The Last Man On Earth
Movie Notes from the Rust Belt
I figured that since I did a Movie Note or two on The Last Woman On Earth, the least I could do, in the interest of fairness (something Republicans know very little about, if you believe much of what passes for news on MSNBC), was to write a little something about The Last Man On Earth.
A 1964 black and white offering starring Vincent Price out of the public domain, I caught up to The Last Man On Earth via my beloved ROKU box on The Movie Vault. Barely longer than an hour, but crammed full of story and progeny.
The story is straight forward—bad bugs infect the Earth's population, killing off just about everyone. The survivors are turned into vampires, except for the one lone human—Vincent Price. Turns out that he's immune due to an old bat bite. And he spends his days preparing for the vampires to come a-calling each night. If this sounds a little familiar, it should. Same story in 1971s The Omega Man (Charleston Heston) and 2007s I Am Legend, with Will Smith. All three movies were based on a 1954 book, surprisingly titled I Am Legend.
These days, we prefer our vampires to look mostly like Tom Cruise, but in this adaption, the vampires are slow, dim-witted, lumbering dolts—what we would now call zombies. I can be reasonably certain that this movie was the blueprint fort 1968s Night of the Living Dead.
Filmed in its entirety in Italy, Vincent Price is the only actor you'll recognize, and the cruelest scene is when the aforementioned lumbering vampires take clubs to Price's 1956 Chevy Station Wagon. I couldn't look. It was horrible.
One of my personal guilty pleasures, 1984s Night of the Comet, also borrowed heavily from this movie.
So, there you have it—I preferred The Omega Man, Night of the Living Dead, and Night of the Comet, but this movie is the glue that connects all of them. Have a look.