Die! Die! My Darling! (1965) by #SilvioNarizzano
w/#TallulahBankhead #StefaniePowers #DonaldSutherland
A young woman is terrorized by her deceased fiancé’s demented mother who blames her for her son’s death.
“She’s One Mean Mother-in-Law!”
“In stabbing color”
#HammerHorror #Crime #Mystery
Die! Die! My Darling! (1965) is a movie that I’ve heard mention of for years, but never seen before.
When I was a kid, there was a TV show on every Tuesday night called Hart to Hart (1979-1984). I’m not sure how I got into it. It wasn’t about monsters, or outer space, or anything like that. It was about two well dressed rich people who stumble onto crimes each and every week. It wasn’t exactly a mystery, as we tended to know exactly what was going on. I guess you would say it was more of a thriller. Unsuspecting rich couple stumbles onto murder plot and becomes embroiled in danger, or something like that.
I suspect that it was my mom who started watching it, and I somehow followed along. In any case, I wound up watching that show every week. It starred Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as the rich couple who get themselves into trouble, and then somehow triumph over the bad guys and save the day. Looking back, I suspect that just about every week Stefanie Powers would scream “Jonathan!” with a look of terror on her face.
I had no idea who Stefanie Powers was before I saw Hart to Hart. She wasn’t in Star Wars (1977) or Blazing Saddles (1974), so how could I have? I had no idea that 15 years before I was watching her scream every week on TV, she had been screaming in a horror film called Die! Die! My Darling! If I could have, I’m sure I would have watched this movie. I watched everything remotely scary that came on TV back then. And if it starred someone from one of my regular TV shows, I would have been all the more excited to see it. But alas, that never happened.
In a way, Die! Die! My Darling! is a perfect precursor to Hart to Hart. It starts with a wealthy (or at least fashionable and attractive) couple driving in a fancy convertible in England (something the Harts would certainly have done – and in fact did, I think). They are engaged to be married, but the woman (played by Stefanie Powers) was engaged once before – to a man who died. She feels that she needs to go and visit his mother (played by Tallulah Bankhead). Needless to say, this doesn’t go quite as well as expected…
Stefanie Powers spends most of the running time of Die! Die! My Darling! in peril. And it’s quite an effective suspense thriller. It’s the type of story that I can often feel quite frustrated by – particularly when characters make bad choices that only make their situation worse. For the most part, Die! Die! My Darling! avoids those pitfalls. Sure, there were a couple of moments when I could have advised our heroine to so something a little bit differently, but I never felt that her choices were unbelievable. In fact, some of them were oddly similar to moments I can recall witnessing in real life.
“Don’t aggravate the psychopath,” I’ve been known to say to friends. It’s simple advice, and you’d think it was fairly obvious as well. But you’d be surprised how many people choose to say the wrong thing to the wrong person – in real life, as well as in the movies.
“I’m going to report you to the police!”
This is never a good thing to say to the psychopath. Trust me, they don’t like to hear this. Some of them get downright cranky about it. But I digress…
To be fair, Stefanie Powers doesn’t quite say that to Tallulah Bankhead – but she does speak a little too candidly at times – even after she knows it’s a bad idea. But like I said, it’s believable that she does it.
As I may have mentioned before, Hammer made a slew of psychological horror/thrillers in the 1960. Many of them were black and white and heavily influenced by Psycho (1960) and Diabolique (1955). My personal favourite is Scream of Fear (1961). Die! Die! My Darling! seems to be a continuation of that line, but in full colour. And it’s a worthy entry in that genre.
Based on a book by Anne Blaisdell, the screenplay was written by Richard Matheson – who was one of the best in the business as far as I’m concerned. I know less about the director, Silvio Narizzano, but it appears that he mainly worked in television. It’s too bad he never got to direct episodes of Hart to Hart. I think he would have been good at it.
Die! Die! My Darling! (1965) is another strangely classy example of #NotQuiteClassicCinema from Hammer Films. It’s perfect for a relaxed, cultured, and somewhat literary #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.
Die! Die! My Darling! (1965) by #SilvioNarizzano
A woman is terrorized by her dead fiancé's mother who blames her for her son's death.
"In stabbing color"#HammerHorror#NotQuiteClassicCinema pic.twitter.com/qNk6Tec6v9
— Angus Kohm (@AngusKohm) March 5, 2022