Saturday, October 6, 2012
Die, Monster, Die!
Although not directed by Roger Corman, Die, Monster, Die! was an Arkoff/Nicholson production, and hence has a very similar vibe to the Corman films of this era. You get a creepy old castle, colorful/gaudy set design, an air of faux-classiness, some vaguely psychedelic special effects, and a good sense of fun only slightly hidden under a facade of seriousness.
Though not faithful to the structure of Lovecraft's story, it ultimately reveals that it has the same central conceit (a meteor that has the ability to mutate what it comes in contact with). Although in this case, it skips the more subtle eeriness of the original tale (where the meteor with changing plant and animal life in small but unnerving ways) and just has it make a bunch of weird monsters. Not as creepy, but more fitting with the tone of the rest of the film.
The film has a nice slow build before it gets to the weird monsters and such. The special effects aren't exactly great for their time, but I'd say you won't be disappointed with some of the ridiculous monsters you see. The only real letdown is the finale, when Karloff finally turns into a monster himself; he just looks like someone covered him in tin foil or something. A little more effort with the final creature design would have gone a long way towards selling the ending.