Cult Classics: The Day the World Ended / The She-Creature (DVD)

Cult Classics DVDThe Day the World Ended starring Richard Denning, Lori Nelson, Adele Jergens, Mike Connors, Paul Birch, Raymond Hatton, Paul Dubov, Jonathan Haze, and Paul Blaisdell

Directed by Roger Corman

The She-Creature starring Chester Morris, Marla English, Tom Conway, Cathy Downs, Lance Fuller, Ron Randell, Frieda Inescort, Frank Jenks, El Brendel, Paul Dubov, William Hudson, and Flo Bert

Directed by Edward L. Cahn

Distributed by Lionsgate

Hold on to your hats, kids, and drop whatever you’re doing! Run to your kitchen cabinets! Pop some corn. (Preferably Jiffy-Pop because who doesn’t love watching that tin foil rasta hat fill like magic?) Two more classic Samuel Z. Arkoff fright flicks are coming home courtesy of Lionsgate, and this is one monster mash DVD that you’re not going to want to miss! Oh, the rubber suited bliss!

First up we have one of the legendary Roger Corman’s first genre films, The Day the World Ended. The proverbial shit has hit the fan as a nuclear war has devastated our country. Radiation is everywhere, and the survivors are dropping like flies. Luckily for Jim Maddison and his daughter Louise, their home was shielded from the blast by a huge mountain. Being a good father, Jim has taken every precaution to ensure that he and his loved one are well provided for. Food, water, medicine, and other supplies are in abundance; and it seems as if they’re set for survival. Until of course other survivors start and keep showing up. Being that Jim and Louise are humanitarians, they are let in, but not all are grateful. Some are criminals, and some are radiation victims that are slowly turning into monsters.

Oh, and did I mention the mutant creature that is stalking them outside?The Day the World Ended has it all for a movie of its time. It’s not just your average cheesy B-movie fodder, despite its way catchy song and dance number. There’s a genuine creepiness and feeling of dread that goes along with all the other mayhem. The monsters in this film are not just the mutated kind. They’re ordinary men that want to be in charge. Greedy folks that end up making deadly mistakes because of their silly insecurities. In the end man will always be the destruction of man no matter how good or pure our intentions may be. While this may sound rather gloomy, the subject matter of a nuclear holocaust doesn’t exactly conjure images of good times. Never fear though, this was a film made in the Fifties. Campy fun is never far off, and there’s lots to be had here considering the dismal setting. The monster of this opus is among the silliest looking I have ever seen, but hey, in the face of man-made disaster we need something to laugh about, right? Bottom line, The Day the World Ended is a finely crafted monster movie. It just doesn’t get much better than this.

Next up is The She-Creature. Women. Sometimes they can be so bitchy. The She-Creature would have us believe that they’ve been that way since prehistoric times too. Enter hypnotist, Dr. Carlo Lombardi. He is hell-bent on proving to the world that his powers are that of legend. So what does he do to prove his point? He hypnotizes his lovely assistant Andrea Talbott to such a degree that she ends up reverting back into the form of a ghastly sea creature that she was in a past life. Talk about a show stopper, eh?

Few monster movies of the Fifties have a more bizarre looking and instantly recognizable big bad as The She-Creature does. Considering its budget we get one hell of a cool looking creeper. Though I really feel for the poor soul that had to wear that suit for hours on end. It’s big, bulky, and judging by the speed of the monster, incredibly tedious to move around in. Watching people fall prey to it is almost embarrassing for the victim. I’ve seen paint dry faster than this poor thing moves. But let’s suspend disbelief and enjoy shall we?

Another thing that makes this film the camp classic that it truly is, is Dr. Lombardi himself. This guy is the quintessential villain of days gone by complete with pointy moustache and black cape. You can’t help but smile a huge shit eating grin every time he appears on screen! For horror fans The She-Creature is one of those movies that no matter how many times you watch it, you will not get sick of it. I remember catching it late at night on weekends, and each time I did, I was riveted to the screen. It’s so nice to be able to check this film out anytime that I want. Thank God for DVD!

This disc, just like every other in the Cult Classics collection, is sans any extras. As it is, this is a damned near perfect buy for monster movie buffs; but come on, guys, at least include a trailer for each film!

Despite its lack of anything extra, this DVD is head and shoulders above most double-feature discs out there if only for the quality of the films. Incidentally both The Day the World Ended and The She-Creature were treated to some truly abysmal remakes a few years ago. STAY AWAY FROM THEM. Look no further than these classics for a really good time.

Special Features
*Crickets chirping*

4 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.