Thursday, April 21, 2011

Die, Monster, Die!

My Rating: 5/10

A 1960's Boris Karloff movie that one would think would be a shoe-in to love, given that it also stars Nick Adams of Godzilla movie fame, but alas, it's a fairly tepid affair. It is worth watching just to see Karloff, but it says something that 20-30 minutes could have been cut without notice from its already short 1:23 running time.

This may be the first Lovecraft movie adaptation, I'm not sure, but it does predate the 70's Dunwich Horror with a nice retelling of "The Colour out of Space". Nick Adams arrives at Little English Village to see the Witley family only to find all the locals crossing themselves and bolting their windows at mention of the name. (I so wish this would happen to me someday, but so far no luck.  I long for the day I come to a new town and ask about a local family name, only to have everyone at the diner pull out crosses and start muttering and clear out)  Turns out Papa Witley (Karloff) has something going on with a crashed meteorite, and weird afflictions are plaguing everyone at Witley manor. Adams' investigation leads to a horrifying climax as the effects of the meteor are unveiled.

This was an enjoyable flick for any "old horror movie" fan, but it could have been a lot better. The build-up is nice, but the pacing starts to drag badly and by the time you're halfway through it feels like you've spent two hours already watching Nick Adams creep quietly downstairs to check on a strange noise. I am all for slow-building tension, but the lack of action does cause some attention drift. Some moments are excellent, however, like Karloff's performance and some mutated *things* found halfway through. Overall, a disappointing case of having all the right ingredients (Karloff, Adams, spooky manor house, devil worship, mutants, crazy women roaming the grounds, radioactive monsters) but never quite managing to get them all to gel properly into a delicious whole. Fun if you're patient, but could have been much better. 

Suggested Accompaniment:  60's British horrors always call out for a classical British pipe.  Load up with something like Dunhill Nightcap, add a pint of Guinness and you're set to go.