mysterious beings, which is in itself suggestive Lovecraft’s  entirely unrelated Cthulhu Mythos. However, this is merely evidence of a desperate attempt to obscure the fact that the filmmakers, despite their labored attempts to create an air of  unspeakable horror, are merely distracting from the film’s trading in that hoariest of  post-1950 genre tropes: radiation mutation.

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About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in books, Boris Karloff, Drive-In Movies, H.P. Lovecraft, horror, Movies, Roger Corman, science fiction, short stories, writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to By the Colouring Book: “Die, Monster, Die!” (1965)

  1. Alex Good says:

    I liked the “zoo” in the greenhouse of all the mutant creatures. That was different.

    Have you seen Die Farbe or Feed the Light? They’re a couple of more recent adaptations of the same story. Die Farbe is quite good. Feed the Light is really low budget and doesn’t have much connection to Lovecraft but is still interesting.

  2. johnrieber says:

    A great example of low budget 60’s horror….nice review!

  3. beetleypete says:

    Despite the presence of the estimable Patrick Magee, I missed this one completely. Sounds like I didn’t miss much though. 🙂
    Best wishes, Georgy Zhukov

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