The Earth Dies Screaming

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The Earth Dies Screaming
"The Earth Dies Screaming" (1965).jpg
Directed by Terence Fisher
Produced by
Written by Harry Spalding (as Henry Cross)
Music by Elisabeth Lutyens
Cinematography Arthur Lavis
Edited by Robert Winter
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox
Release dates
  • August 1965 (1965-08)
Running time
62 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Earth Dies Screaming is a 1965 British science fiction film directed by Terence Fisher, and starring Willard Parker, Virginia Field, Dennis Price, Vanda Godsell, Thorley Walters, David Spenser, and Anna Palk.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

After a mysterious gas attack which kills off most of the Earth's population, a few survivors gather at a country inn to figure out a plan for survival. However, the gas attack is only the first step in an alien invasion, in which groups of killer robots stalk the streets, able to kill anyone with the a mere touch of their hands. The group's members find additional weaponry in a nearby drill hall, but the robots continue their campaign of terror, which only increases when their victims rise from the dead as zombies, eager to kill anyone who might try to stop them. Yet despite frictions within the group -- and the birth of a baby, which further complicates matters -- most of the members survive, and head to a nearby airport, where they commandeer a plane and fly towards an unknown destination, where perhaps additional survivors await their arrival.


The film was shot in black and white at Shepperton Studios in London. Location filming was done at the village of Shere in Surrey. It was one of several 1960s British horror films to be scored by the avant-garde Elisabeth Lutyens, whose father, Edwin Lutyens, designed Manor House Lodge in Shere, a small property which features prominently at several points in the film.[citation needed]


Wheeler Winston Dixon wrote about the film's use of silence:

"... it's remarkable to note than in a 62 minute film, the first five to six minutes have conveyed Fisher’s vision of the end of civilization entirely through a dispassionate series of images ... Much of the film, involving the pursuit of the living by the dead, is done entirely through gesture...

Writing in The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, academic Peter Dendle cited the film as "an obvious precursor to Night of the Living Dead.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

The film uses clips from The Wrecker and Village of the Damned to portray a train wreck and plane crashing.

The Earth Dies Screaming was used in 1983 as the inspiration (and title) for an obscure Atari 2600 video game. The game is set in space, and has you shooting down satellites and fighter ships.[4]

UB40 had a Top 10 hit in the UK in 1980 with a song with the same name as the film, but the song's subject matter was a post-nuclear holocaust.

Tom Waits has a song called "Earth Died Screaming" on his 1992 album Bone Machine. The song and name were inspired by the title of the film, despite Waits never actually seeing it.

Earth Dies Screaming is the name of an experimental band in Austin, Texas.[5] Contrary to popular belief, the band actually takes their name from the 1983 Atari video game.[6]

The title is referenced by a Dalek in the Doctor Who episode "Victory of the Daleks" who says "The Earth Will Die Screaming".


  1. ^ John Hamilton, The British Independent Horror Film 1951-70 Hemlock Books 2013 p 129-132
  2. ^ Wheeler Winston Dixon, October 31st, 2014, Film International, “Turn It Off!” – Sound and Silence in 1960s British Gothic Cinema, Retrieved November 1, 2014
  3. ^ Dendle, Peter (2001). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. McFarland & Company. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-7864-9288-6. 
  4. ^
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External links[edit]