Another day, another Price film. However, this is one that I have been anticipating for quite some time. On the 2 discs I’ve purchased from Dollar Tree (seriously, check out your local dollar tree stores to find some cool horror films), I finally made time to sit and watch this.
I took tons of notes, did a minor set of research cos I was curious but let’s review the 1964 film “The Last Man on Earth”, and please be aware of spoilers!
This was quite enjoyable, let’s get that out of the way. A recent favorite of Vincent Price’s works since House of Wax or House on Haunted Hill.
I think Price gave a great performance of a man who is grappling with loneliness on a whole other degree. And what I liked was the range. His character dealt with loss twice, hysteria, anger, sadness, having a routine and doing the same thing over and over and over, yeah, we see that get to him.
I haven’t read “I am Legend” which is what the movie is based on (I have seen the other iteration with Will Smith) but I have to say, I really liked this version but perhaps I need to see The Omega Man to really decide which one is a greater interpretation.
The story is that we are following Dr. Robert Morgan (Price) on his day to day activities while being a survivor of an apocalyptic plague that spread and turned people into the undead, more so like vampires. So we see crosses, garlic, searching for fresh garlic, hoarding mirrors, creating stakes, burning bodies instead of burying them, driving around for supplies, it sounds overwhelming and then tiring. We are with him for the majority of the film and you would think it gets repetitive on screen and for the audience but for me, no.
We also see a flashback scene or two of Morgan’s life before everything went to hell and that’s great for the character though Price always plays someone who can be a bit sneaky at times and that same kind of energy is present in the film. He also tends to play characters who don’t make it out of the film as a survivor (spoiler alert, he dies in this as well).
And I do like the introduction of a character Ruth being seen as another survivor (she has her own plague situation) as well but the acting at times could be overdone and perhaps that was the 60s but she overdid it at times.
And one more thing that I can criticize is that the undead feels more like the undead than vampires. I think pick either or: are they the undead, yes? Do they have some form of intelligence? Yes but they weren’t out seeking to feed on blood? Maybe but the energy came off more of “we just want to destroy you”. They are more zombie than vampire.
I saw similarities to Night of the Living Dead, especially with the plot but also the ending. The ending for both films were essentially the same and you felt sympathy for both characters who were wrongly attacked and killed.
Here are some key notes I wrote down:
“The end has come”
The episode “Time enough at Last” from Twilight Zone is reminiscent here
“More of them for the pit” What is the pit? (I found out later).
Where do “they” hide?
Why doesn’t Vincent Price live in any of his films? (Minus House on Haunted Hill)
Carnival of Souls, Night of the Living Dead, The Last Man on Earth, lots of interests in the “dead”.
On Letterboxd, I gave this film 5 stars and out of here I will give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. There are minor details and things that I didn’t enjoy and I’m sure that if I ever read the novel, I’m sure there are BIG differences.
This film stars Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli, Umberto Rau, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart and is directed by Sidney Salkow and Ubaldo B. Ragona and this film is based off the novel “I am Legend” by Richard Matheson.