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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Earth Dies Screaming [Blu-ray]

 

(Terence Fisher, 1964)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Lippert Films

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:02:21.738

Disc Size: 16,053,166,918 bytes

Feature Size: 14,225,805,312 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.92 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 4th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DDTS-HD Master Audio English 1555 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1555 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Audio Commentary by Film Historian Richard Harland Smith
Animated Photo Montage (3:37)
Trailers (Earth Dies Screaming - 2:14, Invisible Invaders - 2:00, Chosen Survivors - 3:06, Panic in Year Zero - 2:24,  The Satan Bug - 2:12)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Their target: Humanity. Their mission: Total Annihilation! The world has just been decimated by an unstoppable, merciless army of killer robots, and millions of innocent souls have been wiped out! Only a handful of survivors have managed to escape the deadly alien apocalypse, and they must endure a non-stop struggle to save themselves from destruction, and somehow find a way to defeat the marauding death machines... before the entire human race becomes extinct! Legendary Hammer director Terence Fisher (Horror of Dracula) directed this Sci-Fi thriller written by Harry Spalding (Chosen Survivors) under the pseudonym Henry Cross and starring Willard Parker, Virginia Field, Dennis Price and Thorley Walters.

 

 

The Film:

After a mysterious gas attack which kills off most of the Earth's population, a few survivors gather at a country inn to figure out a plan for survival. However, the gas attack is only the first step in an alien invasion, in which groups of bullet proof killer robots stalk the streets, able to kill anyone with the a mere touch of their hands. The group's members find additional weaponry in a nearby drill hall, but the robots continue their campaign of terror, which only increases when their victims rise from the dead as zombies, eager to kill anyone who might try to stop them. Yet despite frictions within the group -- and the birth of a baby, which further complicates matters -- most of the members survive. After discovering that the robots in the area are being controlled from a local transmitting tower, the survivors blow it up and head to a nearby airport, where they commandeer a plane and fly south, towards an unknown destination, hoping additional survivors see their plane and join them.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

The Earth Dies Screaming is only one of a handful of films Terence Fisher (Horror of Dracula, Island of Terror) directed outside of Englandís Hammer Studios. Fisher was uncanny in the way he could construct richly atmospheric films on shoestring budgets. Unfortunately, even Fisherís skills could not save this movie from looking incredibly cheap.

The Earth Dies Screaming begins interestingly enough, with people falling over dead for apparently no reason, and a string of unexplained calamities. A locomotive speeds off the tracks; a plane nosedives and explodes; a car drives full speed into a wall. I was instantly put in mind of the 1960 film, Village of the Damned, in which an entire community is rendered unconscious by an unseen force. In fact, it appears a few of the opening scenes in The Earth Dies Screaming are suspiciously similar to scenes in Village of the Damned (e.g. compare the scenes featuring the plane crashing behind the tree line and the car driving into the wall). Regardless, we later discover these people arenít simply unconscious, but stone-cold dead.

Excerpt from ExclamationMark located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of The Earth Dies Screaming looks decent and consistent in 1080P. Contrast is quite strong with some pleasing layering. The film's many outdoor sequences can tend to look quite impressive. The source is very clean, there is plenty of depth and I noticed no noise. This Blu-ray gave me a very watchable presentation in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. No complaints.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 155 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There are effects in the film but the depth is mostly notable in the Elisabeth Lutyens' (The Skull, The Terrornauts, Paranoiac, Never Take Sweets from a Stranger) score that certainly benefits from the lossless - sounding explosive and dramatic heightening the film's tension. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Kino include another delightful audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith - light and filled with detail. There is also an animated photo montage of stills and trailers for this and similar apocalyptic films; Invisible Invaders, Chosen Survivors, Panic in Year Zero and  The Satan Bug.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I had never seen The Earth Dies Screaming and absolutely loved it. I'm a big fan of apocalypse films - with or without zombies - and the simpler premise, and less polished production, the better. I only wish it ran longer. Terence Fisher remains impressive with his direction.  The Kino Lorber
Blu-ray adds a lot of value with the Harland Smith commentary and escalates this to make indulging in a purchase enticing. Recommended!  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 47% OFF at Amazon and we think that's a bargain! Recommended!

Gary Tooze

September 25th, 2016

 

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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