The Post-Apocalypse on $5 a Day

As Halloween approaches, I continue to watch some of the bottom-of-the-barrel horror films that I used to watch on UHF television way back when. Movies like this were usually presented by a horror host and constantly interrupted by commercials for local car dealers and K-Tel record collections. The latest cinematic atrocity I streamed was Roger Corman’s Day The World Ended which takes place shortly after an atomic war has decimated most of the world’s population. A ragtag group of survivors are all thrown together in a survivalist’s compound which looks like a pleasant summer cottage where they talk a lot, plot against one another and figure out how they are going to repopulate the world while being menaced by mutant monsters. I remembered it as being pretty bad. I was not wrong.

I think the challenge of the movie was to see how cheaply it could be produced. According to the Internet Movie Database the movie’s budget was $96,000. I seriously doubt if that much money in 1955 dollars was spent. It’s mostly all shot in daylight in one or two locales and the special makeup effects looked as if they were done by kids for a school play. The actors including Mike Connors of Mannix turned in competent performances in the service of a cynical cash grab. Something was needed for the bottom of the bill and it was made as such. Between theater and television showings, it made money. I don’t think Corman ever lost a dime.

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