The Last Man on Earth (1964)

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Starring: Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Umberto Raho, Christi Courtland, Antonio Corevi, Ettore Ribotta, Rolando De Rossi, and Giuseppe Mattei.

Directed by: Ubaldo Ragona

Story: 

The story opens in 1968. Every day is almost the same for Dr. Morgan – After waking up, he grabs his weapons and then he’s on the hunt for vampires during the day. In the night, he barricades himself in his secure home where he relaxes with some jazz music while the vampire creatures come out and torment him with startling noises and chantings.

Characters: 

*Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price): The last man on Earth.

*Ruth Collins (Franca Bettoia): An infected woman.

*Virginia Morgan (Emma Danieli): Dr. Morgan’s wife.

*Kathy Morgan (Chrisi Courtland): Dr. Morgan’s daughter.

Overall: 

Based on the novel “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson, “The Last Man On Earth” is an Italian horror/sci-fi flick that depicts Dr. Robert Morgan (played by Vincent Price) in a post apocalyptic world where he must fend off the Earth’s population which have succumbed to a virus that has transformed them into vampire-like creatures who are allergic to bright light (especially sunlight). The film delves deep into Dr. Morgan’s psychological despair as he struggles to deal with a world that has fallen into the hands of a fatal catastrophe. We live through the loneliness with him, we share his excitement and hope of finding other survivors, and even the disappointment over finding himself alone again.

The film also makes good use of flashbacks as how to explain the loss of his daughter and wife to the virus and how the military threw the infected in a public burn pit piling to the top with corpses. As the movie progresses, we make some discoveries with Dr. Morgan as he learns of the creature’s allergy to garlic and sunlight, their hunger for fresh human blood, resistance to bullets, a vulnerability to stakes, and even Morgan’s own immunity to the virus thanks to his very own blood. Morgan soon runs into a woman that has survived and takes her into his home. He learns that she is also infected and is part of a group of people who sent her to spy on him, the group she is part of has developed a vaccine and is more knowledgeable about the plague than Dr. Morgan. 

Dr. Morgan makes one final discovery when he uses his blood to cure the woman and realizes he can cure the rest of them. This comes too late for him however as the woman’s group of hunters track her down to his home and attack him, thinking that he is one of the vampires. While the novel provides the origin of the plague, “The Last Man On Earth” doesn’t. However, this was one of the first films in popular culture to attempt scientific explanation with vampires.

Rating: ****

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