How can you go wrong with a film that’s a mash-up of The Day the World Ended, Panic in Your Zero! and The Last Man on Earth and crams it all into 62 non-boring minutes? If you get bored at something like that, then you need to take your ADD medicine more often. The Earth Dies Screaming is great and it’s directed by Terence Fisher yet it isn’t a Hammer film! How’s about that, eh?
Just to prove to you that this movie isn’t full of shit, the movie just begins with everyone dying! Planes fall from the sky, trains crash and people just like totally drop dead within in the opening sequence! You know from the get-go that something ain’t right!
But, because a film needs characters, some people inexplicably survived and, as you might have expected per your viewing similar films such as the above mentioned and, of course, Night of the Living Dead, a bunch of strangers meet by happenstance and have to both fend off the bad guys and deal with each other.
And, as you might have also guessed, the characters are all archetypical. You’ve got the sensible leader guy, the double crossing guy who you never quite trusted, a wimpy guy (who, in this case drinks a lot), the wimpy guy’s wife, another woman who is okay, a younger guy and his girlfriend and an adult couple who are about to have a kid. All of them meet up at a house and basically just try to figure out how to defend themselves against the radiation shooting, killer robots who stalk the village streets. But here’s the crazy thing; if you’re looking for another source from which Night of the Living Dead riffs from, look no further than the zombies which eventually also become part of the problem.
So yes, The Earth Dies Screaming has killer robots and zombies! And guess who created the zombies!!! Give up?! THE KILLER ROBOTS!!! HAHAHHAA, CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?! Considering it was released in 1964, don’t expect any real gore but there is action and people getting shot and killed in other ways. Given the movie’s short run-time and quick pace, the solution to the problem – at least in their tiny village – seems a little too easy to come by but, hey, whatever. The outer space, radio controller thingy that was controlling the robots couldn’t have anticipated the humans would be smart enough to knock down a tower, could they? Oh, was that a spoiler? Sorry.