Movie Review: THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964)

Salutations my screechers, screamers, and scary dreamers,

Tonight’s tale of terror entitled “The Last Man on Earth” sees the sole survivor of a virus vanquishing vampires in an endeavor to endure.

Vampire films have survived for many years but this one adds a different spin to our fears by keeping their origin purposefully vague with broad implications that it stems from a plague.  While the vampires could have been the main thrust what makes this movie a must is that the concept is used to emphasize isolation and how people handle such devastation.  I found the sense of loneliness to be scarier than the creatures which is a nice touch for one of the older monster features.  Sadly this picture fumbles the finale and while in some ways it does rally the inconsistencies do bear mention as some of it hurts the overall intention.

Luckily they hired the talented Vincent Price who deftly handles this narrative device by turning in a performance both solid and understated which is a must for a character so ill-fated.  Through flashback we see the supporting players and these scenes add a lot of layers by showing us our lead’s family life before he lived alone in strife.  The lesser cast does a credit to their art by fully realizing each smaller part and though their ends are already known they further emphasize the isolated tone.

It is funny how different things can inspire and the same can be said for this version of the vampire because while it differs from classical interpretations it served as the basis for another director’s creations. In this film the vampires can kind of talk and they move very slowly when they walk in fact I have heard it said that this movie helped inspire “Night of the Living Dead”.   There are other aspects both pictures share and while I could easily compare I feel it would be an awful shame if I said so much that I ruined the game.

Story/Concept: 1
Direction/Style: 2
Scares: 0
Atmosphere: 2
Rewatchability: 2
TOTAL: 7/10

In summation, thanks to two updates this story is well known but I feel this version has the darkest tone and even though I found the ending to be somewhat problematic this is required viewing for film buffs or Price fanatics.

Stick to the shadows my fine friends.

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