The Earth Dies Screaming (1964) - full transcript

A crack test pilot lands to find the planet has been devastated by some unknown forces. There are a few survivors, so he organizes them in a plan to ward off control by a group of killer robots.

Turn it off!

- Who are you?
- Put that away. I'm not the enemy.

I don't know who the enemy is.

- What's your name?
- Jeff Nolan.

Watch your hands!

Get his wallet, Peggy.

- Sorry.
- That's all right.

- Hmm. You're an American?
- That's right.

- I'm Quinn Taggart. This is my wife, Peggy.
- Hello.

- Hello.
- I have to be careful with her along.

A farmer fired at us with a shotgun.

None of us know who our friends are.

- You seen anyone else?
- No one.

- Where did you come from?
- The south. It's the same all over.

- Do you know what's happened?
- No, I don't.

I took a plane up this morning
for a shakedown flight...

and when I went up everything was normal.

When I came down, everyone was dead.

I drove all day.
You're the first folks I've seen alive.

What's an American doing testing planes here?

It's sort of a joint project...
Britain, Canada and us.

A vertical-rising jet. I sit in for our team.

Where were you folks when everything stopped?

I was in a hospital...

in an oxygen tent.

- What was the matter?
- I'm all right now.

But when nobody came, I got up by myself...

and everyone was dead.

I think I'll just have
a look round the back here.

Could I have a drink, please?

Hmm? Oh, sure.

What'll you have?

Oh, whiskey will be fine.

That's fine. Thank you.

Here's to you, Mrs. Taggart.

I'm not Mrs. Taggart.

He said it would be safer
if we told people that.

- You're not married?
- Mm-mmm.

I was married. My husband died last year.
My name's Peggy Haddon.

- You never met Taggart before then.
- No.

Yes, I could do with a drink.
What's north of here?

Same as south... nothing.

- What are your plans?
- Well, there must be some people left...

accidents like ourselves...
and they'll head for the nearest town.

I thought I might hang around for a day
or so and see if anyone showed up.

- Why?
- If we intend to survive,

- we'll need all the help we can get.
- You're kidding yourself, Nolan.

What happened earlier this morning,
that was no accident.

Whoever did it has won the war.

All they've got to do
is to move in and take over.

And then it's every man for himself.


Small world, my friend.

I thought you were dead!

Maybe... Maybe we all are.


Vi, we've got company.

- I'm Ed... I'm Ed Otis.
- Jeff Nolan.

This is Vi... Violet Courtland.

Oh, I am pleased to see you.

Eddie and I didn't know what to do.

We were scared to death.
That's why we hid in the grocer's.

- I said, "At least we'd be able to eat."
- Let's get to the hotel.

- There's some others there too.
- Then it is just a local thing.

- I knew I was right.
- We'd better go. Come along.

- Here we are.
- Thank you. You're a dear.

Now then. Now Otis is buying.
What is your pleasure? Vi?

No more, Eddie love.

Can't I sweeten your tea for you, love?

Oh, it's not like you to turn down
a drink. Oh, well. Cheers.

You know, I haven't a thing to wear.

I hope things don't go back to normal
until I can get a proper wardrobe.

I don't think things will
be normal for quite a while.

Then you do know something
about it. I thought you did.

Let me ask you a question.
Where were you when all this happened?

At our company party...
25th anniversary of Chempex Limited.

Oh, and nothing happened
to anyone else at the party?

You see, Vi and I, we kind of sneaked away.
She was feeling a bit under the weather.

So we went into one of the labs
where they have a sofa there...

in case any of the staff
want to stay overnight.

- He didn't ask for your life history, love.
- In the morning they were gone.

- What kind of a lab?
- Oh, just a lab... cultures.

Well, then the air is treated
to prevent contamination.

Well, I don't see what business
this is of yours.

Just this: You and Otis were in a lab
with treated ventilation.

Peggy was in a hospital under an oxygen tent.

I was in a plane on an altitude test. That...

- Where were you, Taggart?
- What you're trying to say is

- it was a gas attack, right?
- That's right, a gas attack.

Then why weren't we all killed
when we came out into the air?

Well, it rained yesterday quite heavily.

If the gas was soluble in water
then that could've saved us.

Oh, there was a funny smell... mushrooms.

Can't get anything else
on this whole damn dial!

Otis, you're familiar with this area.
Did you ever hear that sound?


It seems to be in all the bands at
that frequency... even the television.

But who spread the gas?
Surely you could get them on that.

You're welcome to try, my dear lady.
I can't get any other country.

Not even a ship. Nothing.

- What's the matter?
- That's a lie! The ships are all right!

Now... Now don't... don't worry, Vi.
Don't worry.

- He's all right.
- Take your hands off me.

- Her son's at sea.
- Take your hands off me, Eddie!

What's the use of an army or an air force?

I haven't seen a plane since...
since it happened.

Oh, they've come!

Oh, thank God! I'll go and tell them
we're here. It's the air force.

Vi! Vi, come back here! Vi!



Please don't go away!

There's more of us over at the hotel.

Oh, please, don't go away.


They're space suits.

I don't recognize 'em.

Stop! Stop!

We're over here. I'll show you.

You better stay here. Come on, Taggart.

She's dead.

- She's dead.
- I'll help you. Better get her inside.

You and I made a bargain.
Staying in a crowd's no good.

The sooner we get out of here the better.

I'm not going with you.

- You better park this.
- Is that an order, sir?

Over by the sports car.

I'm Jeff Nolan.

I'm Lorna Brainard,
and this is my husband, Mel.

We better get to the hotel.
It's warmer inside.

- Nice car you're driving.
- Yeah. Found it.

Come on in by the fire.

Now look. We've got to get cracking.
I'm taking her to her mother's.

- Where's that?
- Liverpool.

- Where'd you come from yesterday?
- London.

I don't think you'll find it any different.

You think there's something out there?

We know there's something out there.

That's all we need...
a cheeky kid and a pregnant girl.

They're probably the most important
people on earth right now.

Where were you yesterday when it hit?

We don't even know what it was.
I just don't understand it.

- Look, what difference does it make?
- Well, I don't mind telling you.

- Lorna!
- Well, it's nothing to be ashamed of.

A year ago, Mel and I ran up
to London. We got married.

We weren't doing very well. My mother wrote
and told us we could go and stay with her...

at least till the baby was born.

All right, if you want
everyone to know our business.

We started north without any money.

The first night we, uh, broke into
this air-raid shelter and slept there.

When we came out the next day,
everyone was dead.

We think it was a gas attack.

This air-raid shelter was probably equipped
to prevent air contamination...

- from fallout and radiation.
- I wouldn't know.

If it was a gas attack, who did it?

- How about that, Professor?
- We don't know.

We can't raise anybody
or anything on the shortwave...

and as far as we're concerned,
it's no country on earth.

Oh, maybe those little men
from Mars are back again.

They're real enough and big enough!
They killed Vi!

Look... You mean you've
actually seen these things?

- Two men in space suits.
- Yeah, but at least they're men.

I emptied this in one of them,
and he walked away.

Have you got men like that
where you come from?

Well, why are we all standing here talking?

Vi's dead upstairs,
and those things are still outside.

We're gonna get out of here.

You'd be better off if we stick together.
Otis, you know this area pretty well.

Where can we find some weapons
to defend ourselves?

Well, there's a drill hall east of the village.
I don't know what you'll find there.

They use it mainly for meetings
and civil defense and so on.

Let's go see what they have.
We'll go in my car.

- Now mind how you go, Lorna.
- Oh, dear.

That's it. Out you come.


- Well, maybe you could break the lock.
- No, we may need it.

- There must be another way in.
- Now let me try it.


That does it.

- Be my guest. It's worth a chance.
- Let's have a look around.

- Just a few cots.
- They're only drill rifles. No firing pins.

Mel, toss me a rifle.

You find any rifles?

No rifles, but they've got
some workable automatics here.

- Here's some ammo.
- One, two, three, four. Testing.

- One, two, three, four. Testing.
- Mel. Mel.

- Otis. Otis, come on.
- I don't even know how to use these things.

- Just put the bullets in here like that.
- Hmm?

Close the breech.

Safety catch. Now you know.

Maybe you were right, Mel. Perhaps
we should try and get back to Liverpool.

We can't walk out on them now, can we?

- Let's get back to the hotel.
- But, Mel, we...

- Hmm.
- Thank you.

And if you had gone back to the States,
what would you have done?

Oh, I had a lot of problems that I thought
were pretty important then.

I passed the age for flying, and the company
wanted to give me a desk job-test planning.

- You didn't want a desk job?
- Mm-mmm. No, it wasn't that.

I just reached one of those turning points...

where I thought I might take
some inventory of myself.

Those problems were solved the hard way.

Ooh, time for the changing of the guard.

I better get Otis. See you both later.

Oh, honey.

Aw, there.

Somebody might get killed
if you don't stay awake.

My doctor says I'm taking
the same chance with this.

- Why drink if it's gonna kill ya?
- Well, I don't normally.

Just occasional drink at a party.

What difference does it make now?

Makes all the difference in the world.
You're needed now.

You know, I think you're
whistling in the dark, Nolan.

We're never, never going to get
out of this wretched village.

- Who's that?
- Taggart.

Getting a bit nippy out there.

- See anything?
- No, all quiet.

There's an old stable which might
keep off some of the wind.

Well, I'll... I'll get my coat.

I'll take over for Mel.


I've got your dinner warming
in the oven. I'll get it for you.

Good. I could use it.

- What's the matter with Otis?
- Oh, he's just plain scared.

Trying to drink himself to death.

- Can't really blame him.
- I can.

- As long as there's a chance.
- Maybe he thinks there isn't.

- Haven't you ever felt that way?
- No, and I don't think I ever will.

You're very sure of yourself, aren't you?

Well, maybe I'm just lucky.

What have you got in there?

I'll show you.

- Mel!
- Where'd you get those?

At the bank. They've got a special today.

All you want for nothing. Help yourself.

Oh, Mel, you shouldn't take it...
even if it isn't worth anything.

Why not?

Absolutely useless.

You can't eat it. You can't wear it.
You can't even write on it.

You know, it's funny.

Three days ago, I'd have done
anything for that much money.

Anything... blown up a building,
committed murder.

Oh, yes, I would. You don't know.

I wanted money so bad I could taste it.

This would've been for a house.
This would've been for a car.

Decent clothes for you. Clothes for me.

A telly, a washing machine, furniture...

good furniture.

A place to go on a holiday. Cruise.

That was a week ago.
When I needed it, I couldn't get it.

What the devil's the use of it now?

Don't do that!


- I... I don't understand.
- She came at me. I shot her. They all saw it.

You didn't have to shoot her! Aah! Aah!

Let him alone!

- You said that she was dead.
- She was.

She was alive enough tonight...
except her eyes.

Well, what was the matter with them?

She hasn't got any eyes, just gray blobs.

She walked right at me.

She couldn't have been alive.

How do you think she got down here?
Anybody carry her?

She walked, my friend.
She was alive, all right.

When I shot her, she fell down
and she bled just like anybody else.

- What do you think now, Professor?
- Hmm?

We better get back to the drill hall for
tonight. We'll head south in the morning.

Those of us who want to go south.

- What do you want to do? Vote on it?
- Oh, forget the votes, Nolan.

And majority of rule, law and order.

There aren't any rules.
There aren't any orders.

We can make any kind of world we like.

What are we arguing for?
Let's get out of here.

All right. Mel, you and Otis get
some food. We'll take all the cars.

- Peggy.
- Yes?

- Take care of Lorna, will you?
- Yes, I will.

It'll be daylight in about an hour or so.

Better all try and get some rest.
We'll leave as soon as we can.

- I'll finish out the watch.
- Let me help you with it.

- Suit yourself.
- How about me?

You better stay with your wife. Oh, Mel, take
that radio back in the storage room, will you?


- Ready?
- Mm-hmm.

Which side do you want?

- You take the back.
- Anything you want, Professor.

Well, where is Jeff?

- What's the matter?
- Well, he's tucked away safe enough.

We're leaving. They're going south.
We're going north.

- No, we are not!
- Oh, yes, we are.

- You haven't killed him, have you?
- No, not yet.

One peep out of you, it could be arranged.

- Go to that car.
- But I...

Oh, get on!

- You all right, Jeff?
- I don't know.

Let's get you inside.

Ooh, my head.

Where do you think you're going?

You must get me a coat or a sweater.
I'm absolutely freezing.

Stay in that car.
I'll get you something further up.

Stay here.





Peggy! I have no time to play.

You're just making it rough on yourself.

- Ooh.
- There. Almost as good as new.

- Ooh.
- Thanks, Lorna.

Look, if you feel up to it,
I think we ought to get out of here.

I'm going back to the village first.

But they're miles away by now.

There's a chance
they might have stopped there.

Get everybody ready to go,
and if I'm not back in 30 minutes...

leave without me.

Stay where you are! Stay!

What happened to Taggart?

He's gone.

It's a machine, a robot.

A few things begin to make sense.

Well, nothing makes any sense to me.
What about them?

What are they? What did they want?

They're human slaves to these machines.

Violet was dead, wasn't she?

This must be some sort of a shock attack.

They paralyze all the bodily functions
and then reactivate them.

Sightless and mindless slaves.

What would they do if they got away?

I don't know. Without any mind or any intelligence
at all, uh, they'd be worse than animals.

We'd better be the ones that get away.

Come on.

We'd better go in.

What if they've left?

I told them to go without me
if I wasn't back in a half hour.

Oh, thank God you've come. Lorna needs you.

- Jeff, I don't know what to do.
- How is she?

- She's in a lot of pain.
- Jeff, you'd better get in here.

- What can I do?
- Come here.

Soon as the baby's born, we've gotta
get out of here as fast as we can.

Mel, you and Otis drive
down to the village...

and get everything
you think a baby might need.

- Be as quick as you can, but be careful.
- But, Jeff...

Relax, Mel. It isn't the first time
this has happened.

Get me some safety pins. Get me some diapers.

Come on, Otis.

Oh, Jeff, I... I don't know anything
about delivering a baby.

- You soon will.
- I wish I had your confidence.

I do too.

- How is she?
- Oh, she... she's coming along fine.

Oh. My goodness.

All that for one small baby.

You better keep it outside.

- Thanks for the help, Otis.
- All right.

I wouldn't go back there...
not for all the tea in China.

Well, we can't stay here. It isn't safe.

Well, she can't be moved.

- Where she goes, the baby goes too, you know.
- I know. I know.

- She might be all right tomorrow.
- Tonight is what I'm worried about.

- Well... did you meet your daughter?
- Yeah. She snubbed me.

- Look, I don't know how to thank you.
- Oh.

When I look at that baby,
I should thank you for letting me help.

Hey, Jeff, did you see that thing in
the village? It's some sort of machine.

Yeah. Yeah. We... We saw it.

- By the way, uh, where's Otis?
- Oh, he turned chicken.

I think he's in the storeroom.


Otis. Where...

Otis. Come on. Wake up.

Otis. Come on, boy. Up and at 'em!

- Dead drunk.
- That's a great help.

Get the radio, Mel.

- I'll go check up on Lorna.
- All right, Peggy.

You didn't get a chance to hear it, Mel, but
that's the same sound that the robots give off.

You mean, you think they're
being directed by a transmitter?

You see, our own space program has robot
devices designed for use on the moon and Mars.

They'll telecast their findings
back to us and send pictures.

They don't look like, uh, spacemen,
but it's the same principle.

Yeah. But how could they land
a transmitter here?

I don't think they did. I think
they're using one of ours as a booster.


If we could wreck it, we could put them
out of commission... at least round here.

Without the beam they'd just be
dead hunks of machinery.

That's right, if the, uh, theory's correct.

And how do we find the transmitter?

With this and a piece of copper wire.

Well, you better pick up that walkie-talkie
so we can keep in touch with Peggy.


When you reach the lowest volume...

the transmitter should be in a direct line
with the plane of the antenna.

You take a reading and enter it on the map.

Then you drive a ways
and take another reading.

Then a third about here.

Where the three lines intersect should be
our transmitter. See how it's done?

Yes, it's the same way they used
to track down amateur wireless sets...

- that were causing interference, isn't it?
- That's right.

- Jeff.
- Here. Let me have it.

- Jeff.
- We've just taken the first reading.

Everything all right there? Over.

It's quiet as a tomb here. Lorna's sleeping.
How long will you be, Jeff?

We'll be back as soon as we can.
Over and out.

If my readings are correct,
the transmitter should be down that road.

Well, what are we waiting for?




- Jeff.
- Peggy. Peggy!

- The robots.
- What?


Let it go.


- Oh, Jeff!
- Peggy. Are you all right?

- Yes.
- I don't understand how you stopped them.

We blew up the transmission tower. Without
the signal they're just so much machinery.

Do you think it's safe now?

- Maybe there are other towers.
- I don't know. Maybe there are.

But the main thing is we know how
to stop them now, wherever they are.

Unless they try to use gas again.

There's always been that chance,
and there always will be.

Let's see the baby. Come on.

Have you seen my baby daughter?
She slept through everything.

She's a very important young lady.

All of a sudden people mean something again.

When can we leave? We might find a doctor.

As soon as you're up to it. We'll drive
to the airport and take one of the planes.

Whatever people are left
will see the plane and...

follow it south.