01 September 2014

Day the World Ended (1955)
79 min.
Directed by Roger Corman.
With Richard Denning, Lori Nelson, Adele Jergens, Mike Connors, Paul Birch, Raymond Hatton, Paul Dubov, Jonathan Haze, Paul Blaisdell.
This 1955 sci-fi horror is one of the earliest efforts from producer-director Roger Corman.

After a nuclear war wipes out most of mankind, a ragtag group of survivors gather at the mountain home of the very well-prepared Jim Maddison (Birch) and his lovely daughter Louise (Nelson).

Among them are opportunist thug Tony (Connors), his loudmouth stripper girlfriend Ruby (Jergens), and good guy Rick (Denning). They have very little in common. But they better learn how to work together.

For the atomic radiation outside has spawned a savage breed of mutants, once humanoids but now a brutal race of monsters who sustain themselves on raw human flesh. Can Jim and his guests overcome their differences, and manage to fend off the tribes of bloodthirsty critters that are circling outside?

It won't win any awards for creative ingenuity or outstanding performances, but this '50s End of Days ditty from Corman is charming matinee fun that manages to hold its own.

Day the World Ended could certainly use more atmosphere, and it never generates much tension or real suspense. But it does have Mannix star Connors, who lends a nice touch as the film's heavy. And there's an innocent simplicity in its pre-Night of the Living Dead claustrophobics that serves the endeavor adequately enough.

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