Released: March 8, 1964
US Box Office: NA
Global Box Office: NA
Director: Ubaldo Regona
Cast: Vincent Price
Synopsis: Only one man is left after a worldwide plague turns humans into vampires.
Best Quote: "Another day to live through, better get started"
Review: 3 stars
While not as flashy as later versions starring Charlton Heston (The Omega Man) and Will Smith (I Am Legend), Last Man on Earth has a certain wonderful creepiness to it that only black and white films can have.
It's hard to pinpoint why this low-budget sci-fi disaster flick doesn't let its own cheesiness bring it down. The script is corny, the acting is non-existent, and the directing is nothing to speak of. Nevertheless, this movie is something of a classic and I highly recommend it. Vincent Price stars as a highly capable scientist who somehow lives on as the rest of humanity has either died or turned into vampires. As the movie takes us through his daily routine of gathering garlic and mirrors in a derelict city to defend himself come nightfall, we are invited to put ourselves in his shoes and it's more than a little unsettling. As Price hunts down vampires in their sleep and kills them in cold-blood, we are left wondering who is really the good guy in this situation.
In a genre so filled with cookie-cutter fare, it's surprising to see a movie so engaging. Flashbacks and good pacing keep the movie going while allowing us to see the evolution of a man who really does believe that he's all that is left of humanity. Unexpected moments of irony and tragedy kept me thinking about this one long after I had put the DVD back on the shelf.
While Last Man on Earth lacks the flash, polish, and thrills of a modern entry into the genre like 28 Days Later, it does get a lot of things right. In an era where B movies were epitomized by the science fiction and horror genres, that's commendable.