Friday, January 10, 2014

Die Monster Die - Scream Factory Blu-ray Review

Writer: , based on a story by H.P. LovecraftStars:
Year: 1965
Runtime: 1:18:36.837
Total Bitrate: 33.44 Mbps
Video: MPEG-4 AVC Video / 30000 kbps / 1080p / 23.976 fps / 16:9 / High Profile 4.1
Audio: English / DTS-HD Master Audio / 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1747 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles: Negative
Release Date: January 21, 2014

Scream Factory continues cranking out classic A.I.P. horror with their January 21st Blu-ray release Karloff's Die, Monster, Die!

Die, Monster, Die! (which is German for The, Monster, The!) was based on Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space" and directed by Daniel Haller, who went on to do The Dunwich Horror, another A.I.P. film based on a Lovecraft story. The film was previously released by MGM on their Midnite Movies line and later actually paired up with The Dunwich Horror when MGM later reissued several of their Midnite Movies as double features.

The film (known as Monster of Terror in the UK) moves at a bit of a deliberate pace - like a lot of the A.I.P. stuff I've seen - but there are more than enough frights and twists to keep the film constantly engaging and entertaining. It' doesn't rank up there with the best of the genre like Pit & The Pendulum or House of Usher, but it's certainly a lot of spooky fun. With solid acting from Adams and Karloff (who performs in a wheelchair for nearly the entire film), an appropriately eerie score from Hammer regular Don Banks, and some wonderfully haunting imagery (see screens 7 and 8) make this one well worth a look for Gothic Horror fans.

I'd say the only real problem I had with the film was the actual "monster" that we get in the last few minutes. A slow lumbering dude with shiny silver skin, he looked more like one of those "living statue" guys who "work" on the streets than a Gothic horror villain. This is a minor complaint really, and I think I was just expecting a more interesting monster after the exciting build up to the reveal. Because the monster is created after being exposed to a great deal of radiation and other characters exposed to this same radiation have their flesh melt and drip from their bodies I think a more Incredible Melting Man type look for the monster would have been much more effective. Again, this is only a minor setback, and since you only see the monster for a few minutes at the end it doesn't really hurt the film overall.

Sex/Nudity - Negatory. Not so much as a cleavagey barmaid in the town tavern. Susan Farmer is cute, that's about as sexy as it gets.

Gore/Violence - Not particularly violent or gruesome. Some melty radioactive wounds, a time-lapse face melt, some ravenous foliage and even a bit of unexpected light Kung Fu in the form of a Nick Adams Judo Throw, but the violence is pretty subdued. This doesn't fall under gore or violence, but there were also some awesome mini Cthuluian creatures hanging out in the greenhouse that were sadly underutilized. If they would've let those little guys loose at the end instead of a weird Dr. Doom Frankenstein this could've been a real classic.

Recommended Double Feature - Die, Monster, Die, followed by The Haunted Palace. Both films are based on Lovecraft and revolve around a sinister glowing box in the basement of huge sinister mansion.

The Disc
There are no bonus features on Scream's mid-priced Blu-ray disc, but the improved picture and sound are certainly welcome. The picture is pretty great for the most part, the foggy outdoor scenes fair worse, but it's still an impressive looking transfer. I've included several screenshots taken directly from the Blu-ray, which you will see below. And as a new feature I'm trying out for those of you who really get into bitrates and everything I've installed BDInfo and Bitrate Viewer, so here are the specs from that.


Name:                   00002.MPLS
Length:                 1:18:36.837 (
Size:                   19,717,791,744 bytes
Total Bitrate:          33.44 Mbps

Codec                   Bitrate             Description    
-----                   -------             -----------    
MPEG-4 AVC Video        30000 kbps          1080p / 23.976 fps / 16:9 / High Profile 4.1

Codec                           Language        Bitrate         Description    
-----                           --------        -------         -----------    
DTS-HD Master Audio             English         1747 kbps       2.0 / 48 kHz / 1747 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)


Between this and the Vincent Price Collection, Scream Factory has been cranking out a lot of great classic horror of late. I personally love these releases and hope there are plenty more on the way.

Bonus: Read The Colour Out of Space here.


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