Day The World Ended (1955) – Roger Corman

Atomic Mutations is the next chapter in DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies, and the first one I chose to dive into is a Roger Corman film from the mid-50s. Nuclear war has happened, and seven survivors have holed up in a remote home, safely enclosed in a protected valley.

Jim Maddison (Paul Birch) and his daughter Louise (Lori Nelson) were prepared for the eventuality of thermonuclear war. In fact Jim had planned long and hard for it, and had food prepared for three people. Leaving us to wonder who the third is…

But along comes a geologist, Rick (Richard Denning), his creepy Moe Howard hair assistant, with a spreading radioactive infection, Radek (Paul Dubov), a small time hood, Tony (Mike Connors), his moll, Ruby (Adele Jergens) and an old prospector named Pete (Raymond Hatton). Amazingly, they all show up within minutes of each other and all settle in for the long haul of a nuclear winter, which apparently doesn’t reach these mountains.

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But something else did, and Radek is the first to encounter it. A strange mutated being is in the valley, and begins stalking the group.

On top of that, supplies are beginning to dwindle, and Tony has a plan to get rid of the others, so he and one other, Ruby thinks its her, will be able to survive longer. Tony has other ideas, and as the numbers are slowly whittled down, we are finally given a look at the mutated creature they are sharing the valley with. A creature with an aversion to all forms of water for some reason.

It is definitely not the best created monster to stomp across the silver screen. Honestly the less seen of this character the better, but oh well. That being said, there was the potential for a fairly decent story here, a character-driven piece, but I get that this was supposed to be a low budget monster movie.

Still, it’s fascinating to see the ‘mutated’ movies that came out of the 50s as the nuclear era really came into effect, and we were starting to understand the effects of Hiroshima. And I’m just at the beginning of the chapter, what other monstrosities away me in this chapter have yet to be unveiled.

I’ll tell you this though, I expect I’ll come across some that I’d never heard of and love, and others that should remain buried in lead-lined coffins. Don’t believe me? Pick up a copy of DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies and find something monstrous to watch tonight!

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