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Vincent Price stars as the titular character, a scientist who alone is resistant to the virus which has seemingly decimated humanity, turning many into the living dead, zombie-like vampiric creatures who feast on blood at night. By day the scientist hunts the city high and low for the dwelling of the monstrous creatures who torment him by night. After years of searching he finds a woman who is infected, but has neither perished nor transformed into one of the hideous beings. Upon completion of an experimental blood transfusion, it is discovered his antibodies are successful in ridding her of the disease. While this looks to be a promising solution to what ails humankind, those who are infected yet have not succumb to the disease have another plan. A must-see!
This movie, “The Last Man On Earth” (1964), sticks most to the source material and earns points in that regard. It has the same feel most classic horror films do from that time, and Vincent Price only adds more to it. Not my personal favorite, but a classic to add to the line up. Rating: 3.5/5 Percentage: 74%
Great flick if you love VP.
An underrated adaptation of I Am Legend. It's far more faithful than The Omega Man or the Will Smith movie. Price, will admittedly miscast, still does good work here as a breaking, lonely man.
The Last Man on Earth is a Movie both in Black & White, but it's been re-colorized. This is probably Vincent Price greatest achievement I rate this movie with a Proper *4* stars!!!!
Few zombie films got me like this one... Not because it is scary, but because it is frustratingly intense! The one film comparable to Romero's classics.
This movie is based on the (now) very well known novel by Richard Matheson, [i]I Am Legend[/i]. The novel has become very well known in recent years mainly down to the Will Smith vehicle of the same name, plus the well known fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger almost made a movie based around it, and the classic sci-fi movie 'The Omega Man'. Its also very well known because it was one of the first vampire stories to treat vampirism like a disease and has influenced modern movies massively. Another clear factor for me is the zombie influence this movie had. The story/plot is based on vampires, but in this movie they don't really look or move anything like vampires, they clearly look and act more like zombies. It struck me early on that this movie may well have influenced the mighty George A. Romero because the visual similarities between this movie and his cult classics are clear as day, if you ask me.
The plot revolves around a plague that has infected the entire of mankind, turning everyone into vampires, or vampire-like creatures. Morgan (Price) spends his days simply surviving, getting by as best he can. During the day he scavengers for food and supplies like garlic and mirrors to fend of the vampire hordes, and buries the dead that strewn the landscape. At the same time he also goes off vampire hunting and staking as many as he can before nightfall. Come darkness he locks himself away in his house, and waits, waits for daylight once more. Eventually he comes across a lone female who also appears to be uninfected, but all is not what it seems.
This movie was a US/Italian production shot in Italy and utilising many Italian actors, thus giving the entire feature a very spaghetti western feel. You can see straight away from the style of filming and what kinda sounded like dubbed voice work, although I'm not sure about that. The movie is supposed to be set in the US, LA I believe, but amusingly, its really obvious that its not. If I didn't know any better I would say it could be any Euro city (possibly eastern), definitely not LA though that's for sure, but being an Italian co-production you can sense the Italian vibe. The other blooper being we see Price's character climbing the steps of the Palazzo della Civilta Italiana in Rome, bit of a give away that.
Lets look at the poster, a favourite little fetish of mine depending on how awesome or shit they can be. I have often found with these old 50/60's movie posters they can either be very exciting, flashy and vibrant with striking text in a cool font, or they can be the most unimaginative, boring and dreary creations you've ever seen, as if the person behind it simply couldn't be bothered. What often amuses me is the fact these posters often lie about the movies content, complete false advertising, and this poster is no different I'm afraid. In the background you have this wicked looking haunted house silhouette, all black with glowing yellow windows, then in the foreground a creepy image of Price's face in shadow, his eye piercing white. Next to Price's face is the completely white silhouetted figure of a woman with black eyes. Now the house doesn't appear in the movie at all, its as if the image was for a completely different feature, Price's face could be for anything, whilst the white female figure makes no sense at all really. Overall I have no real clue how this poster relates to this actual movie based on Matheson's novel, it resembles one of Price's Poe/Corman movies more than anything, probably trying to ride those coattails.
This movie starts off slow I won't lie, real slow, so much so I actually became slightly bored. We mainly focus on Morgan's life, his humdrum, monotonous, depressing life of death and loneliness. We see him awaken only to prepare for a full day of vampire staking and corpse burying. He checks his house over for damage inflicted by vampires during the night, he needs to replace broken mirrors and rotten garlic that has lost its pungency, he must sharpen new stakes, refuel his stationwagon etc...Everything that most movies make out to be ultra cool comes across like a tedious day job here, a nine till five routine, no guns, no trenchcoats, no slow motion action, no glamour at all. Yet this is where Price shines, his gaunt, gloomy face is perfect to express this harrowing, gothic torture. The black and white makes everything much more solemn and atmospheric as it highlights the cracks in Price's face and the shadows around every corner. During all this there is narration from Price with his unique voice, nothing too special, its short and simple, to the point, almost feels like a documentary of some kind even.
At the same time the vampires are a let down for the movie, I'm not really sure what they were trying to do here. In the book the creatures have strength and speed, yet in this movie they are cumbersome, very slow, plodding along as if they were elderly people and seemingly dumb, or that's the way they come across. Of course I wasn't expecting effects to be anything special here, and of course they aren't. The creatures merely look like people with cheap face paint on, a bit of black around the eyes and grey faces, plus their movements leave much to be desired, they seem to be moving in slow motion on purpose. There is no real threat or thrill with this aspect which is a big problem because the creatures are the crux of the flippin' movie. We watch Morgan hide away in his house from the lumbering zombies outside, its supposed to be frightening but its not, Morgan could take them all out easily I'm sure, if not, just outrun them.
In general this movie is pretty faithful to the book which is nice, apart from the ending where things go a bit haywire. Obviously being an old movie (as I've said) its not very scary, in fact its laughably hokey with all the childish vampire imagery such as mirrors and garlic everywhere (loved how all the infected at the end all wore black, every one of them, why?). But you have to remember the book is from 54 so everything will be very dated. There are literately no action sequences of any kind here, the odd chase, the finale is the main action sequence if you can call it that, but overall its a very quiet, formal affair that focuses on the few human characters. Now that's not bad, its actually refreshing...but admittedly dull. Its nice to see Morgan in flashbacks with his friends and family before the plague struck, how he lost everything, it shows us how strong he is for managing to carry on, but also the continuous torment he suffers on a daily basis. All in all it does feel more like a Price tour de force than anything else, not so much a post-apocalyptic horror thriller, but a melancholy Vincent Price totally killing it. Ironic really seeing as he was kinda miscast here, I think. I have always found it hard to take Price too seriously because of his wonderful quirky nature and those kooky vocal cords of his, alas the man was pigeonholed by his own greatness. Funnily enough, despite all that, this could be Price's best performance, yet his least known movie.
As far as early post-apocalyptic movies go, this one is really good. With a solid performance by every actor, especially Vincent Price. The black and white really looks good on the movie and even though it's a little corny, there ain't much blood or real scares, it's actually a tense and upseting movie. One thing that do have to point out though is that the film can really feel long, cause there's only one main character so you can't just kill him of like that. It's an early exemple of zombie apocalyptic films, although they arne't really zombies but a cross between zombies and vampires. Recommended !!
A very interesting movie. It's easy to see how it was the inspiration to Night of the Living Dead. The setting feels nearly identical as do a lot of the scenes of the "vampires" (living dead) slowly trying to break into the boarded up entrances to Vincent Price's home.
The Last Man on Earth is the first and best adaptation of Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend. Matheson himself was not happy with how the ending of the film turned out and had his name taken off the screenplay, which he wrote, but this version is still far, far better than the later adaptations. The other two adaptations are the dreadful The Omega Man from 1971 starring Charlton Heston and the so-so zombie-monster version from 2007 starring Will Smith, titled after the novel. The 1964 version stars horror movie icon Vincent Price as the titular last man on Earth. This film succeeds unlike the other two versions because it has an emotional level that the others did not, and it has the right kind of actor to elicit audience emotions in Price. He conveys excellently the devastating loneliness of being the last man on Earth. He is overjoyed when he finds a dog, the first living thing he's seen in three years. "We're going to have lots of happy times together," he says to dog. It's a heartbreaking scene because Price makes you feel how desperately in he is need of companionship. Their happy days are short lived. My heart broke again when Price finally sees another person, a woman, and she runs from him and he chases after her shouting "Wait!."
This film begins with beautiful but eerie black and white scenes of a dead world: buildings are abandoned, streets are lined with corpses, and a community church sign reads "The End Has Come." The setting is a small city, not a metropolis as in most later post-apocalyptic movies, and though this is because of the film's small budget, it is an advantage. The abandoned, empty average town is a frightening and foreboding place. Though the town is not entirely empty and Price is not entirely alone since those that did not die in the plague turned into vampires. These vampires are slow, lumbering, and not-too-bright but are relentless, numerous, and can use weapons like clubs. They can also speak in low moans. If these vampires act like latter day zombies it is because George Romero credits this film with inspiring Night of the Living Dead.
Dr. Robert Morgan (Price) spends his days searching through the city methodically and killing as many vampires as he can find. He spends his nights locked up in his house with the record player turned up loud to drown out the sound of the horde outside calling his name. He plays home movies on a projector and is happy for a moment, then grows incredibly sad. There's a lengthy flashback to happier times, when the end was only beginning. We see Morgan with his wife and daughter. We also see him working with his friend and fellow scientist, Ben, who is now an undead creature outside his home. The debate they have about the slow spreading threat to the world sounds uncomfortably familiar to the modern climate change "debate." Ben, from the younger generation, is worried about the growing plague in Europe. Morgan, from the older generation, is skeptical and thinks the reports are exaggerated to sell newspapers. The line "Is everyone gonna die before we find an answer?" gave me chills. Morgan and Ben begin working on an antidote, but the end comes too soon.
What I love about this film are the details that fill out Morgan's dead and lonely world. We hear his thoughts as voice over narration. He reminds himself to get more gas for his car and to get more garlic from the grocery store. I asked myself why he only takes some garlic from the store instead of taking it all with him. I quickly answered myself: he just needs somewhere to go, something, anything, to do to pass the time. At the beginning of the film we see that it is 1968 and Morgan has been drawing calendars on a wall in his house. We see him make stakes to kill the vampires and we see him load the bodies into the trunk of his car and drive them to a pit. Despite all of that, however, this is not a slow movie. It builds atmosphere. Vincent Price has made several campy films but this one is sincere and spooky. Price has more than enough talent and screen presence to carry every scene in the movie and make it interesting, even if he's only going through a bin of garlic. The Last Man on Earth maintains its eerie mood and steady pace only to build to a thrilling final act.