Day the World Ended (1955) Poster

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Atmospheric, claustrophobic and creepy
William16 April 2002
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.
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See It in Widescreen!
twanurit22 August 2000
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.
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A rather creepy B-movie
Chris Gaskin27 February 2002
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.
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A Truly Frightening Monster
Larry Santoro14 April 2005
Warning: 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.

Come read the site:
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One of Corman's better movies
Sterno-222 August 2000
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 Millennial Kingdom?

"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.
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Good entertainment
Space_Mafune7 November 2002
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.
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STRETCH That Suspension of Disbelief
BaronBl00d2 February 2003
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.
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Missing a scene??
Mark_Marcon14 February 2005
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!
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What a scary movie in 1955
pcs374630 April 2010
I was 9 years old when I saw this movie. I was being "babysat" by a friend of our family while my parents were out of town and he took me to see this. Afterward, when I had gone to bed, he went outside, and scratched on the window of my room, I looked and he flashed a flash light under his face and he had some sort of masking tape and tree bushes on his face...Jeezeus Keehriest! He scared the crap out of me. So, this film always stuck in my mind.

I loved the music...very, very creepy and well timed. The monster, though stupid by modern standards, was all the rage in it's day.I remember the screams in the theater when it was first seen full view.

The story was rather frightening for the era, too. We all were thinking quite a lot about nuclear war happening to us right at home. People were really building bomb shelters int heir backyards...or had "escape kits" pre-loaded in their station wagons. Yes. It really was that bad.

I believe this film would be well worth re-watching, although, I have only seen it once again since I saw it on the big screen and the second showing it seemed a bit less spooky to me. But, the acting was good, the story was practical though of a totally unimaginable theme, and the monster, though rather "over the top", and a bit corny, was scary enough when combined with the well timed and creepy music.

I definitely would watch it again, just for the memories.
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Roger Corman's extremely solid & engrossing 50's sci-fi end-of-the-world debut feature
Woodyanders13 April 2006
Warning: 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 influential wake.

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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For DieHard Corman Fans.
walt whizzer8 September 2000
Director Roger Corman's first sci-fi film effort in 1956, "The Day The World Ended", is a low-budget, marginal film. The story involves an older man(Paul Birch) and his lovely, grown daughter,(Lori Nelson) who are holed up in their house after a nuclear holocaust has decimated most of the worlds population; their home has been protected from radioactive fallout by the surrounding mountains. The setting is limited to the house and 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 a 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.
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Nice gem from Roger Corman
vtcavuoto14 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"Day the World Ended" is a better than average "B" movie. Richard Denning, Lori Nelson and Paul Birch shine in their roles as does Mike "Touch" Connors. Nuclear war destroys most of mankind except for a lucky few. The handful of survivors are huddled together in a house clear from fallout and have to fight to survive from mutants as well as each other. The directing is well done and the acting is very good for a low budget film. The pace moves along well and there is enough action to keep the viewer interested. I would say this is one of Roger Corman's better efforts and a must see for fans of 1950s Sci-Fi. Catch this one if you get the chance.
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Strippers have rights too!
Thomas Fasulo16 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
How come no one seems to worry when Ruby doesn't come back from her walk? OK, so she is a stripper, but strippers are people too! For God's sakes, I mean all the men went out on a search mission when Diablo, the burro, turned up missing, :-)

And if they are running out of food, why didn't they butcher Diablo? After all, it was dead. And they could just pretend it was "deviled ham." Or would that have offended the SPCA?

And what evolutionary advantage do the mutants gain by having useless small "arms" growing out of their shoulders. Or was that just a fashion statement?
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A good cast and a great idea bogged down by a talky script and bad pacing
lemon_magic20 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I saw the remake of this film, "In The Year 2889", before I saw the original, and I have to say that the experience made me appreciate the good points of this Roger Corman quickie much more than I might have otherwise."2889" was a piece of dreck, while this is an actual movie, with actual actors, that a person can watch with some enjoyment...once, anyway.

Denning (a geologist) and Connors (a crook) give their usual snappy performances in this movie, and Paul Birch (the fellow who owns the house that the cast of characters take refuge in) is given better direction, better lines, and a part that shows his strengths to much better advantage than the previous movie I saw him in ("Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes").

On the other hand, Corman's usual problems with pacing and energy and rhythm manifest themselves immediately. There are too many talky scenes that go nowhere (especially between Connor and the girlfriend);too many plot holes that the movie hopes we will overlook; too many badly choreographed action sequences (except for one beautifully staged scene where Denning/"Rick" fires a rifle at the advancing creature as the camera stays behind Ricks shoulder - that was NICELY done) and too many moments of glib hand waving pretending to be actual major movie elements (did you know that mutants with diamond hard skin are created by H-bomb blasts and die when exposed to non-poisoned water?) And if you're going to invoke God in a Doomsday scenario, you need to do it a lot more convincingly than Corman's screenplay does at the end.

Oh, and the monster is ridiculous. He's just another prototype/ variation of the Giant Pickle from "It Conquered The World". I'm not casting aspersions on Paul Blaisdell, I'm sure he did his best with no time and a tiny budget...but the monster is ridiculous.

Still, there was plenty to like about it. I always enjoy watching Richard Denning, Lori Nelson makes a great Barbie Doll, and there is a nice sense of claustrophobia and paranoia as the plot advances. Worth seeing once if you are interested in the history of Science Fiction movies, or Corman, or Giant Pickles.
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Trying to live after an H-bomb.
Michael O'Keefe22 October 1999
A group of seven people fear they are the only survivors of a near world ending H-bomb blast. Not only do they fear the radiation, but also mutants in the surrounding hillside. One of the group is already contaminated, but strangely poses no real threat to the others. Just surviving the friction of assorted personalities at close range is the sub-plot. Richard Denning plays the hero. Mike Connors is close to the edge playing a tough guy. Lori Nelson is the girl destined to start populating a brave new world. Not one of director Roger Corman's best. This is predictable black and white sci-fi.
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Scared the hell out of me.
thguru2 January 2000
When you are a kid in the "atomic decade" (1950's), you grow up knowing that anything that will kill you and cause you a lot of pain and agony in the process, is a mutant monster caused by an overdose of atomic radiation. This movie added to the fear. The movie poster art for this film added to prep-fear. I have seen this movie again as an adult and thought the mutant monster was funny due to the crude costume. However, due to the impact that it had on me as a kid, I have to give it above average marks.
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Based entirely on scientific fact....or not.
MartinHafer1 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The film begins by telling the viewers that there was an all-out nuclear war and almost all the people on the planet are dead. However, a small number of survivors happen upon a home built in a perfect location to avoid nuclear contamination--and coincidentally, they all arrive one after the other within about two minutes! There are some serious problems, though, that hinder their survival. The most pressing is that there just isn't enough food for all of them. Also, there is a contaminated man who has somehow survived but has mutated into a vampire-like thing. But the worst are bizarro monsters--the sort of bug-eyed one that naturally were created by radiation! Will these folks somehow survive? And, given that several of them are complete idiots, do we even want them to?!

Among the humans is a total sleaze-bag played by Mike "Touch" Connors (of "Mannix" fame). He constantly is threatening the others, acting like a thug and ogling the pretty young lady who wants nothing to do with him. My question, then, is why didn't they just shoot this guy?! At one point, he tries to take the leader's gun and then promises to kill them--yet they do nothing! So, he tries it again later--yet they do nothing! He even attempts to rape one of the women and murders another. You'd think that enough would be enough!! His character is simply a very broad caricature of a hoodlum--too broad. And, the rest of the folks are simply too stupid to live! In addition to Mr. Mannix, the contaminated guy develops a taste for fresh, raw meat and begins talking about the deaths of everyone there at his hand or those of his new 'friends'! Once again, you'd think they would just shoot this guy!

In many ways, this plot is a lot like the plot from the Vincent Price film "The Last Man on Earth"--but with stupid bug-eyed monsters. It's the normal survivors versus the mutants. Now that I think about it, it's also a bit like the horrible "Robot Monster"! The end result is quite stupid, though considering the film was made in only nine days on a shoestring budget, it isn't too bad--plus it has a certain kitsch value. It also had a few cool scenes--such as when Connors tosses one of them off a cliff! The basic idea wasn't bad, but shabby writing and a dumb monster sink this film.
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Great for the nostalgic humor it presents
caa82129 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I guess the "spoiler" label should be added, to conform to the caveat of this site, but I don't see how anyone would find this flick ruined if they viewed after knowing these details.

I can't agree with some of the other comments that this had any aspect but a story to evoke laughter, rather than being thought-provoking --- in the 1950's, or now (even allowing for the Cold War/end-of-the -world jitters which sometimes occurred then.

Today, it provides not only humor, mostly corn-ball, but a pleasant nostalgia for the "B" movie black-and-white films from a half century ago and earlier.

I happened upon it after it had begun, not long before they found the one character who had passed-on, and had "atomic skin." At about the same time, another, (the "old miner") perished as he proceeded with his pick-ax into the "mist" surrounding his mine.

Richard Denning and Mike Conners (aka "Touch") are rivals for the affections of Lori Nelson. Denning is old enough to be her father, and in real-life, only two years younger than Paul Birch (her "father"). In the process, Conners, a crook, stabs and calmly tosses his girlfriend ("moll?") Adele Jergens off a cliff. He reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger dropping one of the villains from a similar height in "Commando." Jergens was a few years younger than Denning, but several older than Conners.

I also found amusing, viewing Nelson awakening in her tidy bedroom, in a neat pair of nightwear; it's the end of the world, and she looked like Sandra Dee in "Gidger" ready for another day of frolic.

Nelson also was enjoying a leisurely swim in the murky lake, also reminiscent of Gidget (or Annette) at the beach, shortly before becoming aware of the mutant monster lurking nearby.

During the proceedings, Paul Birch is shown to have more weaponry in his "storeroom" than a National Guard armory. He has M-1 rifles (the Army's primary infantry weapon then), and another comment here indicated another print version of the film referenced a Luger as well.

During one sequence, Denning fires the weapon, which in the film had less recoil that an air rifle. He hit the "mutant/creature" point-blank with several rounds, not even budging him/it an inch. Emptying an M-1 clip into even the largest of elephants would move him back, and with at least minimal recoil, even for the most-proficient marksman.

This movie is said in the trivia remarks to have been made in nine days. It was worthy viewing for its humor, but, frankly, a 9-hour shooting period would be believable. The cast was a credible group with extensive "B" film resumés (and later TV, as well). But nothing here evidenced any second takes, and nine hours should have been sufficient, with most of this to allow the actors who entered the lake to dry-off and dress.
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Better when I was a child
TC-413 January 2001
I saw this movie in the theater when I was a teenager. Back then this was all we had as far as a sci-fi movie. They were many "B" movies like this but this was as close to the quality of Plan 9 From Outer Space as it gets. As a child I thought it was ok. Now I see it over 40 years later and I can see how it was probably filmed in 2 days with cardboard sets and a backlot lake. What bothers me is that sci-fi movies are made today costing many millions of dollars and with terriffic special effects and they get the same "ho hum" from the critics as this one. I will not waste my time anymore with fifties sci-fi junk. The only exception would be Them.
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Curtains for the Human Race
junk-monkey8 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A 1957 Roger Corman non epic in which a sundry bunch of characters end up in a lead lined valley (sic) just as stock footage thermo-nuclear heck is unleashed. It's the end of the world. Four men with guns, two women, (one an unmarried virgin the other a Las Vegas show girl who drinks and smokes - guess which one makes it to the end of the movie?) Time passes, tensions develop (or are supposed to). Something is in the woods eating radioactive rabbits. A mutant monster! Seven weeks of radioactive dust has performed "a million years of evolution" (on an already living human) the result is a laughably bad, zip up the back, rubber monster who is strangely scared of their only source of fresh water. It rains. The monster dissolves. The remaining two characters, the Hunk and the Virgin. set out to repopulate the world as the caption 'The Beginning' fills the screen after it transpires that the brief shower of rain had washed all the radioactivity away and dissolved all the monsters running around 'out there'.

The only thing of real note about this is the incredible amount of 'curtain acting' that goes on in it. One of the staple elements of bad and lo budget movie making of the period was the superabundant use of curtains in the set design. It was cheap. Finished with one set-up? Pull a curtain across, drop a different piece of furniture in front of it and you have a different location in minutes without having to move the camera or change the lighting.

'Curtain acting' is a skill in which the actor will get to comment on what's going on outside any building he happens to be in ("It looks like Rain", or "Here they come now, and it looks like they've got the sheriff with them!", that sort of stuff). He'll do this by standing to one side of the window - reaching across his body and lifting the curtain away from the window but along the axis of the shot - ie towards the camera - thus enabling him to pretend to look out and tell us what's happening off screen, without letting the audience see he's staring at the studio wall three inches away from his nose behind some cheap velvet curtains. There was a lot of that in this movie.
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The New Adams And Eves
bkoganbing20 October 2010
If you were to pick folks to hopefully populate the world again as the new Adams and Eves the group from Day The World Ended would not be selected as a typical gene pool. But they are an interesting crew to entertain us for 79 minutes in a typical Roger Corman low budget film.

This futuristic look after the Apocalypse was shot on a shoestring and it shows, but Corman was a master at stretching things. A valley where Paul Birch and his daughter Lori Nelson have their ranch seems to have escaped the holocaust and some folks have arrived there for shelter that include an escaped convict Michael Connors and his moll stripper Adele Jergens, geologist Richard Denning, old prospector Raymond Hatton, and a strange man who has a taste for the radiated flesh of the dead animals around played by Paul Dubov.

Birch has a lot of supplies stored away probably he would be considered a survivalist today, but this is not a crew to think of the larger picture. Both Connors and Denning make a play for Nelson and Jergens is feeling rather frustrated. And there are some nasty mutant beings hanging around, but strangely not entering the valley.

Day The World Ended is a bit better than some of the low budget science fiction from the Fifties. The characters if not original are indeed entertaining.

Roger Corman could stretch a dollar better than most.
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How to Survive a Nuclear War
retrorocketx26 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The Day the World Ended looks super cheap, but it is actually a watchable movie. It all begins with a nuclear holocaust. As poisonous radiation blankets the earth, only a few pockets are able to sustain normal life. The film is about one such pocket located somewhere in a mountainous desert probably in or near California.

A father and his daughter are hunkering down in their remote house, fully prepared to survive the nuclear winter. Five survivors straggle down from the nuclear fog-bound hills and make it to the house. There are seven people in the house, but only enough supplies for three (the father and daughter were expecting her fiancée to join them).

At this point, the movie becomes a great little character study. The small time hood and the hero, Rick (Richard Denning), compete for the affection of the daughter, Louise (Lori Nelson). An ex-stripper tries to hang onto her man while the father tries to keep everyone in line. The dying guy, surprisingly, does not die, but begins to have strange longings for the nuclear fog and strong cravings for raw meat. An old prospector and his mule round out the cast. The father can't get anyone on the radio, so these folks might be all alone in the world, trapped in a small house, surrounded by poisonous fog.

The sets are by far the worst part of the movie. The house looks like a Palm Springs vacation home rented out for the weekend. It just does not look like the father and daughter live here (for a guy who was planning to survive a nuclear war you'd think he would at least remember to trick out his house!). The decor is dull, which is bad because we spend most of the movie looking at it. Oh and the curtains! All the windows are curtained. The characters spend lots of time peering out of the curtains (but we never see what they are looking at), and they enter and leave through curtained doors too. It just looks really cheap.

If some of the scenes took place in another room, especially one with survival gear, the film might have been much more interesting. I felt like I needed to see what a 50s survival bunker (or storeroom) might have looked like. After all, it was not unheard of for people to have converted basements or backyard bunkers during this time period. Unfortunately the movie was too cheap to show something that really needed to be shown.

The most interesting plot dynamic involves Louise. She has been hoping for her fiancée to arrive at the house, but he does not. Her father urges her to forget about him (and marry Rick within the week and get busy repopulating the earth). But she is not ready. At odd times Louise hears a strange psychic piping noise that seems like a voice calling her (no one else hears it) and she feels she is being watched.

It's not too long before the household realizes there is a monster on the prowl outside. And the father and Rick start coming up with theories of humans and animals mutating into monsters due to radiation. I don't think the monster looks any worse than most cheap monster-suits of this genre. At least the monster is somewhat mysterious. The monster uses its psychic piping noise to lure Louise out of the house. Will she be taken by the monster into the poisonous fog? Will the monster let her go? Can Rick kill the monster and save the girl with an army surplus M-1 rifle? Whatever happened to the fiancée?

The theme of the movie is survival, but with an emphasis on letting go of the past, letting go of the dead, and finding love and reasons to live in the midst of catastrophe. The only survivors in the movie are those able to let go and embrace a new future as the poisonous nuclear fog dissipates.
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7 people seek sanctuary in a Frank Lloyd Wright house.
copper196329 March 2010
The Geiger counter is off the meter in this Roger Corman effort. Red hot. Searing. Out of the radioactive mist stagger seven survivors. One, a man, has suffered radiation poisoning. The other six characters are relatively intact. But exposed. Beefy Richard Denning performs his best fireman's carry of the infected man, plucking him out of the lethal, contaminated fog. They all arrive safely in a valley protected by a natural barrier of mountainous lead. Or something. It's best not to think too much about such matters. Stumbling into a place where there are very few people, natural shields and a house with supplies, is alway a plus in this type of genre film. Mike Connors arrives and soon cracks thick skulls with Denning. They both want to take charge. He also has the hots for the daughter of the military man, in whose house they've all crashed. The gruff, older gentleman has only enough supplies for three people: his daughter, her fiancée and himself. The fiancé never makes it. Or does he? The Captain views the others as uninvited guests--extra mouths to feed. The daughter takes pity on them and allows them to stay the night. And longer. Softy. A stripper and prospector (complete with burrow) fill out the remaining cast. The characters fight, argue, dance, bicker, swim, fight (some more) and plan for the future. The father even marries off his daughter to Denning. His philosophy: start making babies as soon as possible. But what if the radioactive rains come too fast? Well, then they will all be pushing up daises. The surrounding hills are populated by mutated humans in different stages of decay and rot. The fog creeps and slithers around the rim of the valley like mustard gas. The movie does convey a spooky atmosphere very well, and violence and religious overtones are present and applied liberally. All you need for a rainy Saturday afternoon of viewing. But keep clear of any radioactive pellets cascading from the sky. They're killers. Now whatever happened to that fiancé?
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Build tension for the viewers
oscar-353 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
*Spoiler/plot- 1956, The Day the World Ended, Awful clichéd' ridden post atomic war film. War survivors in a survivalists cabin try to live. These interesting character role cabin mates are killed one after another by themselves and by mysterious radiation means. They finally meet a three eyed, four armed telepathic meat-eating mutant.

*Special Stars- Mike Connors is the Baddie. Richard Denning is the hero. Paul Birch plays the survivalist 'captain' of this motley crew.

*Theme- Man pollutes and God corrects.

*Based on- Jules Verne short story called, "In the Year 2889".Many Christian Bible stories.

*Trivia/location/goofs- Another 6 day made Roger Corman early film. Rocky canyon locations courtesy of Gower Canyon, Hollywood Hills. Look for the obvious man-made rock walls around the waterfall near the pond at the Sportsman Lodge Studio City. Was remade in the late 60's titled as the short story, In the year 2889.

*Emotion- A good dramatic film with build tension for the viewers. The ending is a huge let-down along with seeing the hidden monster in the full sunlight. The suit was a bad joke in film making.
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One of the great original Corman treats...
rschwab316 September 2003
This is one of Corman's classic sci-fi thrillers. It's campy and fun; the cast generates a lot of give and take, and the dialong is hilarious. The only problem is finding a copy of the film. Seems it is no longer in production but it might be available on Ebay. Check it out!
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