Directed by Silvio Narizzano (Georgy Girl) from a clever script by the ever-reliable Richard Matheson (I Am Legend), Die! Die! My Darling! is now available on DVD through the manufactured-on-demand Sony Pictures Choice Collection.
In her final feature role, the Lifeboat buoy Bankhead anchors the film as Mrs. Trefoil, whose son was engaged to married to one Patricia Carroll (Stefanie Powers, TV's Hart to Hart) until his untimely death. Patricia since has moved on to another fiancé, but feels she must pay Mrs. Trefoil a visit in order to close that chapter in her life and start another.
They've never met, and Patricia immediately but inadvertently gets on the old widow's bad side by admitting she's not a regular church attendee. Mrs. Trefoil holds her own worship services, incidentally — hardly the strangest thing in this rundown mansion of no mirrors, no makeup, no condiments.
As the title not-so-subtly hints, the generation gap metastasizes into an all-out war, and the darkly comic beginnings rot into do-or-die scenarios before audiences' eyes. Patricia is the fly squirming helplessly in Mrs. Trefoil's web; who will raise the merciful rock?
The answer is clear from the start, so the movie's conclusion is forgone. You're not in this for twists; you're in it for the histrionics, and Bankhead is more than happy to supply those to a surplus. Powers holds her own against the legendary actress, and in his film debut, Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games) steals scenes as the grounds' mentally challenged servant.
Die! Die! My Darling! marked a nice change of pace for Hammer from its usual fare of vampires and vampires. —Rod Lott
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