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The Day The World Ended was released by American Releasing Corporation, which soon would be known as American International Pictures. AIP became one of the most interesting film-making and releasing companies of all time, and The Day The World Ended is one of AIP's best horror/sci-fi efforts from the 1950's. The movie was also director Roger Corman's first effort in science fiction. This movie horrified me as a child with its nuclear doom, and its three-eyed monster with horns and pointed ears. As an adult I find I am still very fond of this movie. Upon my recent screening I have realized what an exceptional acting job Lori Nelson does as she plays Louise. Her facial expressions are perfect as she plays the different emotions her character goes through. Paul Birch plays her father, Jim Maddison. He's a man who is most gloomy over the aftermath of the (offscreen) nuclear war, and under the pressure of running his household with the uninvited survivors who show up. Richard Denning plays Rick, one of the survivors of the atomic bombings who shows up carrying a man named Radek (Paul Dubov.) Rick soon becomes involved with Louise, while Radek, contaminated with nuclear poisoning is not only beginning to lose his mind but his body is becoming mutated as well. Mike Connors (billed here as Touch Connors) and Adele Jergens also show up at the house in the valley which escaped the nuclear doom. They play Tony and Ruby; a couple who certainly have their problems. Tony is a bickering thug, and Ruby is a striptease dancer who's too good to be bad and too bad to be good. The problems increase for the couple when Tony seems to have Louise on his mind constantly. Also retreating to the house is an old timer named Pete (well played by Raymond Hatton) with his burro. The movie then shows the interactions, problems and emotions of the characters as they try to survive in the limited space of their post-atomic world. There is also discovered a mutation from the radioactive war lurking closer and closer to the house as time goes by. The Day The World Ended is a low-budget movie, and uses that low-budget to accomplish some good results. The only indoor setting is the house, which seems claustrophobic with the survivors. The limited, radioactive-free area of the outside world is atmospheric; especially the pond where Louise gets spooked while swimming with Ruby, and the night woods. The hills surrounding the house are covered with a radioactive haze, which adds nicely to the atmosphere and feeling of claustrophobia. The sci-fi music is creepy, and the beginning credits roll in a fashion that adds a nice touch. Ruby seems to have her own theme with the grind-instrumental record she plays while passing time in the house. There's a hint of ESP in the movie as the three-eyed mutant (possibly Louise's fiance', who was believed to have been killed when the atomic bombs exploded) seems to be making contact with Louise. Louise claims the mutant talks to her at times. The mutant (created and played by monster-maker Paul Blaisdell) often disappoints viewers. I still find the mutant to be sheer ugliness although I no longer cover my eyes as I did when I was a child (LOL.) The Day The World Ended is a fine and interesting low-budget movie with a serious, but somewhat unrealistic approach to nuclear horrors. I still find this to be a gem of a movie.
Okay, while the scientific background of this film is, to say the very least, incredibly void of any sound scientific data concerning atomic/nuclear type bombs aimed at ending human civilization, the story has charm, a bit of wit, and is quite entertaining as one man, his daughter, and five other strangers live in his home hidden in mountains/valley away from any fallout. Paul Birch plays the man who tried to convince everyone of what they needed to do but wasn't heeded. Birch gives a stoic performance with little emotion. His daughter is played by Lori Nelson(Revenge of the Creature). Her love interest, Richard Denning, plays good guy to gangster Touch (Mike) Connors and his moll, Adele Jergens. Rounding out the cast is inebriate Raymond Hatton with donkey in tow. All of the cast do a very good job. Connors plays a despicable thug very nicely. Hatton is effective as a drunk, and Jergens really shines (and is gorgeous) as a burlesque queen past her prime and stuck with a guy that no longer wants her. You can imagine how things go when rations decrease and sensitivities increase. One man, not aforementioned, named Radek gets affected and fear worms its way into this powder-keg group. The story is a lot of fun despite the total absence of any scientific validity to its premise. Director Roger Corman once again does a workmanlike job.
The Day the World Ended is a rather creepy B-movie from Roger Corman. I
believe it was the first of many sci-fi movies he was responsible for. He
did a good job with this one.
Paul Birch, his daughter and her boyfriend Richard Denning (The Creature From the Black Lagoon) are joined by an odd assortment of people in a small pocket that is still radiation free after a nuclear war. As time passes, they are gradually killed off one way or another, leaving two to start a new life.
The monster in this movie looks rubbery but rather frightening. The stars all take good parts and the music score is rather eeire.
This was released on video in Britain as part of the Drive-in Classics series which is long out of print. I was quite lucky to get hold of a copy.
This movie is a must see for 1950's sci-fi fans and I enjoyed it very much, despite the low budget.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
This film was recently televised on AMC in 2:35 Superscope, and if you've seen it before (like me), you've missed almost half the picture. The wide photography opens up the film considerably, in the mountains, at the lake, even in the house. The film is eerie, with creepy music and atmosphere, but monster costume at the end disappoints. Yet director Roger Corman wisely keeps the creature offscreen most of the time, effectively using sounds, shadows, and blurred camerawork in this end-of-the world thriller. Lori Nelson is lovingly photographed, playing the comely daughter of Navy vet Paul Birch. It's odd that all the seven survivors gather at once in the beginning of the film, including Richard Denning as (conveniently) a geologist, Adele Jergens (excellent) as a stripper and Mike Connors her punky boyfriend. The film is not uninteresting, and I wonder whether the creature is actually Nelson's transformed boyfriend, since she claims he keeps calling her by name. Worth seeing, but ONLY in widescreen.
The Day the World Ended deals with The End of the World...not the one
prophesied in the Book of Revelation, but the one popular with Hollywood.
After all, if Christ returns for His own, how can you make a movie on the
"Day" is one of Roger Corman's first forays into low-tech, low-budget science fiction movies. His first effort is commendable; if only he had remembered his lessons when he made some of his more notable bombs. A Navy vet and his daughter are living in a home protected by a plot contrivance - it's basically sheltered from radiation from the surrounding mountains. Hills, mind you, that deadly radiation cannot get over, but are easily traveled by an old man and his burro.
Beyond that, it is an intriguing story of what happens when a little pocket of humanity survives mankind's worst nightmare. Mike "Touch" Connors does an interesting turn as a bad guy with a moll whose old enough to be his mother. Connors has the hots for the Navy vet's daughter, and would like to repopulate earth with her. Other stowaways include an archeologist and a man suffering from radiation poisoning. In this movie, radiation poisoning either kills you, turns you into a monster, or makes you look like Moe Howard.
Even with the end of the world, God is not left out. Notice that the Navy vet asks his daughter to marry the archeologist before they seek to restart humanity, as well as his later statement that, "I prayed and then I stopped worrying."
Sterno says "Day" is a great movie for a rainy Saturday afternoon.
This science fiction tale of doom and gloom was one of the earliest from Roger Corman, who produced and directed. While at times being a bit slow and predictable, the film features some fine talent. It stars Richard Denning as the heroic scientist hero--a role he was certainly no stranger to performing, the lovely Lori Nelson as one of the atomic blast survivors-Louise Maddison who is as far as the two leading men(Rick & Tony-played by Mike 'Touch' Connors)in the cast and even the mutant monster in the film are concerned the most desirable woman alive as far as they know. The Mutant Monster is another Paul Blaisdell brought to life on screen by Blaisdell himself. Despite looking a bit rubbery, it does have a real menace about it. Mike Connors is decidedly unsympathetic and uncaring as the two-bit hood Tony(who only wants to take and is concerned only for satisfying his own twisted desires). Paul Birch and Adele Jergens are also quite good as Maddisson(the concerned father who tries to maintain the safety of the group and fend off Tony) and Ruby(Tony's loyal kind-hearted girlfriend with a shady past). For a low budget film effort, this one is really quite good.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw "The Day the World Ended" on its initial release. I was 13. The
threat of nuclear Armageddon was never completely out of our thoughts
during this period and the film's monster especially when it was
revealed that he was the radiation-altered husband of our heroine was
particularly frightening to me: the multiple eyes, the drippy horns,
that awful row of teeth, its shambling walk... This was especially
frightening when I realized, at the end, that this shuffling thing was
an ordinary, caring, loving man trying to get back to his wife.
My uncle managed the Lyric Theater in Chester, Pennsylvania where such movies were standard fare, so I got to see the thing for free and, of course, returned at least a half-dozen times to steep myself in the awfulness of what might happen if I got horribly irradiated during an atomic war. I never got over feeling a bit creepy as the creature crawled through that irradiated haze of post-world's end night.
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Seeing this film many years ago and now owning the NA-VHS release I recall an additional scene where the Navy vet father tells the Geologist that there is a LUGER with a snail drum in the house and to rescue his daughter with it. He loads up and wounds the mutant and rescues her. My VHS does not have this scene, does anyone remember it also??? Otherwise the film is intact and my comments are that this is still effective for its time but not as good as Panic in Year Zero, which is still the best of the nuclear nightmare flicks and its effect on people and the breakdown of society. Overall 7 rating,noted for atmospheric effects and the moll is great!
Director Roger Corman's first sci-fi film effort in 1956,
Day The World Ended", is a low-budget, marginal film.
story involves an older man(Paul Birch) and his lovely,
daughter,(Lori Nelson) who are holed up in their house after
nuclear holocaust has decimated most of the worlds population;
their home has been protected from radioactive fallout by
surrounding mountains. The setting is limited to the house
its immediate surrounding area; Corman makes some attempt at
post-holocaustic atmosphere by using smoke-generators in the surrounding
foothills. At the start of the film, Birch and
Nelson are suddenly besieged by five survivors, including
burrow - who all inexplicably arrive within a short time of
one another. One of the survivors has been affected by radiation and is horribly disfigured on one side of his face. It struck me as unusual that some of them appeared remarkably clean and well groomed for this sort of situation. The characters are varied and much of the conflict results from the contrasting personalities, especially in regard to the limited supplies and to geologist(Richard Denning's) and tough guy(Mike "Touch" Conner's, later TV's Mannix) heated competition over the young Nelson. Denning and Conners give the best performances in this film, Adele Jergens(Connor's girlfriend) also delivers an entertaining bit when reenacting her striptease dancing act. However, the interactive scenes within the house drag on and
on for most of the movie without a glimmer of the "mutant monster" (Paul Blaisdell); the monster finally appears after some foreshadowing, but is remarkably inept in its attack on Denning and Nelson and quickly dies from exposure to the "pure rain" that comes just in time. Anti-climatic; with Denning delivering the cliche', "Man created him, God destroyed him". Not much comic relief except for the ridiculous looking monster, who wouldn't frighten anyone but the very young (I saw it at a local drive-in when aged 12 or 13, and although it appeared interesting at the time to my youthful eyes, it was certainly not scary), and a laughable scene where Conners sticks his exposed hand out a window to collect rainwater in a container to see if it's contaminated by radiation. Some of the dialogue is atrocious, for example, one of the
characters suggests that human skin exposed to radiation could be called "atomic skin" - I rolled at that one. A one-time viewing of "The Day The World Ended" should be more than enough for most, except for perhaps the most ardent Corman fan.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Legendary B-movie pioneer Roger Corman made his sturdy directorial
debut with this particularly prescient low-budget post-nuke
end-of-the-world sci-fi survivalist item, a nifty little programmer
which serves as an extremely basic, but still efficient exploitation
cinema prototype for many similar features which followed in its
A motley group of people -- a rugged, self-reliant scientist father (burly Paul Birch; the pernicious extraterrestrial in Corman's fantastic '57 knock-out "Not of This Earth") and his comely teenage daughter (the lovely Lori Nelson), a stalwart true blue heroic geologist (dashing Richard Denning), a vicious strictly looking out for himself mob hoodlum (a perfectly hateful turn by Michael "Touch" Connors) and his brazen dime-store floozy ex-stripper moll (superbly played to the bold'n'brassy hilt by bosomy blonde broad Adele Jergens), a sweet, boozy elderly gold prospector (amiably doddering Raymond Hatton) and his faithful burro companion, and a gradually going crazy scar-faced half-man, half-mutant fellow (a twitchy Jonathan Haze; the hilariously meek milquetoast protagonist in Corman's cheapskate black comedy horror gem "The Little Shop of Horrors") -- hole up in a remote mountainside bunker immediately after a nuclear war occurs. The eclectic bunch bicker and quarrel with one another over the ever-diminishing supply of limited resources while a huge, ugly, crusty-skinned mutant with telepathic powers, a carnivorous appetite for human flesh, three googly eyes, a gnarled head with horns on top, three-clawed fingers and toes, and a most unpleasant demeanor (50's monster movie make-up expert Paul Blaisdell in an outrageously funky and messed-up suit) stalks the surrounding woodland area with the intent of abducting the luscious, eminently nubile and thus desirable Lori.
Although by today's standards it comes across as really slow and talky, with very little action and a noted emphasis on the increasingly tense interplay between the desperate characters, "The Day the World Ended" all the same still makes for an engrossingly seedy and rough-edged nickel'n'dime doomsday romp. Corman's lean, no-frills straightforward direction treats Lou Rusoff's unusually thoughtful, literate and intelligent script like a tightly constructed acting ensemble piece, with the uniformly sound performances by the tiny, able cast creating a good deal of the film's grungy, cut-to-the-bone effective suspense and relentlessly bleak tone. Jock Feindel's grainy, unadorned black and white cinematography gives the flick a spare, cramped, uncomfortably claustrophobic look while Ronald Stein's eerie, understated, unobtrusive score makes especially unnerving use of the always spacey sounding theremin. The admittedly absurd-looking mutant beast detracts somewhat from the otherwise nicely maintained scruffy verisimilitude, but nonetheless makes for a very cool and suitably menacing monster. The film also deserves praise for its frank, level-headed depiction of how people would act in the event of such a cataclysmic disaster (some would rise nobly to the challenge while others would devolve into savage, greedy animals), the colorfully drawn characters, Corman's sharply observant, non-judgmental point of view, its atmospheric handling of the desolate, mist-shrouded forest location, and an ambiguously "happy" ending. Overall, this modest trend-setting outing rates as pretty solid, if scrappy two-cent fun.
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