Frankenstenia is celebrating the life and career of one of my favorite actors with The Boris Karloff Blogathon taking place Nov. 23-29th. I didn’t sign-up to participate because I couldn’t commit to anything. My current blogging schedule is sporadic and a bit crazy because at the moment most of my attention is focused on trying to buy my first home. But I did mange to find some time to write a little something about one of my favorite ’60s era Karloff films, Die, Monster, Die!
Die, Monster, Die! was produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff for AIP (American International Picture) and directed by horror film veteran Daniel Haller. Haller started his career as an art director and production designer and he worked with AIP for many years before he began directing films for the company. Haller’s early work with Roger Corman is especially noteworthy since he helped give Corman’s Edgar Allen Poe adaptations a distinct look and feel. During the ’60s Daniel Haller collaborated with Roger Corman on some of his best films including Pit and the Pendulum (1961), Premature Burial (1962), The Raven (1963), The Haunted Palace (1963) and The Tomb of Ligeia (1964) before directing his first film; the Karloff feature Die, Monster, Die! in 1965.
In the film Boris Karloff plays a crazy old curmudgeon named Nahum Witley who is keeping a dark secret from his family in an attempt to better their fortune and bring honor to the family name. The plot of Die, Monster, Die! is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s short story The Colour Out of Space which was originally published in 1927. Haller’s film plays fast and loose with Lovecraft’s original tale but it’s an entertaining mess of a movie that benefit’s greatly from Karloff’s demanding presence and low key performance. Die, Monster, Die! is notable because it gave the 78 year-old Karloff one of his last opportunities to play a monster in a horror film. Although Karloff’s transformation from stately Nahum Witley to a radioactive zombie in Die, Monster, Die! is all too brief and a far, far cry from his amazing and better known performance as Frankenstein’s monster in the classic Universal horror films, Karloff did seem to have some fun with his role. Die, Monster, Die! isn’t one of Karloff’s best movies but it does hold some appeal if you happen to to be a Karloff fan and appreciate gothic horror films as well as creative adaptations of Lovecraft’s stories as much as I do.
I happen to own the 1966 Dell comic book adaptation of Die, Monster, Die! and I thought it would be fun to share some pages of it with my readers as well as other comic book fans. I’m afraid that I don’t know who the original artist is and an extensive online search didn’t provide me with any clues* but I like the artwork and figured other Karloff fans might appreciate it too. I’ve posted a small sample of the comic book below but if you want to see more (and larger) pages from the Die, Monster, Die! comic book you’re going to have to visit Curt Purcell’s always fabulous Groovy Age of Horror blog.
Make sure you spend some time checking out The Groovy Age of Horror archives where you’ll find lots of examples of groovy art to entertaining and delight even the most discriminating readers. And for more Karloff related posts visit Frankenstenia where Pierre Fournier is collecting links to posts about the actor for The Boris Karloff Blogathon.
* Update: The Karloff Blogathon host Pierre Fournier thinks the name of the uncredited artist behind the Die, Monster, Die! comic might be John Tartaglione. More information is welcome!