Blu-ray Shopping Bag: Die Monster Die! Blu-ray (Mania.com)

By:Robert T. Trate
Date: Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Source: Mania.com

When Stephen Reinhart (Nick Adams) arrives in the remote English village, he asks everyone for directions or a ride to the Witley estate. He is met with laughter and hysterics over where he wants to go. Stephen is trying to get to his finance, Susan (Suzan Farmer), and her family. Stephen takes it on himself to walk the way on his own. His journey allows him discover a devastated country side which precedes the Witley Estate. 

Stephen is met by Susan’s wheelchair bound father, Nahum Witley (Boris Karloff), who immediately tells him that he is unwelcome. Susan speaks to her father and his real purpose is revealed. Stephen is to meet with the matriarch of the family, Letitia (Freda Jackson). It was she that summoned Stephen from college. 

The plot starts to unravel as a shrouded Letitia discusses plans with Stephen to remove Susan from the estate. Her husband is up to something and Susan is in great danger. Stephen must also find the maid. Whatever happened to her is happening to to Letitia as well. The plot meanders a great deal as Stephen tries to break Susan free of the grounds. He discovers that Nahum practices the dark the art, as his family has done for years. He also has mad experiments in the greenhouse. 

The problem with Die Monster Die! lies in Nick Adams’ portrayal of Stephen. With each piece of the puzzle he discovers, we don’t feel as if anything has really been accomplished. Stephen, who has just come from the university, is also an expert on everything. Susan, on the other hand, looks like a bobbysoxer and really good in a tight sweater. The film also suffers from not knowing what type of morality tale it wants to be. This works to its advantage in the big reveal at the end, but the clues don’t make sense. At one point we see strange plants, then giant radiated creatures, and witchcraft signs. All this takes place in a spooky English castle where Boris Karloff is both a warlock and a scientist. The film was released during the space race and the end of the atomic age movies. It is obviously trying to capitalize on both of these genres. Having Karloff (who is synonymous with monster movies) in the film throws us off as well. 

There is morality lesson to this story. It arrives just in the nick of time, but the film’s only saving grace is Karloff. With just him saying the name “Stephen Reihnart” you are locked into this film. His silky, snakey smooth tone helps elevate this picture. Without Karloff it this picture, with its shoddy plot, it would have easily been forgotten. 

I recommend the film for fans of Karloff and the macabre. There are some great twists here and a transfer that is amazing. If you are a fan of Die Monster Die! You are in for a real treat. If not, borrow it, stream it, or rent it. This is not one for your personal archives. 

The Blu-ray Experience:
When any older film is released on Blu-ray, it is often a gamble. It can either be a direct transfer from the DVD, the laser disc or, hopefully, the original 35mm negatives. Scream Factory has outdone themselves with this particular transfer. They really are becoming the Criterion Collection of B movies and genre classics. 

When Nick Adams disembarks from the train, he engages a cabbie. By the end of their conversation, it lightly starts to rain. The drops were falling on Adams’ beige raincoat, leaving evidence of said rain. In the next shot, continuous in the film, Adams approaches a bar and the coat is completely dry. That is picture clarity. 

Sadly, the clarity of the transfer does highlight the use of Matte Paintings and strings. There is a large area that looks as if it were decimated. Adams walks through it revealing a large crater and the outline of the Matte Painting is clearly visible.Then again, I’ll take this disappearing art over green screens any day. As for the strings, well it would be completely insane to have trained bats that big in any movie.

 

Top 5 Picks of the Week:
1. Robocop 4K Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
2. It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray/DVD)
3. Raise The Titanic (BluRay/DVD Combo) [Blu-ray]
4. Cat People (Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]
5. Captain Phillips (Two Disc Combo: Blu-ray / DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy)

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Prey [Blu-ray] Starring Albert Dupontel, Alice Taglioni and Stéphane Debac

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Raise The Titanic (BluRay/DVD Combo) [Blu-ray] Starring Richard Jordan, Jason Robards and Alec Guinness (1980)

Scarlet & The Black Starring Gregory Peck and Christopher Plummer (1983)

Vikingdom Starring Dominic Purcell, Craig Fairbrass and Conan Stevens

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Dilbert - The Complete Series Starring Daniel Stern, Chris Elliot, Kathy Griffin and Larry Miller

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Criterion Collection

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La Vie De Boheme (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray/DVD) (1992)

HORROR

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Cat People (Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] Starring Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard

Dead Weight Starring Joe Belknap and Michelle Courvais

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Die Monster Die [Blu-ray] Starring Boris Karloff (1965)

Gingerdead Man Vs. Evil Bong Starring Victoria De Mare

The Insomniac Starring Danny Trejo, John Heard, Eddy Salazar and Clare Grant

Knight of the Dead Starring Alan Calton, Alf Thompson, Dylan Jones and Feth Greenwood

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy [Blu-ray] Starring Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Wes Craven

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Psychophony: An Experiment In Evil Starring Ferran Albiol, Raul Alvarez, Dafnis Balduz, Ferran Carvajal, Leyla Fernandez, Merce Montala, and Miriam Planas Claudia

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MODERN CLASSICS on BLU-RAY

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang [Blu-ray] Starring Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes and Lionel Jeffries

SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

After Death Starring Ben Shockley, David Wayman Claira Watson Parr

Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage

Lord of the Rings: Original Theatrical Trilogy [Blu-ray]

Richard the Lionheart Starring Burton Anthony Perez, Chandler Maness

Robocop 4K Remastered Edition [Blu-ray] Starring Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Daniel O'Herlihy and Ronny Cox

TV LAND

Bewitched - Season 1 & 2 Starring Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Agnes Moorehead

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Bounty Hunters: Complete First Season Starring Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy

Bullet In The Face: The Complete Series Starring Eddie Izzard, Eric Roberts, Max E. Williams

Comedy Bang Bang: Season 1 Starring Amy Poehler, Andy Samberg, Aziz Ansari and Elizabeth Banks

Cosby Show - Season 1 Starring Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Lisa Bonet

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Good Times - Season 1 & 2 Starring Esther Rolle, John Amos, Jimmie Walker and Ralph Carter

Highway To Heaven - Season 3 Starring Michael Landon, Victor French, Dick Van Dyke

Just Shoot Me - Season 1 & 2 Starring Laura San Giacomo, George Segal, David Spade

Married With Children - Season 1 & 2 Starring Ed O'Neill, Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate

Mr Show: Complete Collection

NYPD Blue: Season Five Starring Dennis Franz, Jimmy Smits and Kim Delaney

Wings - Season 3 and 4 Starring Timothy Daly, Steven Weber, Crystal Bernard



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