The Earth Dies Screaming (1964) – By Duane L. Martin

 

No, the Earth doesn’t die screaming. Actually, everyone just sorta dies all at once in what the few survivors that are left surmise must have been some sort of a gas attack. Survivors are few and far between, and when a few gather at a local hotel, they soon discover that the source of the attack wasn’t some other country, but rather it came from aliens, who have sent robots to wander around aimlessly for no apparent reason other than to kill few survivors who managed to avoid the gas. Unfortunately, the way they meander around, I’m not sure how they manage to kill anyone. Well, they did kill one stupid woman who ran right up to them, but other than that, they didn’t have much luck.

Oh, but then they start bringing dead humans back as zombies. The zombies seem just as brainless as the robots though, and move every bit as slowly. The difference between the two however is that you can shoot the zombies and they die again. The robots just absorb the hits and keep on going.

So, what’s a group of survivors that you could count on less than two hands to do? Well, it depends on who they are. In this film we have a nice range that goes from tough, smart and strong, to extreme douchebaggery. One of the interesting things though is that one character started out ok, but then turned bad, while another started out like king jerk of the universe, and actually ended up being good, so there was a nice dynamic there.

The robots looked like they were assembled out of spare parts from a junkyard. I mean, they were bad, and to be honest, they weren’t all that scary. They were slow as hell, and they had to practically be right on top of you in order to kill you with whatever energy they were using to kill people.

As it turns out, the robots are being controlled through an alien signal that’s being broadcast by a local transmitter, so the survivors figure out that if they take out the transmitter, then all the robots will go down like a bunch of bowling pins. Not that there are all that many to go down though. I think maybe there were five or so total, but you never saw more than two together at any given time, so obviously they only had the two suits when they shot the film.

For special features, this new release from Kino Lorber includes audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith, an animated image montage, and a trailer gallery. The restoration of the film looks and sounds excellent.

You never do find out why the aliens killed everyone, or why they sent down a few meandering robots to wander around killing the survivors, but it doesn’t really matter. This film almost feels like a Twilight Zone episode in a way. A small group of people who survive the end of the world, and try to figure out how to survive while they face an unknown enemy. Sounds like a Twilight Zone episode, doesn’t it? Anyway, it’s an entertaining film, and I have no problem at all in recommending it to anyone who’s a big fan of sci-fi from the fifties and sixties.

IF you’d like to find out more about this release, you can check out its page on the Kino Lorber website here: https://www.kinolorber.com/film/TheEarthDiesScreaming