The Earth Dies Screaming

The Earth Dies Screaming is a 1964[1] 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.[2][3]

The Earth Dies Screaming
Directed byTerence Fisher
Produced by
Written byHarry Spalding (as Henry Cross)
Music byElisabeth Lutyens
CinematographyArthur Lavis
Edited byRobert Winter
Distributed byTwentieth Century Fox
Release date
  • 14 October 1964 (1964-10-14)
Running time
62 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom[1]


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 bulletproof killer robots stalk the streets, able to kill anyone with 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. After discovering that the robots in the area are being controlled from a local transmitting tower, the survivors blow it up and head to a nearby airport, where they commandeer a plane and fly south, towards an unknown destination, hoping additional survivors see their plane and join them.


Harry Spalding says someone said the title "as a joke" and "somehow it kind of stuck", and he always hated the title.[4]

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.


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

"... it's remarkable to note than [sic] 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."[6]

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 involves shooting down satellites and fighter ships.[7]

The British band UB40 used The Earth Dies Screaming as the title for a 1980 single release (catalogue: Graduate GRAD 10), which spent 12 weeks in the UK chart, peaking at number 10.[8]

The first track on Tom Waits' 1992 album Bone Machine is entitled "Earth Died Screaming."

Home Media

The film was released on Region 1 DVD on 11 September 2007, and on Region 2 DVD on 29 August 2011.


  1. "The Earth Dies Screaming (1964)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  2. John Hamilton, The British Independent Horror Film 1951-70 Hemlock Books 2013 p 129-132
  3. EARTH DIES SCREAMING, the. (1965, Monthly Film Bulletin, 32, 150. Retrieved from
  4. Weaver, Tom (19 February 2003). Double Feature Creature Attack: A Monster Merger of Two More Volumes of Classic Interviews. McFarland. p. 333. ISBN 9780786482153.
  5. Wheeler Winston Dixon, October 31st, 2014, Film International, “Turn It Off!” – Sound and Silence in 1960s British Gothic Cinema, Retrieved 1 November 2014
  6. Dendle, Peter (2001). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. McFarland & Company. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-7864-9288-6.
  7. "The Earth Dies Screaming". Moby Games. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  8. Rice, Tim; Gambaccini, Paul; Rice, Jonathan (1995). British Hit Singles, 10th edition. Enfield: Guinness Publishing. p. 320. ISBN 0-85112-633-2.
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