Die! Die! My Darling! (1965)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Mar 21, 1965 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Hammer certainly knew its way around exploitation films, and Die! Die! My Darling! is one of their most entertaining. Great cinema? Not for one moment, but it never pretends to be. What's surprising about Die! Die! is that it is actually a better film than it is reputed to be. Is it camp? Yes, there's plenty of camp here, but it's not an unrelieved camp-fest -- and the camp doesn't get in the way of the suspense and horror elements that are at the core of the film. Is Tallulah Bankhead over the top? Of course, but so is the character, and Bankhead actually calibrates her performance very carefully so that it doesn't become repetitive and wearing. There are any number of moments when Bankhead underplays, which make those moments when she really lets go that much more impressive. In addition, Richard Matheson's screenplay is very well structured, if a bit mechanical, and it mixes the genuinely disturbing with some delicious black comedy. The script's biggest failing, unfortunately, is its inability to make the character of Pat really believable (through no fault of Stefanie Powers, who does a fine job). The viewer can't really accept that Pat would have stayed with someone so obviously insane for so long or that she would not have put up a greater effort to escape when her predicament initially became clear; for that matter, even if wounded, how could Pat not have at least taken advantage of the scissors at her disposal early in the film? These kinds of problems damage the movie, but not fatally. Die! Die!'s thrills may be cheap, but they're thrills nonetheless.