Hi there and Happy October 27th! For today’s treat from the ranks of horror films that have fallen into the public domain, I present to you one of the most important films in horror history. Though it wasn’t appreciated when it was first released back in 1964, The Last Man On Earth was not only the 1st Italian horror film but George Romero has also acknowledged it as an influence on his own Night of the Living Dead.
It’s easy to be a little bit dismissive of The Last Man On Earth. After all, the low-budget is obvious in every scene, the dubbing is off even by the standards of Italian horror, and just the name “Vincent Price” in the credits leads one to suspect that this will be another campy, B-movie. Perhaps that’s why I’m always surprised to rediscover that, taking all things into consideration, this is actually a pretty effective film. Price does have a few over-the-top moments but, for the most part, he gives one of his better performances here and the black-and-white images have an isolated, desolate starkness to them that go a long way towards making this film’s apocalypse a convincing one. The mass cremation scene always leaves me feeling rather uneasy.
The film is based on Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend and no, it’s nowhere as good as the book. However, it’s a lot better than the Will Smith version.
If you have 87 minutes to kill, please enjoy The Last Man On The Earth.