Also known as: Fanatic (original title)
Release Date: March 21st, 1965 (UK)
Directed by: Silvio Narizzano
Written by: Richard Matheson
Based on: Nightmare by Anne Blaisdell
Music by: Wilfred Josephs
Cast: Tallulah Bankhead, Stefanie Powers, Peter Vaughan, Maurice Kaufmann, Yootha Joyce, Donald Sutherland
Hammer Films, Columbia Pictures, 97 Minutes
“Stephen? Stephen? She’s here in this house, my darling… but of course you know… you know…!” – Mrs. Trefoile
So this was another Hammer film that flew under my radar for years. I didn’t discover it until I recently got this twenty film Blu-ray box set.
For a straight up Hammer style horror flick, this was really damn good and enjoyable as hell. It doesn’t feature any of the classic literary monsters, so it had to rely on good storytelling, good direction and solid acting.
The story is interesting and engaging while the performances by Tallulah Bankhead and Stefanie Powers were damn exceptional. So much so, I was enthralled and pulled in by their acting and I easily ignored all the missed opportunities the victim had at escaping or defeating the villain.
You have to suspend some disbelief in how easily this woman is held captive by a cranky, crazy old lady and her hired help around the house. But regardless of that, this is still superb in its execution and man, you just want to see that old lady get her just desserts.
Tallulah Bankhead was intense and sinister. She gave a top notch performance and what makes it even more impressive is that she got really sick during production. So much so that she had to forego her salary and promise to finish the film, regardless, just so her role wasn’t recast. In the end, she pulled off something remarkable.
It’s also worth mentioning that a young Donald Sutherland plays one of the villain’s minions. However, he’s kind of an innocent character, as he’s mentally handicapped and doesn’t really understand the reality of what’s happening around him.
Die! Die! My Darling! is much better than I assumed it would be. It’s a mesmerizing thriller that sucks you in rather quickly and holds your attention until the final frame.
Pairs well with: other Hammer pictures of the ’50s through ’70s, especially ones like this that don’t feature the more famous literary monsters.