Sunday, January 26, 2014


I watched DIE! DIE! MY DARLING! (1965) the other night. I'd recorded it off of TCM. I'd seen this one before but it was years ago. Here are a few of the thoughts I had while watching the film.

The title is extremely similar to another horror film released in 1965, DIE MONSTER, DIE! starring Nick Adams and Boris Karloff. The storyline of DDMD is reminiscent of yet another film released in 1965, William Wyler's THE COLLECTOR starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar. DDMD also prefigures Brian De Palma's CARRIE (1976) in depicting a crazed, religiously fanatic older woman who is determined to do harm to a young woman. Oh and DDMD steals an entire sequence from Hitchcock's PSYCHO (1960). Wildly swinging overhead light fixture in a cellar anyone?

DIE! DIE! MY DARLING! stars Tallulah Bankhead (in her last film appearance) and the beautiful Stephanie Powers. It's a psychological horror film produced by the legendary Hammer Films in Great Britain (under the title FANATIC) and released in the U.S. by Columbia. The film is part of the 1960s cycle of "horror hag" films in which older actresses (Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Joan Fontaine, Olivia de Havilland and Bankhead) all had their fading careers briefly rejuvenated by appearing in low-budget horror films.

DIE! DIE! MY DARLING! finds Powers visiting Bankhead to pay her respects to the old woman. It seems Powers was engaged to Bankhead's late son before he met his death in an automobile accident. Powers intends to briefly visit the woman in her isolated country home and then return to London and her current fiance. Bankhead will have none of that.

Believing that Powers is her daughter-in-law and a fallen woman, Bankhead imprisons Powers in an attempt to "save" her stained soul. There are some twists and turns with dark secrets revealed before Powers is finally rescued and Bankhead dead.

Director Silvio Narizzano does a workmanlike job filming Richard Matheson's screenplay. Narizzano would go on to a bit more fame in 1966 by directing the smash hit GEORGY GIRL. DIE! DIE! MY DARLING! is a good little horror film. It's nothing spectacular but worth seeing at least once if you're a genre fan.

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