Our story begins with the end.
After an atomic war has destroyed civilization, Navy Commander Jim Maddison (Paul Birch) and his daughter Louise (Lori Nelson) hide away in their specially made home in a box canyon lined with lead bearing cliffs. The lead keeps out most of the radiation. They have supplies to sustain them for months. Maddison has been expecting the holocaust and planning on a way to survive for years. What he hadn’t planned on was company.
Into their private haven come five people. A geologist named Rick (Richard Denning), A victim of radiation sickness named Radek (Paul Dubov), A prospector named Pete (Raymond Hatton), A slime ball named Tony (Mike Connors) and his sometimes girlfriend Ruby (Adele Jergens). Seven people together in a shelter made for three. The third having never shown up. Seven different people with different issues. Mostly due to slime ball guy. He’s not happy with his girlfriend Ruby. He’s more interested in Louise.
Added to the regular soap opera problems is the fact that there are mutants outside eating everything with a pulse. When they run out of forest animals, there are seven people that have a tendency to wander into the woods a lot.
“The Day the World Ended” was released in 1955. It was produced and directed by Roger Corman. Supposedly one of Roger’s earlier forays into horror. The narrator in the beginning of the movie is news man Chet Huntley. Mike Connors is billed as Touch Connors. Paul Birch, who plays Jim Maddison, was also in “The Beast With a Million Eyes”. He is just as drab and monotone in this movie as he was in that one.
You know you’re in a 50’s movie when even the last two people on Earth have to be married to begin a new civilization. And can we talk about male hubris for a moment. Tony thinks he can be a better father to Louise’s kids than Rick. Why? Cause he’ll make them tough. Perhaps in the 50’s this would fly, but not so much today. It’s tough to make babies when your baby makers are always sore from being kicked. Just a little something to think about.
As for the monster, he looks like dark colored spackle. Plus he has three eyes, spikes, huge finger nails and really big shoulder pads. Not too bad. I’ve seen worse. Unfortunately he doesn’t show up until the last ten minutes of the film.
That’s the main problem with the movie. The pacing. Outside of some nice mushroom clouds, some really cool Theremin and just a tiny bit of stock footage in the very beginning, nothing really happens other than Tony trying to rape Louise all the time. It’s just dreary. That’s the problem with most of these end-of-the-world movies. Unless there are cool monsters running around, they’re boring.
Still there’s some camp and some over the top acting that adds a little something. I’ve seen worse. That’s because I’ve seen “In the Year 2889”.