director Daniel Haller
Okay, so it’s reasonable to be disappointed when looking for signs of H.P. Lovecraft in Daniel Haller’s 1965 “adaptation” of “The Colour Out of Space” as it was transformed into Die, Monster, Die! (a misleading but cool title nonetheless), but once you acknowledge that, what’s left is a stylish, interesting, occasionally quite cool horror film. Haller had been a production designer and art director on some Roger Corman films before taking the helm of director, as he does here for the first time, and it shows in some of the film’s best moments.
For its lack of adherence to Lovecraft, it does offer a few fascinating images, my favorite of which is the matte painting (by gum, I love matte paintings like this) of the giant crevasse in the burned-out woods leading to the Witley estate, a sign of some massive cataclysm, and quite spooky. You also have a glimpse of Witley’s menagerie from hell, the strange monsters in the hot house, irradiated by shards of a strange stone.
All this cool design gets a bit upstaged by the ending, in which Boris Karloff’s Nathum Witley becomes super-irradiated himself, a glowing silvery, shining thing that made me think of Karloff in The Invisible Ray (1936) some 30 years before (I wonder if Karloff considered that connection at the time). By upstaged, I mean upstaged by something considerably less cool-looking.
I quite liked it, to be honest.
Interesting to note that Karloff and star Nick Adams would both be dead within four years of this film. Karloff at age 81 from pneumonia and Adams at age 36 via suicide.